Everything You Need to Know About Freezing Zucchini

Summer is the season for vibrant, verdant zucchini. You'll find slender summer squash, flat-topped pattypans and round eight balls aplenty at your local farmers' markets and the delicate squash blossoms from June through August when they are at their peak.

The versatile vegetable can be added to salads, cooked up in soups and light summer pastas, and stewed in ratatouille, but it's also delicious on its own, simply charred on the grill. This is why we tend to stock up on zucchini all summer long, and sometimes, overbuy.

When this happens, don't let it go to waste. "Freezing zucchini is a great way to preserve its freshness and enjoy it later, especially if you have an abundance of it during its peak season," explains Farmer Lee Jones, founder of The Chef's Garden and author of A Modern Guide to Common and Unusual Vegetables. "Zucchini's mild flavor and adaptable texture make it a great addition to both savory and sweet dishes like stir-fries and casseroles, and it's delicious in a raw zucchini salad," he says.

To ensure you have zucchini on hand whenever you need it, keep reading for the best ways to freeze this summer star.

Related: 40 Best Baked Zucchini Recipes



How To Freeze Zucchini

You can freeze zucchini either raw or blanched, depending on your intended use. "Raw zucchini can be frozen for dishes where it will be cooked later, while blanching can help maintain its texture for recipes where you want it to be closer to fresh," says Jones.

When it comes to freezing raw zucchini, Yumna Jawad, aka Feel Good Foodie, likes to cut the squash into round slices, arrange the slices on a baking sheet and stick the pan in the freezer. "Once frozen solid, you can transfer the pieces to an airtight container and use them within three months for the best flavor," she adds.

How Long Can You Freeze Zucchini?

If stored correctly, zucchini should last in the freezer for up to three months. "Remember to label your frozen zucchini with the date so you can keep track of its storage time," says Jones. "Properly packaging the zucchini to prevent freezer burn is essential for maintaining its quality during freezing."

Can You Freeze Shredded Zucchini?

You bet! Farmer Jones says shredded zucchini freezes well and is convenient for adding to recipes like muffins, bread or soups.

Before freezing shredded zucchini, Jawad recommends bundling the shredded zucchini in a cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel and squeezing out as much liquid as possible. "When you take it out of the freezer, I’d recommend thawing and trying to get more liquid out again prior to using it in a recipe," she says.



Can You Freeze Zucchini Noodles?

Technically you can, but Jawad isn't convinced that you should. "I personally don’t like to freeze my Zoodles because I want to maintain that signature spiral look and delicate, yet crunchy texture," she says. While she notes that you can freeze zoodles by blanching them first and getting out as much liquid as possible, the texture will be dramatically different once they're thawed, which is why she doesn’t do it.

Related: 51 All-Star Zucchini Recipes

How Long Can You Freeze Zucchini Bread?

Here's the thing most people get wrong about storing zucchini bread. Even if it seems moist after baking, it can dry out quickly, so don't leave it in a brown paper bag (or worse, uncovered!) on the counter.

Instead, place it in a resealable plastic bag or stash it in a sealed, airtight container. It will stay fresh for 2 to 3 days on the counter. If you don't plan on eating the rest quickly, move it to the freezer.

Farmer Jones adds that zucchini bread can be frozen for 2 to 3 months, but it should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil first, then placed in an airtight container or freezer bag. "Thaw it at room temperature when you're ready to enjoy it," he says.

What's the Best Way to Use Defrosted Zucchini?

Once thawed, the zucchini may be softer because the ice crystals break down the vegetable's cell structure. Because of this, Farmer Jones suggests using previously frozen zucchini in cooked dishes, like soups, stews, sauces and baked goods.

Recipes to Help You Use Up Your Frozen Zucchini

In addition to Feel Good Foodie's must-try Lemon Zucchini Bread, try using your frozen zucchini in these recipes.

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