Mick Telkamp

Mick Telkamp

Zucchini Well Suited to Growing in Containers
Surplus zucchini crops lend themselves well to freezing.

For the home gardener, zucchini is often a first round pick when planning the summer garden. With good reason. Easy to grow and with a long growing season, zucchini is an easy home run when looking to fill the gathering basket.

And fill it you will. Harvest begins in early summer and does not let up until summer is over. Depending on your growing zone, that can mean a whole lot of zucchini.

Zucchini bread, sauteed zucchini, grilled zucchini, zucchini muffins, marinated zucchini salad, zucchini pancakes, zucchini fries, zucchini lasagna, zucchini frittata, zucchini pizza, zucchini quiche, zucchini in zucchini sauce, zucchini stuffed zucchini, zucchini zucchini…

Did I black out there? Needless to say, it is a prolific vegetable.

By mid-summer, the ideas have run out. Bags of zucchini begin to appear in the office break room or are left on your front porch as other intrepid gardeners also face zucchini burnout, desperate to clear the counter before the only choice is the compost pile.

Sure, you’re sick of them too. But take them all. Every last one. Don’t worry. We have a plan.

Believe it or not, there will come a day when a zucchini muffin is going to sound pretty good. Added to a hearty winter soup, that zucchini heft and flavor might be just the ticket. And we’ll be ready.

Zucchini (and summer squash, for that matter) freezes well. With a little preparation up front, zucchini and squash can become a welcome “go to” for fall and winter cooking.

Preparing to Freeze

Consider how you will use your zucchini or squash. Do you love it sliced into a stir fry? Chopped and steamed? Grated for baking? Sliced, chopped or grated, it all freezes the same and come winter you will appreciate being able to thaw and dump without having to fool with it a second time.

Once your vegetables are prepared, we have one more stop before hitting the big freeze.

Blanching

Like all vegetables, zucchini has enzymes within that will soften, discolor and deplete nutrients in the produce over time, even when frozen. Blanching — a quick bath in boiling water — will destroy the enzymes and any bacteria that may be lurking.

Bring some unsalted water to boil in a pot deep enough to completely submerge manageable batches. I use my colander to determine batch size, as the processed zucchini will go back in there once blanched and cooled.


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Once a rolling boil is reached, drop the zucchini into the pot for 3 to 4 minutes. When it comes out, the zucchini should still be firm.

Transfer into a very large bowl or pot of ice water using a slotted spoon to suspend cooking.

Move the zucchini into a colander to drain for a few minutes, then pat dry with paper towels.

Packaging

Sure, using gallon-sized Ziploc bags works just fine and makes quick work of filling them. But consider using pint or quart bags instead. It makes freezer space management more tolerable and allows you to thaw only what you’ll need. Pack bags as full as possible and push as much air out as possible before sealing.

Now into the freezer they go until a time when fresh zucchini is not at every turn.

Winter you says thanks.

38 Comments About this Article

  • Nicki Ruiz-Call
    Another opinion re: freezing without blanching. I try to read a few of these and make informed decisions based on the sum of the opinions. I will be freezing _without_ blanching my quartered zucchinis this year: http://vwriter.hubpages.com/hub/freezing-vegetables-without-blanching-really

    Posted 2 months ago

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  • JJA
    Great ideas. Thanks so much. Am adding this site to my Bookmarks and will join.

    Posted 2 months ago

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  • GTS
    Ok..I vacuum sealed some zukes cut into chunks. I didn't blanch them first. Can I drop the vacuumed sealed bag in some boiling water and achieve the same results?

    Posted 2 months ago

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  • Patricia Herron Vestevich
    Help!! I came to this site hoping to learn quickly how to freeze zucchini and have found instead utter confusion on the process. (1) Under "Preparing to Freeze: Between the 1st paragraph and 2nd NOTHING is said as to the "preparing" ~ am I to concur that after considering how I will use.....sliced, chopped, or grated ~~ I should then DO THAT WITH THE ZUCCHINI ~~ THEN I'm ready for next step of BLANCHING??? Can't imagine anything being FIRM after 3 or 4 minutes in boiling water !!! That's why I thought well this Mick must be saying drop them in WHOLE. But NO.... Because in the packaging instructions that follow.....he's talking about packing bags as full as possible with least amount of air!!

    Posted 2 months ago

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  • Bella Szuja-Fallner
    Do you grate then blanch the zucchini or blanch it whole then grate?

    Posted 1 month ago

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  • Tira Brandon-Evans
    You missed zucchini pickles. There is a great recipe in Putting Food By, (Hertzberg, Vaughan, & Greene) my canning 'bible'. But if you don't have the time and energy, freezing is a great alternative.

    Posted 1 month ago

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  • Heather Groda
    I see no answers to these questions which are mine. This site is NOT helpful

    Posted 1 month ago

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  • Mick Telkamp
    Hi Heather. Sorry to hear we haven't addressed your questions. I'd love to help you however I can. What are you wondering about that hasn't been covered by me or other readers?

    Posted 1 month ago

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  • Tira Brandon-Evans
    I followed these instructions yesterday with zucchini and patty pan squash. I washed and dried the squash. I cut into chunks the way I would cut potatoes for a stew. I BLANCHED them for exactly 4 minutes. I plunged them into icy water and kept the cold water running on them for a couple of minutes. Just like these instructions say to do. They were nice and crisp but not soggy at all. I placed them in a colander to drain. I put them into small portion freezer bags and into the freezer. Last night and this morning I shook the bags to loosen the chunks so they do not stick together (not in these instructions but I just like to shake things up.) I think these are excellent instructions and very accurate. Worked for me.

    Posted 1 month ago

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  • Jan Bentley
    useless and contridicting

    Posted 3 weeks ago

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