Can you freeze zucchini/summer squash?

gardenwebberAugust 10, 2008

I hope this an appropriate question for this forum. I have a huge abundance of zucc. and yellow summer squash with more on the way, and we are going on vacation next week, so I am hoping to process/freeze my supply so it doesn't go to waste.

What are some quick/easy ways to freeze these items? Do they have to be partially cooked?

I have heard you can shred zucc and summer squash and freeze it, so how does that work? Do you have to cook them first at all? What can you make with shredded/froz/thawed zucc and summer squash?

I am off to buy a new food processor, so I will cut this short for now and check back. Sorry to post and run!

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kandm

I'm not sure how the shredded squash would come out, probably pretty watery. I would be sure to drain it well before using it for bread, pancakes, cream soups, casseroles etc.

If you want to do slices as well I would cut them about 1/2 inch thick and blanch them for a few minutes. The color will be much brighter and personally it's more appealing when I defrost em.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 11:58AM
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lindac

If you shred and freeze and drain, you won't be able to follow the recipe for zuch bread pancakes etc. Thay all depend on the moisture in the product.
Sure freeze it, but if you are using it in baked goods, add the water that drains out to the recipe as well.
If you want to use it for soups and casseroles, just chunk it up and freeze.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 1:17PM
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grainlady_ks

FYI - check the link below. -Grainlady

Here is a link that might be useful: National Center for Home Food Preservation/Freezing

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 2:00PM
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kandm

I don't know lindac. I'm not sure if the moisture in the loaf absolutely has to come from the water in the zucchini. I haven't shredded/frozen it before, but when I make zucchini pancakes or bread I saute it to reduce moisture content. This pleasantly concentrates the flavor. I prefer for the moisture to come from ingredients other than just water.... Then again I enjoy experimenting with recipes.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 2:12PM
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gardenwebber

Ok, I am back from my food processor purchase and pumped and ready to grate, chop, and slice my heart away! :)

Grainlady - thank you for that link. It answers a lot of questions for me (some I've had for a long time!)

Hmm... it doesn't sound like freezing is a favorable thing to do with grated zucchini? My neighbor just grates hers up and freezes. I don't think moisture is removed or added at any time, and she bakes with it and said it works fine?? Any opinions on this? Anyone tried it? I guess I'll just do some experimenting, but I hate to waste food, so if I can avoid any botch-ups in my kitchen, I try to do all my inquiring before if I can to head off as many "mistakes" as possible.

Am I better off making all my recipes NOW and freezing the finished product instead? (I am thinking of zucchini bread, some sort of soup perhaps, and maybe zucchini pancakes?) Do these things freeze well?

I apologize for these questions... they are probably pretty boring and basic compared to the expertise on this board.

Thanks in advance....

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 3:54PM
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lindac

If you make a recipe that calls for fresh grated zucchini and sub frozen shredded that has been drained, your recipew ill be dry. That's just thew ay it is....the recipe depends on what's in the zucchini for part of the moisture in the bread. If your recipe calls for zucchini that has been salted ands queezed dry, then it already accounts for the removal of some of the moisture..
Suppose you have a recipe calling for 4 cups of chopped fresh apples and you sub dried apples....won'tw ork...well neigher will frozen drained zuch sub for fresh juicy zucchini.
yes Webber...that's what you have to do if you cookw ith shredded zuch...add all the water to the recipe, don'td rain it first.
Zucchini bread freezes very well, pancakes not so well....they have to be re cooked to get crisp again.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 4:07PM
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marlingardener

Gardenwebber,
When we are grilling outdoors, I slice any extra squash, yellow or zucchini or whatever, lengthwise, brush it with olive oil and grill it until almost, but not quite, done. Then I put it on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and freeze it. When it is frozen, I stack it in freezer bags to be pulled out when needed. The final heating of the frozen product completes the cooking, and you have grilled squash even in the dead of winter. Also, I salt and pepper it after the final cooking (since salting it ahead of time tends to draw moisture out of the squash).

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 4:30PM
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kandm

Linda, I suppose our recipes are different. Trust me though, it is possible to make lovely zucchini bread without the water from the zucchini. I enjoy sauting to concentrate the flavor, then replacing the liquid with a more flavorful one....

gardenwebber, I've never frozen sliced zucchini but unless you freeze it very quickly you're going to have some cell damage. Slow freezing causes long, jagged ice crystals to form which will puncture the cell membranes in the food. It's really not a big deal, just means that when you defrost the product all the water in the cells will leak outside the cells. I don't see why you shouldn't try to freeze some just to see how it behaves.

I have frozen pumpkin bread for about 2 months and it came out fine. I don't see why you couldn't freeze zucchini bread too! Personally though, I don't enjoy frozen pancakes, even the lightest ones come out tasting chewy after a freeze. My sister always makes extra pancakes and freezes them so it might be worth a try.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 5:44PM
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gardenwebber

Linda - here is what I am picturing here, and please, anyone, do tell me if I am mistaken:

If I shred my zucchini in my food processor, then put the contents in a freezer bag (including any liquid that has been released) then I am, in fact, freezing the liquid along with the "meat" of the vegetable. So... 2 months later, I thaw the contents for a zucchini recipe (bread? pancakes?) and the liquid thaws along with the "meat" and there I have my liquid as called for in the recipe - No?

