How to Freeze Shredded Zucchini for Baking
Zucchini aren't yet in season here in our valley, but I'm looking forward to that time towards the end of summer. I guess it's that my mother was showing off the long, thin zucchini she bought this week. She likes them that way, whereas I like the medium-sized ones so I have plenty for soups and pasta sauces. Anyway, she got me thinking about zucchini again lately.
Last year we got quite a few zucchinis from the fruit stand where k_mccormick2 was working for the summer. Usually the zucchini I buy are about six to eight inches long and maybe two inches in diameter. That's when their flavour is at its best. But these ones were ginormous! A single fruit was the size of a man's forearm. They were obviously left on the vine a little too long, as the seeds are almost large enough to plant.
I added a little zucchini to our suppers, but after several days I'd still only used just a portion of what we bought. So I figured I would shred some for making muffins and spice breads. I also decided to freeze a little of it for making soups or casseroles, later on in the season.
Preparing Zucchini or Summer Squash for Freezing
As it was my first time I'm freezing zucchini, I needed to learn what to do with it. I'd processed a ton of frozen carrots and beets prior to that, so it was fairly straight forward. I ended up shredding most of the zucchini for use in muffins and cakes. While I drained some of the squash really well before I froze it, some of it I just squeezed a bit and tossed into a freezer bag.
And I regretted not draining or blanching it afterwards! The thawed zucchini was just swimming in juices, which made it a lot tougher (and messier!) to bake with.
The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends steam blanching shredded zucchini for one or two minutes, until they become translucent. I didn't try the steam blanching last summer, though I intend to this year. But I did do one batch of zucchini that I salted in order to draw off some of the juices. This definitely worked better than straight freezing! It just takes a spoonful of salt and about ten extra minutes. And the resultant juices – a sort of green, salty raw veggie broth – can be added to your soups. So there's no waste!
I think this year I'll try doing some zucchini that I've just salted and drained, and other batches that are steam blanched. I'll let you know how the two methods stack up against one another!
Fun Facts About Zucchini
Did you know that zucchini is actually a plural word? The Italian singular is zucchino . The word literally means “little squash.” In he UK and France they are called courgettes , which has the same meaning.
Zucchini are fruits but we treat them like vegetables, much the same as tomatoes.
Note: This content has been adapted from an original piece by the author, which has since been removed from Bubblews
Image Credit » http://pixabay.com/en/vegetables-paprika-food-tomatoes-331638/ by PeterKraayvanger