Courgettes, also known as zucchini, are a common summer squash enjoyed for their mild flavor and versatility.
As courgette plants are prolific producers during peak season, you may find yourself with more of the green veggie than you know what to do with. Freezing excess courgettes is a great way to preserve the harvest and enjoy it throughout the year.
Should You Freeze Courgettes?
Freezing courgettes is an excellent way to extend their shelf life so you can enjoy their flavor outside of summer. Here are some key benefits of freezing courgettes:
- Preserves Fresh Flavor: Freezing locks in the flavor and nutrients of fresh-picked courgettes. Frozen courgettes will taste much like fresh when thawed and cooked.
- Reduces Food Waste: Freezing prevents excess courgettes from going bad. You don’t have to waste any of your bountiful harvest.
- Saves Money: Enjoying frozen courgettes in the off-season means you don’t have to buy tasteless, expensive store-bought courgettes.
- Easy to Store: Frozen courgettes take up little space and can be kept frozen for about 10–12 months.
- Ready When You Need Them: Keep frozen courgettes on hand to quickly add to recipes all year round.
How to Prepare Courgettes for Freezing
Freezing courgettes is easy to do at home with just a little preparation. Here are some tips:
- Pick courgettes when they are small and tender. Choose courgettes that are 6–8 inches long with firm, shiny skin. The seeds and flesh should not be developing or runny. Overripe courgettes will become mushy when frozen.
- Wash and dry the courgettes. Rinse under cool water and pat completely dry with paper towels or a clean dishcloth. Any moisture left on the surface could cause a freezer burn.
- Trim the ends. Cut off the stem and blossom ends of each courgette. This step helps the courgettes retain nutrients and avoid a watery texture.
- The best ways to prepare courgettes for freezing include:
- Slice or dice: Cut courgettes into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices or cubes for use in recipes like sautés, casseroles, and soups.
- Spiralize: Turn courgettes into noodles using a spiralizer for healthy pasta replacements. Blanch noodles for 2 minutes before freezing.
- Grate: Shred courgettes into a fine texture to use in baked goods like zucchini bread or muffins.
- Blanch slices or cubes: Blanching helps stop enzyme actions that can cause loss of flavor, color, and texture. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add courgette pieces, boil for 1-2 minutes, then immediately submerge in an ice bath to stop cooking. Pat it dry and pack.
- Do not salt: Salting draws out moisture and can cause a mushy texture when frozen. Skip salting until ready to use the thawed courgettes.
How to Freeze Courgettes
Follow these simple steps for freezing courgettes at their peak freshness:
- Package prepared courgette pieces in airtight containers, freezer bags, or plastic wrap, eliminating as much air as possible. This prevents freezer burn.
- Label packages with the date and contents. This avoids mystery packages and keeps track of how long items have been frozen.
- For best quality, consume frozen courgettes within 10–12 months for optimal freshness and texture.
- Spread packages in a single layer in the freezer until completely frozen, at least 24 hours. This quick-freezes the pieces.
- Once solidly frozen, packages can be stacked or consolidated to save freezer space.
- For longer storage of 6 months or more, consider vacuum sealing or canning chopped or sliced courgettes rather than freezing. This gives better long-term results.
- Always thaw frozen courgettes completely in the refrigerator before using. Do not thaw at room temperature or refreeze after thawing.
The Best Courgette Varieties for Freezing
Some courgette varieties hold up better to freezing than others.
- Black Beauty: This heirloom has thin skin that doesn’t get waterlogged. It freezes well, raw or cooked.
- Gold Rush: a smaller golden zucchini with firm flesh that freezes nicely.
- Eight Ball: a spherical variety ideal for stuffing and freezing whole or in halves.
- One Ball is a mini courgette that is perfect for freezing whole for side dishes.
- Raven has dark green skin and meaty flesh that avoids getting mushy in the freezer.
Courgette Freezing Methods
In addition to slicing and dicing, here are some other ways to freeze courgettes:
- Stuff and freeze whole baby courgettes to bake later as appetizers.
- Puree cooked courgettes in batches to freeze into instant soup or sauce bases.
- Roast or sauté courgette rounds, slices, or cubes first before freezing to intensify the flavor.
