Skip to content

Freezing zucchini: Raw or blanched? Which is better?

Zucchini is a healthy, low-calorie vegetable for light summer dishes, but it’s also super versatile to prepare. You can make zucchini rolls as an appetizer, fry zucchini pancakes, bake zucchini quiche without a bottom. There are even zucchini brownies , which are juicy chocolatey! But if you grow zucchini in your garden, you know that sometimes the popular summer vegetable yields much more than you can eat. And, of course, you don’t want it to go to waste. We’ll show you three ways you can freeze zucchini – in the form of grates, noodles and slices – to add a touch of summer to your dishes, even in January.

Can you freeze zucchini?

Cut zucchini into pieces and freeze it

Of course you can! You won’t get the same crunchy texture as with fresh zucchini, but frozen zucchini is a great addition to soups, stews, sauces, muffins and gluten-free breads .

Which zucchini should you choose to freeze?

Select zucchini to freeze

When choosing zucchini to freeze, choose firm, young zucchini about 5 inches in diameter and 18 inches long. The zucchini should be brightly colored and free of blemishes, dents and soft spots.

As zucchini grow larger, they become tough and develop more seeds. Large zucchini are best stored grated or mashed. Scoop out seeds and spongy spots with the tip of a spoon.

Ideally, harvest zucchini just before freezing to get the best quality, or up to three days before. Store unwashed zucchini in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator. Wash zucchini well under cold running water before preparing it for freezing.

Can you freeze zucchini raw without blanching it first?

Freeze zucchini raw or blanched

Of course you can! For some vegetables (like corn or green beans), blanching before freezing helps preserve the texture and color of the vegetable. This method should “deactivate” the enzymes that would otherwise cause the zucchini to become mushy and discolored. Some people claim that blanching keeps the pieces reasonably firm even after thawing.

However, we have found that blanching does not have much effect on the end result of zucchini. Thawed zucchini will be soft and watery – whether you blanch it or not.

How do I blanch zucchini for freezing?

Blanch zucchini slices

We estimate that blanching zucchini can increase the quality by 5-10%. If you really want to blanch your zucchini first, here’s what you can do:

  1. Cut the zucchini into bite-sized pieces or slices.
  2. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Prepare an ice bath by placing ice and water together in a large bowl.
  3. Drop the zucchini into the boiling water and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Fish out the zucchini with a strainer or slotted spoon and plunge it into the ice bath to finish cooking.
  5. Dry the zucchini before freezing. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat. Pat the tops of the zucchini dry with a clean dish towel; you won’t get the zucchini completely dry, but even a little dabbing will help prevent large ice crystals.

Pat zucchini dry before freezing

Freeze zucchini without salt
It’s usually recommended to add a little salt to the water before blanching to give the vegetables a little more flavor. But in this case, the salt would soften the cell walls and make the zucchini mushy. So leave the salt out for now; add it instead when you prepare your dish.

How do I prepare zucchini for freezing?

Can you freeze zucchini zoodles

Before freezing, prepare your zucchini in the shape you plan to use it in later. To give you flexibility throughout the year, you can prepare portions of each type.

  • Zucchini noodles (zoodles) – for soups and stews: make your zucchini noodles as you normally would. Cut them into smaller spaghetti, if desired. Frozen zucchini noodles are not suitable as a substitute for pasta or other pasta dishes, as they become quite soft and watery, but they are great for soups and stews!
  • Slice or dice them – for everything! Slice or chop them into the size you would normally use. Add them to a smoothie, mix them into spaghetti sauce, or add them to your favorite soup!
  • Grated – for muffins and zucchini bread. Coarsely grate the zucchini on a kitchen grater and place the grated mixture in the center of a clean dish towel. Squeeze out the excess moisture as best you can.

Instructions on how to freeze zucchini

Freeze zucchini zoodles or shreds

Wash the zucchini well and cut off both ends. Prepare the zucchini into noodles, slices or grated, depending on your preference.

For zoodles and slices: Place the zucchini in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, about two hours. Then transfer the frozen zucchini to freezer bags or containers.

Freeze grated zucchini: After squeezing the zucchini in the dish towel, transfer the grated mixture to freezer bags, screw-top jars or other containers. This works best if you measure out an even amount, such as 1 cup or 2 cups.

Freezing zucchini – How long can it be kept?

frozen zucchini how long shelf life

Before freezing, label the containers with the appropriate quantity and freezing date. Blanched zucchini will keep for about 3 – 4 months when frozen. Raw frozen zucchini has a shelf life of up to 12 months.

What are the best containers for storing frozen zucchini?

Freeze zucchini grated in a jar for storage

Here are 4 of the best storage solutions for frozen vegetables:

  • Glass fresh food storage jars – These take up the most space of all the options, but they are reusable and stack well.
  • Glass canning jars – These offer another great option to avoid plastic. It’s best to choose lintel jars or cylindrical canning jars with a large opening.
  • Zippered freezer bags – If you’re new to freezing and don’t have a problem using single-use plastic, zippered freezer bags are a good place to start. They are inexpensive and easy to find at most grocery stores.
  • Vacuum seal bags – Do you have a vacuum sealer ? Perfect. Vacuum sealing can extend the shelf life of frozen zucchini even more.

How do I use frozen zucchini ?

Freeze zucchini for soup in freezer bag

Since zucchini is 95% water, it can become quite soft after freezing and thawing. Therefore, frozen zucchini is best for soups, casseroles, sauces and smoothies. You don’t need to thaw them beforehand, you can add them directly to the pot at the end of cooking time!

Frozen zucchini is less suitable for dishes like stir-fries, steamed vegetable side dishes, or salads. For casseroles or other dishes where extra liquid might be problematic, thaw the zucchini first. Then use only the firm pieces and pour off the juices from thawing.

If you want to make zucchini bread or muffins, simply substitute an equal amount of frozen zucchini shavings for the amount of zucchini shavings the recipe calls for. Thawing is not necessary because you will have squeezed out most of the moisture before freezing.