How to Preserve Zucchini (Flash Freezing)
I think everyone should grow zucchini. It is super easy to grow, doesn’t take up near as much space as squash, and produces quickly and abundantly. I usually get so much zucchini, that when the squash bugs show up, I say go ahead and take it. Of course when you get an abundance of a vegetable, what do you do with it? Denise and I try to eat lots of zucchini during this time, but we always end up with extra to preserve. At this point in the season, I am picking 5 or 6 good sized zucchinis every day. I like to blanch and freeze the zucchini I am preserving. This way is quick, easy, and preserves all the nutrients. If I plan to use the zucchini within the next two months, I will just freeze the zucchini without bothering to blanch and freeze. I will try to get the air out of a freezer bag or vacuum pack the zucchini to avoid any freezer burn.
Blanch & Freeze Instructions
1. Get your pots and colander ready. I use a large pot with a lid for the boiling water, another large container for the ice bath, and a colander.
2. Fill up your pot 60-65% full with water. Set your burner on high, and put the lid on.
3. While you are waiting for the pot to boil, wash and cut up your zucchini. I cut them into ¼ inch discs.
4. Add your zucchini to the boiling water when it is a rolling boil. Don’t add so much zucchini that the water cools too much. I will add 5 cut up medium sized zucchini per batch. When you put the zucchini in the boiling water, it will slow the boil down though. Leave zucchini in the pot for 4 minutes from the moment you put them in the pot.
5. While you are waiting for the zucchini to finish boiling, set up your large container with ice water. I use 1-2 large ice trays of cubes per bath.
6. If I have someone helping me in the kitchen, I will take the zucchini out with a slotted spoon and put them in the ice bath. If I don’t, I will dump the pot into the colander. Then, I will spray some cold water on it for a few seconds before dumping the zucchini in the ice bath. I’ve found that if I get some of the hot out of the zucchini before putting it in the ice bath, it uses a lot less ice. Otherwise, you will need to keep adding ice to cool the zucchini properly.
7. Let the zucchini cool for 5 minutes. Add ice if needed.
8. Take remaining ice out of the water, and dump the zucchini into the colander.
9. Let the zucchini dry for 3 minutes in the colander.
10. Place the zucchini into zip-lock freezer bags, or vacuum pack bags. If you use zip lock freezer bags, try to remove as much of the air as possible before putting in the freezer. I just use a straw. If you vacuum pack the zucchini, you will need to put the zucchini in the vacuum pack bags and put them in the freezer open until the zucchini is frozen. Then you can vacuum seal the zucchini. Otherwise, because the zucchini is very wet, the vacuum packer will not vacuum and seal properly, because it pulls moisture when it is trying to pull the air out.