I absolutely love to read the “Dear Abby” section of the newspaper. It promises to be everything from strictly entertaining to rather informative. I mean everyone has an etiquette question now and then, right? Recently, I very much enjoyed reading one such article about zucchini. The hostess was writing in to express her complete disgust after having received a large quantity of zucchini from one of her guests.
Apparently this guest is an avid gardener and, as is usually the case in the peak of squash season, her zucchini supply was very much exceeding the demand. I’m sure this guest was not just looking to unload the excess produce but truly looking to share in her bounty. Or not, who knows. All of this got me thinking about zucchini.
This is a great vegetable that can be used in all types of recipes. I have used it cut long ways as a lasagna noodle replacement or spiral cut as a spaghetti replacement. Sliced zucchini is great sautéed up with a little onion or in casseroles of all kinds. My kids absolute hands down most favorite use of zucchini is when grandma makes zucchini bread. I have seen recipes for zucchini brownies as well but have yet to give them a try. Honestly, the more I pondered zucchini the more I was on the side of the guest in the “Dear Abby” article. Zucchini is a wonderful hostess gift!
Can You Freeze Zucchini?
So, with all of these of earth shattering thoughts running through my head, I got to work documenting everything you need to know to successfully freeze all of that wonderfully versatile zucchini.
How To Freeze Zucchini
The first step to freezing zucchini is to decide how you would like to use it once it’s thawed. You can slice the zucchini which is great to be used later in casseroles or sautéed up with some onions and spices. Another fun option is to slice the zucchini long ways and use them as lasagna noodles. The final option is to shred the zucchini. This is what my mom uses for the much loved zucchini bread.
- Once you have a plan for your zucchini give it a nice rinse under cold water. You want the vegetable to be clean because peeling is absolutely not necessary.
- Prepare the zucchini by either slicing or shredding.
- Start a pot of boiling water and prepare and ice bath. Do not add salt as can cause the zucchini to become mushy.
- The sliced zucchini should now be blanched in the hot water. Shredded zucchini should be blanched by placing it in a sieve above the boiling water and allowing it to steam.
- After about 3 minutes, quickly remove the zucchini from the hot water and transfer it to the ice bath.
- Leave the zucchini in the ice water for the same amount of time as it was in the hot water.
- Remove it from the ice water and spread it out onto clean kitchen towels.
- Pat it dry as thoroughly as possible.
- At this point you can par freeze the slices by laying them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and placing them in the freezer for about 2 hours.
- At this point you remove the slices and place in freezer bags or containers. To note, I typically skip this step because I find it to be quicker to just pop the slices into serving sized freezer bags. The par freezing methods allows you to use one container and just portion out what you need each time. So, whichever methods works best for you is great.
- The shredded zucchini also will go into freezer bags. My mom actually freezes the exact amount needed for her bread recipe per bag.
- Once everything is packaged up give them a quick date/name label and pop them in the freezer.
The zucchini should be perfectly fine in the freezer for 9-12 months which means you can eat your way through all of the summer bounty throughout the whole year. Your freezer should be low right about the next seasons supply appears.
I feel like I’ve mentioned my mother’s zucchini bread a few too many times to not share the recipe so with her permission I’ve included it below. But be prepared with frozen shredded zucchini because it is truly yummy and is great at Easter, Christmas or even as a hostess gift!
Grandma’s Zucchini Bread
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup Crisco oil
- 3 tsp. vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. baking powder
- 3 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ cup chopped walnuts (she leaves these out because my son has a nut allergy, but adds mini chocolate chips instead)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups grated zucchini with peel (if using frozen, allow to thaw and squeeze out as much moisture as possible.)
Beat eggs until light and foamy. Add sugar, oil, squash, and vanilla. Mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix until moistened. Divide into 2 bread pans. You may also use several small bread pans. Bake at 325 degrees until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup orange juice
Mix to “glazy” consistency and pour over cooled bread.
Enjoy! Oh and an additional note, this zucchini bread can also be frozen! But that’s for another post 🙂