KandM - thank you for that explanation of cell damage during freezing... interesting!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 6:18PM
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kandm

Yes.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 6:39PM
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gardenwebber

Kandm - is that, YES, my theory that the liquid and zucchini will thaw at the same time and be suitable for recipes, is correct?

Or yes, the cell damage info was interesting??

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 7:57PM
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kandm

me: I'm not sure how the shredded squash would come out, probably pretty watery. I would be sure to drain it well before using it for bread, pancakes, cream soups, casseroles etc.

you:If you shred and freeze and drain, you won't be able to follow the recipe for zuch bread (um what recipe are you talking about here, is it impossible to replace squash juice with anything else?)

me: I don't know lindac. ****I'm not sure if the moisture in the loaf absolutely has to come from the water in the zucchini.**** I haven't shredded/frozen it before, but when I make zucchini pancakes or bread I saute it to reduce moisture content. This pleasantly concentrates the flavor. I prefer for the moisture to come from ingredients other than just water

you: If you make a recipe that calls for fresh grated zucchini and sub frozen shredded that has been drained, your recipew ill be dry.

I think I made it very clear that I do not use the water from the squash. You are right that you need water in a recipe, you are incorrect if you are implying the liquid can only come from squash juice. If are are attempting to pull some kind of online forum bullying thing because you have been a member for longer, I would not suggest you continue it.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 8:08PM
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lindac

kandm....any bullying seems to be in your eyes only.
No one said you can't replace zucchini liquid with something else, but only that you can't throw out and ignore the liquid that comes from the squash.

We are many posters and many friends on this cooking forum. No one "bullys" anyone. The total aim is to provide accurate answers to questions asked by people seeking information.
Why would feel you are being bullyed? What would anyone have to gain?
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 11:17PM
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gardenwebber

Does anyone have anything to contribute to my post re: freezing shredded zucchini? If you shred it, freeze it (along with all released liquid) then thaw it, aren't you then thawing out the needed liquid? Then you wouldn't need to replace the liquid, right?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 8:35AM
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kandm

"kandm....any bullying seems to be in your eyes only. "
So you speak for everyone, nice to know...

"only that you can't throw out and ignore the liquid that comes from the squash."

Who said you could? Read a bit closer next time please linda, without jumping to conclusions. Generally, if I'm not clear on what someone is saying, I reread it and then apply what is termed "intellectual charity." This is a concept that means you don't automatically assume the person you're talking to is more ignorant on a topic than yourself.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 11:50AM
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gardenwebber

Just stopping into post this great link I found:

I froze some grated zuc's today without blanching/draining, and I will attempt to make zuc bread when we get back from vacation next week as an "experiment" on the quality of frozen, grated zuc in a bread. I'll let you know the results.

Here is a link that might be useful: how to freeze summer squash/zucchini

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 3:11PM
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dgkritch

gardenwebber:
I DO freeze shredded zucchini/squash all the time (4 cups in a quart-sized ziploc).
I thaw completely. I open just a corner of the bag and partially drain off the "water". Don't squeeze it all out, just what flows out freely and easily.
I then use the squash cup for cup in zucchini breads.
My recipe does not come out dry.

I'm sure it can vary from recipe to recipe and even more so for something besides bread.

You can also use the shredded squash in soups, stews, add to meatloaf, make zucchini patties, muffins, etc.

Do a google search for shredded zucchini recipes and find lots of ideas.

You don't mention your particular level of cooking experience (and there's no need), but if you do have some experience, you should be able to adjust the moisture content as needed (i.e. you understand how thick muffin batter should be and can add liquid or dry ingredients as needed or squeeze out more moisture to make patties).

Hopefully, some of this is helpful.
Try freezing just one bag overnight, thaw and use it in a recipe to see if it's something that "works for you".

Deanna

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 3:13PM
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gardenwebber

Thank you Deanna - I will do that!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 4:58PM
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gardenwebber

Deanna - just thought of a quick question: Do you steam blanch your grated zuc or summer squash before you freeze it?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 5:21PM
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dgkritch

Nope. Just wash, trim the ends off, shred and freeze. Force out as much air as you can. I use the grater on my food processor. It takes me longer to stop and empty the bowl into a bag than it does to shred.

Easy, peasy.

I used to do it all by hand on a box grater...UGH!

Laziness leads to shortcuts (NOT in safety) and that's a GOOD thing in my book!! LOL

Deanna

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 6:00PM
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laceyvail

Another technique developed by a friend of mine: In a frying pan, lightly saute garlic and add coarsely shredded zucchini, and saute very lightly. Drain liquid, cool, pack into pint freezer bags and freeze. When you use this, it will be watery, but you can drain the liquid, and just reheat in a frying pan, or use the shredded, cooked zuke in fritters. I've had the fritters and they're very good.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 6:03AM
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annie1992

Like Deanna, I wash the zucchini, cut off the stem ends and shred, then pack into freeze bags. I do not blanch. I pack 2 cups into each bag because that's what my zucchini bread recipe calls for.

When I thaw the zucchini for bread, muffins, whatever, like LindaC I do not drain off the liquid, I have always believed that if that liquid was in the zucchini originally, I'm going to need it in my bread, so I just dump the contents of the thawed bag into the batter. I've never used frozen zucchini for purposes other than baked goods so I don't know how it would be for other things.

I've never had a problem doing this and I've done it for decades, so I guess I'll just continue. It works for me.

Annie

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 4:34PM
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