Let's preserve the taste and benefits: how to freeze zucchini fresh for the winter and what to cook from them later
Freezing is the easiest way to prepare food for the winter. Zucchini is great for freezing - this vegetable is used in hundreds of different dishes in winter. In order not to lose taste and vitamins are preserved, you need to follow the rules when preparing zucchini.
How to choose, prepare and freeze zucchini for the winter, as well as what to cook from them later, read our article.
The content of the article
- Can zucchini and eggplant be frozen
- How to properly freeze zucchini for the winter
- Freezing methods
- How to properly defrost zucchini
- How to apply then
- General rules: how to preserve the taste and benefits of a vegetable
Can zucchini and eggplant be frozen
It is believed that frozen eggplants and zucchini after thawing become watery, "rubbery" in taste. The vegetable itself loses its taste and does not look appetizing. Therefore, many housewives ask themselves: is it worth then saving such products for the winter in this way? Our answer is yes. But you need to do it right.
How to properly freeze zucchini for the winter
Let's list the basic rules for freezing zucchini for the winter.
For this, vegetables with the following characteristics are suitable.:
- unripe fruits;
- without signs of rot and spoilage on the peel.
Before chopping zucchini:
- washed, freed from the stalk;
- dry thoroughly;
- if the fruits are overripe, then they are cleaned of seeds and adjacent pulp;
- in large fruits, the top layer of the peel is cut if it is tough.
What fruits are suitable for freezing
Use ripe, fresh zucchini... The vegetables should be firm, ripe and uniform, dark in color. The color of the zucchini is an indicator that the fruit is not overripe. Do not use soft or pale zucchini. Also, avoid damaged, rotten, or scratched fruit.
Important! Use freshly harvested zucchini whenever possible. When buying vegetables from the store, make sure they are ripe and kept in the refrigerator.
If you cannot freeze the zucchini right away, keep them in the refrigerator until freezing.... But before freezing, make sure the vegetables are still ripe and firm.
How to prepare vegetables for freezing
The algorithm for preparing for freezing is as follows:
- Rinse the freezer batch thoroughly.
- Wipe each fruit dry.
- Peel large fruits from peel, seeds and chaff adjacent to them.
- Problanch (optional).
- Heat treatment in advance: fry in circles until tender, cook sauté, caviar - as desired.
- Squeeze out the mass if crushed with a grater or blanched.
- Lightly dry by spreading a mass of cubes, sticks, circles on a table, baking sheet, large flat plate in one thin layer.
- Collect in a bag (vacuum, regular), lay out on a cutting board, the size of which is smaller than the width and depth of the freezer.
- Put the prepackaged product into the chamber.
Optimum temperature and shelf life
Prepared zucchini can be packaged:
- In plastic / metal food containers.
- In regular plastic bags.
- In bags with a vacuum seal.
- On a flat board (suitable for making a couple of servings).
Vegetables freeze perfectly just like in a regular fridge freezer (- 12 ° C; - 18 ° C), and in a freezer with boxes for deep freezing products (at a temperature: -24 ° C; -26 ° C). Frozen zucchini are stored for up to 10 months.
Read about freezing other vegetables:
There are different ways to freeze zucchini in the freezer for the winter.: fresh, diced, baked, mashed, with herbs and vegetables.
The freezer drawer must have free space for air circulation... Do not freeze vegetables and animal products in the same box. It is best to use special freezer bags as they retain their shape and fit the food tightly. There should be no air bubbles between the bag and food.
Harvesting zucchini for feeding a baby
To freeze the squash puree, boil the squash for 10 minutes, cool and drain. Then crush with a blender or rub through a sieve. Pour the well-cooled mass into molds and place in the freezer.
Such zucchini are used for feeding children of the first year of life., as well as for the preparation of soups, purees and vegetable sauces. To do this, the puree is defrosted completely, beaten again and heated.
Grated zucchini for pancakes
Depending on what you are going to cook, zucchini can be grated both on a coarse and fine grater.
- Wash the vegetables well. If the zucchini is young, cut the stem off. If the zucchini is mature it should be peeled and seed removed.
- Grate the zucchini.
- Squeeze the mixture so that the juice can drain.
- Season with pepper if desired.
- Divide into bags or containers and place in the freezer.
Zucchini, frozen in cubes
This is a versatile method that will allow you to cook any dish from vegetables. - stew, ratatouille, soup, omelet and other dishes. This recipe involves blanching vegetables before freezing, which is optional.
If you are not going to do this, just skip this step. If this option is for you, then we tell you, how to do it:
- Wash the vegetables well. If the zucchini is young, cut the stem off. If the zucchini is ripe, it should be peeled and seed removed.
- Cut the flesh into slices or cubes.
- Pour water into a large saucepan, filling about 2/3 full. Bring to a boil. Dip the courgettes and blanch for 5 minutes. Then put them in a colander to drain the water. Lay out on a board and wait for them to cool.
- Arrange the zucchini in bags or containers and send to the freezer.
How to freeze zucchini for the winter with rings
To freeze zucchini rings, you need:
- Rinse them thoroughly.
- Dry using a kitchen towel.
- Remove the stalk by touching 2 cm of the adjacent part of the vegetable.
- Peel if desired.
- Cut the vegetable across into dimes equal in circumference.
- Arrange the circles in several small bags so that they do not freeze to each other.
- Send to the freezer.
Harvesting fried zucchini rings
You can freeze for preservation not only fresh vegetables, but also fried... This method allows you to quickly prepare a dish of courgettes.
