If you’re like most people who have ever grown a garden, you’ve probably tried your hand at growing zucchini at some point along the way. It’s a very rewarding plant to grow, since it usually produces well in any type of climate and typically claims a spot as the top producer in your garden.
The trouble comes when you start harvesting more zucchini than you know how to handle. After all, this isn’t a grocery store in your backyard. You can’t ignore all those beautiful plants just because you don’t want to cook zucchini tonight. You have to pick it when it’s ripe, even if you don’t plan to use it right away. That’s why it’s helpful to know how to freeze zucchini.
I started freezing my zucchini a couple of years ago. I primarily grow zucchini for zucchini bread, although I do enjoy it in a zucchini pie, which is a fantastic dish to serve at a ladies’ brunch or for lunch with a friend.
To freeze the zucchini, I simply shred what I need for a batch of zucchini bread, seal the shredded zucchini in a plastic freezer bag, then pull it out whenever I want to bake some bread. As a side note, I’ve also used shredded zucchini in soups. It’s a great thickener, and it adds a nutrition boost to any soup you make. I particularly like it in chicken and wild rice soup. Yum!
So here’s how to freeze zucchini, in four simple steps.
Step 1: Rinse the zucchini thoroughly. My zucchini comes straight from the garden, and if it’s been rainy at all, the end is typically caked in mud. Since the bread recipe calls for the rind as well as the pulp, you want to make sure the outside is really clean.
Step 2: Shred the zucchini. This would be much easier if I owned a food processor, but since I don’t, I whip out my old-fashioned grater and go to town. It helps if I can conscript the services of a child or two for this job, especially if I have a lot of zucchini to freeze.
Step 3: Mark a freezer bag with the date and contents, then fill it with enough zucchini to make your bread recipe. I always double the amount, since the zucchini will get watery during thawing.
Since my recipe calls for 2 cups of zucchini, I fill a gallon-sized freezer bag with 4 cups of shredded zucchini, making sure to turn down the top of the freezer bag when filling to help the bag stay upright and keep the zucchini from covering my counters. (You might think from these photos that this is a lost cause, but trust me, it could be sooo much worse!) 🙂
Step 4: Remove as much air as possible from the bag, seal, flatten, and freeze.
Thawing tip: The zucchini thaws pretty fast, especially if you put the bag of frozen zucchini (sealed) in a sink filled with warm water. You will lose about half the volume in water, and you’ll want to drain this excess liquid before adding the zucchini to your recipe, unless you want really soggy bread! Doubling the amount for the recipe when freezing makes up for this water loss.
And that’s all there is to it! Happy freezing!