They Freeze Summer Squash, Don’t They?

How to Freeze Zucchini aka Summer Squash

Yes, again! My zucchini aka summer squash harvest has been killer this year, and a few have got lost in the foliage too, which means we’ve accidentally grown a few monstrous fruits to boot.

There will be squash (another film reference)! Or at least, I would like there to be, which is where freezing comes in. Be advised that while the defrosted product will turn out mushy and unsuitable for eating fresh, frozen zucchini aka summer squash is still completely viable when cooked. Muffins, breads and other baked goods are all good candidates for a little frozen zucchini as are soups and stews. However, I’ve also tried frying previously frozen summer squash and the result was shockingly good.

How to Freeze Zucchini / Summer Squash

With some experimentation, I’ve found that grating the zucchini before freezing is the best way to go. It’s easy to defrost and versatile — simply break off a chunk and plop it directly into the pan or pot. If you’re planning to use it in baked goods the pre-grated zucchini is already prepared and ready to go, no additional preparation required. When defrosting, squeeze some of the excess liquid out before using.

Pack grated zucchini into freezer safe bags or containers. No special blanching or additional prep is necessary, although I do cut out the hard seeds from over-sized fruit. Canning jars will work here, but it can be a little difficult to extract small quantities from the jar. I recommend using a pint-sized wide mouth mason jar to make the job easier. I have also taken to freezing several bags that are pre-measured into 3 cup quantities — exactly the amount I use when making zucchini loaf. Again, it is all about doing a little extra work now for convenience down the road.

I’m not yet sure exactly how long frozen zucchini will last. I plan to leave a bag in longer than usual this year to see just how far it will go.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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7 thoughts on “They Freeze Summer Squash, Don’t They?

  1. I’ve frozen shredded zucchini in the past and it has worked out great for breads. When you fried it, did you make patties?
    After reading your praise of the Excalibur dehydrator I took the plunge and upgraded from my 20 yr old Ronco! It just came in yesterday and I have yellow pear tomatoes drying already, and I did a batch of tomato skins for powder as per your recipe.

    Have you ever grown tomatillos? My two plants are producing enough this year to feed a small country. I freeze some for a pulled pork crock pot dish I make, and I’m going to can some as salsa this year, haven’t done that for a couple years now. I wonder if anyone has any other suggestions for preserving some of this bounty.

    • Oh wow, you’re going to love it. I can’t believe how well it dries tomatoes. I’m hoping my friend will lend it to me again so I can dry up a bunch from my garden. The more I use that machine, the more I love it.

      Yes, I always grow tomatillos. I have only ever frozen and canned as well.

  2. With respect to the “shelf life” of frozen grated zucchini, I recently used some that was two years old (as in frozen at the end of summer 2011) and it did fine in muffins. I salted that batch and let it sit in a sieve prior to freezing, which let me extract a bit of extra moisture (I leave out the salt in the recipe when I use this squash). The bags were fairly well sealed and lived in the deep freezer, I suspect they would taste freezer burnt if they had been in a self-defrosting freezer, or if I had not extracted the extra air from the freezer bags with a straw.

    • They’d never last that long in my tiny freezer, but I am amazed to hear this. Further proof that I need a deep freezer.

      I’ve been leaving the salting stage out of mine because I don’t want to mess up the salt content of anything I bake with it in the future. If it were just for frying/fritters/etc I would salt ahead of time.

  3. I just shredded and froze about ten zucchinis from the garden today. It is the best way to utilize zucchini. I use the shredded vegetable to make breads and cakes; I haven’t tried frying up fritters, but I’d love to try. Other than puréeing zucchini and using it for soup, simply shredding it up and freezing it is my favorite means of zucchini preservation. is a great resource for shelf-lives of garden goodies…

  4. If you freeze a lot and want your harvest to last longer invest in a vacuum sealer. I have been amazed at the difference. I lost a few bags of ground beef in the bottom of the freezer. Three years later when I unearthed them there was no freezer burn, beef tasted fine.
    When processing tomatoes, I sometimes use our electric smoker ($69 mail order) to dry down thick slices. Level of dehydration depends on how I’ll use them. Partially dried/smoked slices make a great thick salsa or sauce.

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