Wondering what to do with all the extra zucchini coming in from the garden? Let me show you how to freeze fresh zucchini for baking during the winter months!
Zucchini is one of those plants that just keeps producing in the garden. Every year, I try to stay on top of the harvest. And every year, I inevitably forget to check my zucchini for a few days and just like that, my kitchen is once again overrun!
Now don’t get me wrong: I love zucchini! But you can only eat so much in a summer and unless you find a way to preserve the harvest, it often goes to waste.
Zucchini really isn’t safe for home canning, unless you’re making my favorite zucchini pickles. But you can only make so many jars in a year.
I’ve tried dehydrating and making zucchini chips. But I learned I’m really not a fan.
The best way I’ve found to preserve zucchini is to freeze it in shredded form. And later in the winter, I can use it in my cooking or baking.
Totally worth the few minutes it takes! So let me show you the best way to preserve fresh zucchini.
Tools You’ll Need
- cutting board
- sharp knife
- box grater or shredder
- measuring cup (1 imperial cup)
- Ziploc freezer bags
How to Shred Zucchini to Freeze
- Harvest your zucchini in the morning, before the heat of the day arrives.
- Bring the harvest inside and rinse all dirt away at the kitchen sink.
- Using a sharp knife and a cutting board, chop off stems and the tough blossom ends.
- Note: got a zucchini more than 3 inches in diameter? Cut it half lengthwise and use a spoon to remove the white pithy center and seeds before shredding flesh.
- Set your grater on a cutting board and shred zucchini.
- Empty the grater box into a bowl each time it fills up.
- Shred until you’ve gotten through all the zucchinis from the garden
How to Freeze Fresh Zucchini from the Garden
- Before you bag your shredded zucchini, take a moment to think about portion sizes. Personally, I like to put about 2 cups in a bag, because that’s about as much as I use at one time.
- Measure zucchini cup by cup into freezer ziplock bags.
- Lay bag on it’s side and press the air out.
- Seal your bag and label with a sharpie.
- Lay bag on it’s side in the freezer and evenly spread out shredded zucchini, so bags will stack once they’re frozen.
- The next day, stack all your shredded zucchini in a box so you know exactly where it is and how much you have in the freezer!
Can a zucchini be too big to use?
As long as you harvest zucchini every 7-10 days, they won’t be too large to shred and freeze. However if zucchinis grow to be more than 3 inches in diameter, you’ll probably want to remove the white pithy center and seeds.
Do this by cutting the zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape away the soft center, keeping the firm flesh for shredding and freezing.
Can you freeze yellow zucchini from the garden too?
Absolutely! Whether you grow black, green, yellow zucchini or marrow, it can be shredded and popped into the freezer for winter baking.
How do I shred zucchini for freezing?
To shred zucchini, I would recommend using a box grater (aka cheese grater). If you’ve ever grated cheese before, you know how it works (if not, google search “how to use a box grater”).
Should you have an electric food processor with a shredder blade, you can also use that to prepare your zucchini for the freezer.
Do you have to peel zucchini before freezing?
Unless your zucchini sat in the garden half the summer and has very tough skin, you don’t need to worry about peeling it. Shredded zucchini flesh quickly softens when cooked or baked, and the skin does the same.
Can you freeze grated zucchini without blanching?
This is one of the reasons it’s so easy to preserve zucchini in the freezer! You don’t need to pre-cook it, blanch it or salt it before popping it into the deep freeze.
Can you use frozen shredded zucchini for baking?
Yes! And double yes. A large part of the reason gardeners freeze zucchini is because it’s wonderful for winter baking.
In recipes, fresh and frozen zucchini are interchangeable. So anywhere you’re required to use fresh zucchini, you can use the frozen stuff (provided you thaw it out ahead of time!).
How to Use Frozen Shredded Zucchini
Frozen zucchini should be thawed before you attempt to use it in your baking and sometimes, even before you use it in your cooking!
Here are some ways to use frozen shredded zucchini in your home cooked meals.
- Chocolate zucchini muffins
- Healthy garden muffins
- Zucchini banana muffins
- Zucchini bread
- Breakfast Fritters
Want additional ways to use shredded zucchini in your cooking? Consider adding zucchini to the following dishes:
- Chicken soups (cook & puree before adding)
- Cream of potato soup (cook and puree before adding)
- Breakfast quiche
- Breakfast casseroles
- Homemade tomato pasta sauce
- White cheese sauce
How to Freeze Grated Zucchini for Baking
- a wooden cutting board
- sharp kitchen knife
- box grater
- large bowl
- measuring cup
- freezer bags
- sharpie for labeling
- Harvest your zucchini in the morning, before the day gets too hot.
- Bring indoors and rinse to remove dirt and insects.
- Grab a large bowl and pull out a wooden cutting board and your box grater.
- Cut the stem and blossom end off of each zucchini.
- Start running zucchini over the grater, emptying into your bowl as the box fills up.
- Note: zucchinis larger than 3 inches in diameter should be cut open lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape out the soft, seedy center before grating.
- When your bowl is full measure zucchini into Ziploc freezer bags in meal or recipe size portions.
- Lay bag on it's side and press the air out before sealing and labeling.
- Pop bags into the freezer, leaving them on their sides so they'll stack well once frozen.
- To use, remove bags from the freezer 3-4 hours ahead of time and leave to thaw in the kitchen sink.
- Use in recipes like you would fresh zucchini.