For frying, it is better to take young zucchini... They are thoroughly washed, dried with a paper towel and cut into circles. Zucchini rings are salted, pepper, and then breaded in flour. Prepared zucchini are fried on both sides until crisp.
When the vegetables are completely cool, they are laid out in a freezer bag or plastic container.... In addition, each layer of fried zucchini should be covered with food grade polyethylene, otherwise they will stick together. The laid out fried zucchini is placed in the freezer compartment.
Fresh zucchini with herbs
Wash the zucchini well, peel, and then cut into cubes... It is recommended to use dill as greens, as it goes better with zucchini to taste. It is necessary to rinse it and grind it.
Zucchini cubes are laid out on a wide dish in one row - a kitchen board or other flat surface that fits in the freezer compartment will do. Dill is poured on top and put into the refrigerator. Frozen cubes with herbs are packaged in containers.
It will be interesting:
Freezing zucchini for the winter with rice, carrots and other vegetables
To prepare various dishes, you can freeze zucchini in combination with herbs (dill, parsley) and other vegetables - carrots, beets, eggplants. For this we use prepared cubes of zucchini. Mix them with chopped herbs, vegetables and diced.
Freeze on a pallet, pack in packages and send for storage in the freezer... Such a preparation of vegetables for the winter will allow you to quickly and easily prepare delicious dishes without spending time peeling and cutting ingredients.
We will share with you an interesting option preparation of zucchini.
For cooking you will need:
- zucchini - 3 pcs.;
- sweet pepper - 2 pcs.;
- bow - 1 head;
- large carrots - 1 pc.
Optional you can vary the amount of vegetables at your discretion.
- Stew vegetables, cook rice until half cooked.
- Place the resulting mixture in containers or bags for freezing.
- Send to the freezer.
You can also freeze zucchini with vegetables raw., and in winter, send from the freezer to a frying pan or multicooker.
With minced meat
Stuffed boats or cups - another version of a delicious zucchini dish. You can stuff, lay out on a board and then put frozen semi-finished products in a bag. And you can freeze only boats or cups to stuff them with minced meat just before cooking.
How to properly defrost zucchini
Most often, frozen zucchini is not defrosted before cooking.... They can be heated in the microwave. If you need to defrost zucchini, this is done in the refrigerator or on the table at room temperature. The released liquid is drained.
Puree is also thawed in the refrigerator or at room temperature... The zucchini, cut into circles, are taken out of the freezer, slightly thawed (halfway), rolled in flour or dipped in batter and fried.
How to apply then
After defrosting, the cubes are stewed, baked with meat or other vegetables... Recipes for making cubes from frozen zucchini are varied: stews are prepared from larger cubes, caviar is prepared from smaller cubes.
Zucchini rings are a great base for a healthy omelet or just scrambled eggs - they don't even need to be defrosted, they can be immediately sent to the pan or baking sheet. You can fry frozen zucchini in slices. They are also suitable for a variety of vegetable and meat casseroles.
Grated are added to soups, stewed vegetables. Pieces of 1-1.5 cm are enough for three minutes to cook, pieces of 2-2.5 cm - five.
Reference. Zucchini, frozen after blanching, are used in the same way as frozen without it. You can add a small amount to red borscht.
General rules: how to preserve the taste and benefits of a vegetable
So that all the beneficial properties of zucchini are preserved, you should adhere to the recommendations for the selection, preparation, freezing and storage of vegetables.
The process of preparing zucchini for freezing includes the following steps:
- thorough rinsing;
- wiping each fruit from moisture;
- cutting off the stalk;
- extraction of the core and seeds with adjoining pulp;
Next, proceed according to the method of freezing the vegetable.
Attention! Blanching is a step that is necessary to obtain a quality frozen product.If you lower it, then the zucchini will taste "rubber". The blanching process itself involves placing food in boiling water for 2 minutes to rid them of various microorganisms and destroy enzymes.
After blanching, vegetables chopped in any way must be packed into a vacuum bag or food container... A plastic bag is not a very suitable option for freezing food, because it does not have sufficient density.
Freeze vegetables using the freezer at a temperature of -10 ° C to -20 ° C... Do not re-freeze previously defrosted food.
Zealous housewives advise to harvest several types of frozen zucchini for the winter.... Thanks to this, you can please yourself and your loved ones with a variety of dishes with this vegetable.
Anastasia: “I like to eat zucchini in winter. I always freeze them in different ways, especially since they are low in calories, so you don't have to worry about your figure. In addition, my children and my husband adore them. I especially like to freeze with rings, and bake zucchini with cheese before the New Year. ".
Anna: “Since I didn’t ask in advance how to freeze zucchini correctly, my vegetables tasted“ rubbery ”, and therefore they immediately went to the trash can. As it turned out later, I had to blanch them first, which I did in the next freeze. It turned out just great! Now I regularly use this method of freezing zucchini for the winter. ".
Ekaterina: “For several years now I have been freezing fresh zucchini at home for making baby food. First I boil, then grind them in a blender. Sometimes I also add a little sugar and apples to the finished mixture. The puree is very tasty. ".
Freezing takes less time compared to canning and pickling. There are certain subtleties of freezing zucchini. Having studied them, the hostesses will be able to pamper their loved ones with their favorite dishes even in the cold season, thereby significantly saving the family's budget.
Zucchini is used to prepare main dishes, side dishes, pastries, salads and even preserves.