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.

46 Comments About this Article

  • 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 11 months ago

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  • Jan Bentley
    useless and contridicting

    Posted 11 months ago

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  • anonymous
    Really useful and clear instructions. Thanks! I'm going to go do this today :)

    Posted 6 months ago

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  • anonymous
    I don't understand why some of you seem to be confused. If you will read each word, it's really very explanatory. I think I can do it from the directions above.

    Posted 4 months ago

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  • anonymous
    I agree that the instructions are straight and to the point ! For those who need to ask " Do I Cut, slice or grate first before blanching(dropping in boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes) ?" the answer is YES !!!!

    Posted 2 months ago

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  • anonymous
    people don't bother to READ ALL the directions....it says to determine HOW you plan to use your zucchini before blanching it....if you want it diced, DICE IT, if you want it sliced, SLICE IT, if you want it grated, GRATE IT....WTH, you want somebody to come do it for you?...it don't take a rocket scientist to figure it out....all you have to do is READ....

    Posted 2 months ago

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  • anonymous
    Aren't we receiving this information free of charge? It's hard to understand people who are so unkind.

    Posted 1 month ago

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  • anonymous
    I agree with anonymous. I blanch and freeze a lot of vegies. Green and wax beans, broccoli. cauliflower, sweet corn, greens, and zucchini. The above directions are the same for any veg. Check other web sites. If you can't do above, this may not be for you. My only suggestion, use a Seal-a-Meal. Let bags freeze open over night and seal in small batches. This will remove most air and prevent freezer burn.

    Posted 4 weeks ago

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  • anonymous
    Awesome and precise instructions. Thank You so much. I have some zucchini freezing to do today :)

    Posted 3 weeks ago

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  • anonymous
    Hi there! I have come to love making dishes using half a zucchini as the base, literally, and filling them with ground meat, veg's and top with cheese and bake- I call them zucchini boats. They're a very easy, quick meal. How can I best freeze zucchini halves or would that not work? Thank you!

    Posted 3 weeks ago

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