Freezing zucchini extras. Ever had an abundance of zucchini...? OK ok, you can stop laughing now. Anyone who has ever planted more than one or two of these prolific plants knows what I am talking about.
Dehydrating and freezing are the best ways to preserve zucchini. Although it can be canned, It turns our too mushy in my opinion and I find it rather unappealing.
Pick zucchini when it is young before it has developed large seeds in the center. After picking, wash in cold water and cut into the desired form. Chunks or grated.
I freeze zucchini both in cubed and grated. The grated is used for zucchini bread and chocolate zucchini cake. The cubes are good for adding to casseroles or stews.
Pick zucchini and cut off the ends. You can either use a cheese grater and shred it, or do it the easy way and use a food processor.
Cut into chunks the size that will fit your food processor. Using the pulse button if you have one, coarsely chop.
Spoon into zip lock freezer bags. I store 2 cup quantities as this is how much my zucchini chocolate cake requires..... gotta love healthy chocolate cake!
Pack into freezer bags, freezer boxes or other freezer container.
Freezer bags is my preference. If you use freezer bags remove as much air as possible.
Be sure to label with contents and date.
I blanch any Zucchini that I've cut into chunks or chopped coarsely. This helps maintain vitamins and reduces the actions of enzymes. It will help them stay fresh longer in the freezer.
They can be blanched in either a large stockpot or your blancher. The blancher works best for me.
Bring a pot of water to a full boil. Put zucchini in a blancher or some kind of a wire basket. Dip into the boiling water. Start counting your time immediately. Blanch for 3 minutes.
Cool the zucchini right away in a pot of cold water. This stops the cooking. Stir gently during the cooling process to keep the water from getting hot spots. If the water warms up add some ice, or drain and add more cold water.
I have seen it recommended that you place the whole basket with your vegetables into your cooling water, but I prefer to dump just the food. You need to keep the water as cold as possible and the blancher will only add more heat.
Leave your zucchini in the cold water at least 3 minutes.
After it has cooled, drain well. Pat dry or roll gently in a tea towel to dry. If you have a salad spinner this will work well too.
Pack into freezer bags, freezer boxes or other freezer container. Be sure to label and put into the freezer. If you use freezer bags remove as much air as possible.
Place packages in a single layer in your freezer until they are completely frozen. Then you can rearrange and stack things more conveniently. This allows the zucchini to freeze as quickly as possible. If you stack several bags on top of each other before freezing, the layers in the middle will take much longer to freeze and may spoil.