Zucchini, or Cucurbita pepo, is a summer fruit that is typically light to dark green in color. It is best when harvested while the fruit is firm and about 4 to 6 inches long; otherwise, the fruit becomes too fibrous. Zucchini plants can be extremely prolific and by the middle of summer, you may be wondering what to do with all the zucchini your plant is producing. One way to save zucchini is to freeze the fresh zucchini. This prevents the zucchini from rotting in your refrigerator because you cannot cook it fast enough.
Things You'll Need
Fill a large stockpot three quarters of the way full with water and heat to a boil on the stove top.
Wash the fresh zucchini with water and lightly scrub the skin to remove any tough dirt. Dry the zucchini with a clean towel and place on a cutting board.
Slice the stem and the end of the zucchini off and throw away or add to your compost pile. Continue slicing the remaining zucchini into 1/2-inch pieces for freezing.
Fill a large bowl with water and ice to use after the zucchini is cooked in the boiling water.
Put the zucchini slices in the boiling water for three minutes to blanch. Start the timer once the water has returned to a boil. Blanching the zucchini stops enzyme production, which can make zucchini lose its taste and color when frozen, according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Remove the zucchini from the boiling water and quickly put it into the ice water. Add ice to keep the temperature cool if the water begins to warm. Keep the zucchini in the cold water for three minutes. Remove it to a strainer to drain and allow it to drain for five minutes to remove excess water.
Put the zucchini into freezer bags or vacuum seal bags for storage. Make sure to get as much air out the bag before sealing it for freezing. This helps keep ice crystals from forming on your zucchini.
Seal the bag and mark each bag with the contents and the date you froze the zucchini, so you will know what it is later.
Use freshly harvested firm zucchini for best taste.
Keep zucchini in the refrigerator until you are ready to freeze.
References and ResourcesNational Center for Home Food Preservation:Blanching