- Freeze shredded courgettes tightly packed into muffin tins covered in parchment paper for ready-to-bake zucchini bread.
Storing and Organizing Frozen Courgettes
- Group the same-sized packages together in freezer bags or containers when consolidating after individual freezing.
- Arrange items upright in bins or baskets to maximize freezer space.
- Label not just the contents but also the date frozen and any recipe notes.
- Keep an inventory list of what’s in the freezer to avoid losing track of ingredients.
- Use the oldest frozen items first to rotate through what you have frozen.
- Clean out the freezer annually to use up anything close to expiration.
Tips for Cooking with Frozen Courgettes
Frozen courgettes are versatile to use in all your favorite recipes. Here are some cooking tips:
- There is no need to thaw first. Frozen courgettes can go straight into soups, casseroles, breads, etc.
- Reduce any added liquids in recipes to account for moisture released as courgettes thaw.
- Allow a little extra cooking time for frozen courgettes to thaw and heat through.
- Avoid overcooking to prevent mushiness. Cook just until heated and tender-crisp.
- To avoid watery results, thaw the courgettes completely before sautéing or grilling. Pat it dry before cooking.
- Roast or grill thawed courgette slices to caramelize and concentrate flavors.
- Puree thawed courgettes into smoothies, pesto, hummus, sauce, or dip.
- Bake up zucchini bread or muffins using grated frozen courgettes without thawing first.
Common Questions About Freezing Courgettes
Freezing courgettes may be new to you and bring up some questions. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Do you have to blanch courgettes before freezing?
Blanching is highly recommended, but not required. Blanching stops enzyme action and helps maintain texture, color, and flavor during freezing. However, you can successfully freeze courgettes without blanching.
Can you freeze courgettes raw?
Yes, slicing and freezing raw courgettes is fine, but they will be more susceptible to texture changes from freezer burns or enzymes. Blanching is best, but raw can work in a pinch.
Do courgettes get mushy when frozen?
Overripe or water-logged courgettes may get mushy when frozen as cell walls rupture. For best results, choose young, firm courgettes and freeze them properly in airtight packaging. Thaw completely before use.
How do you maintain courgette texture after freezing?
- Blanch before freezing and avoid overcooking when reheating to maintain a tender-crisp texture.
- Package tightly in rigid containers rather than bags to prevent crushing.
- Do not salt before freezing, as salting draws out moisture. Salt after thawing.
Can you freeze grated or spiralized courgettes?
Yes, grated or spiralized courgettes can be frozen but are more prone to clumping. To avoid this:
- Blanch noodles or shreds for 2 minutes before freezing.
- Freeze in a single layer on a sheet pan before bagging.
- Toss with a bit of oil or lemon juice to separate strands when freezing.
What is the best way to thaw frozen courgettes?
For food safety, always thaw frozen courgettes in the refrigerator overnight or for 24 hours. Do not thaw at room temperature. Microwaving works in a pinch but can create mushy spots.
Do courgettes need to be blanched before freezing?
Blanching is highly recommended, but not required. Blanching stops enzyme actions that can cause loss of flavor, color, and texture.
How long do frozen courgettes last?
Properly frozen courgettes can last 10–12 months in the freezer before quality starts to decline. Vacuum sealing can extend the shelf life.
Can you refreeze thawed frozen courgettes?
It is not recommended to refreeze previously frozen courgettes. Thaw them completely in the fridge before use.
What’s the best way to freeze spiralized or shredded courgettes?
Blanch shreds or noodles for 2 minutes, then freeze in a single layer before bagging to prevent clumping and sticking.
Enjoy Courgettes Year Round
With proper preparation and storage, freezing is an easy way to enjoy fresh, flavorful courgettes regardless of the season.
Follow the best practices for blanching, packaging, thawing, and cooking frozen courgettes. Include them in your favorite family recipes for delicious results all year.
Hi, I’m Julie, the passionate foodie and founder of Juliesfamilykitchen.com. I created this blog out of a drive to prove someone wrong, and then I realized how much I truly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. In my free time, when I’m not running around after my kids or spending quality time with my partner, you can usually find me in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes.