Zucchini is one of those vegetables that just keeps on giving. It is an incredibly versatile crop that you can grow in your garden. If you have ever had it, then you probably understand just how prolific it can be.
You can slice it into halves or strips, but one of the most popular ways of consuming zucchini is by turning it into noodles.
As with any vegetable-based good, you will need to go out of your way to ensure that your dish stays fresh for as long as possible. After all, no one wants to see their zucchini noodles go to waste.
So it’s no wonder people are asking, can you freeze zoodles? The answer is yes, you can freeze zoodles and significantly extend their shelf life. You just need to follow the right steps, such as blanching, to get optimal results.
So, be sure to keep reading as we delve deeper into how you can do just that.
Why Freeze Zoodles?
Zoodles, as its name suggests, are noodles made from zucchini. Needless to say, this handy ingredient is known as one of the most versatile vegetables around.
This is because it can be used for several kinds of dishes and recipes which include:
As you may have noticed, the list above includes a myriad of different cuisines including Vietnamese and Italian recipes. This is because zoodles, in particular, are known as a cheap and healthy alternative to typical wheat-based noodles.
Not only are they low-calorie, but they are also notably tasty and provide your dish with the right kind of texture.
If you love these types of dishes or if you are looking to switch to a healthier diet, then it only makes sense for you to want to freeze your zoodles.
After all, it never hurts to always have ingredients conveniently within arm’s reach. You never know when the cravings might hit you.
Before Freezing Your Zoodles
Now that it is clear why you would want to freeze zoodles, there are a couple of things you need to consider first. After all, it isn’t as simple as slicing the zucchini and sticking it in the freezer.
There are a couple of things that you must consider first. Listed below are some of them:
- Physical Condition – Selecting the right zucchini is crucial if you want to achieve the best possible results. As a rule, you will want to choose a zucchini that is fresh, firm, and slender. At the same time, look for a zucchini that is free of blemishes and soft spots. It should also be brightly colored and must not have wrinkled skin.
- Zucchini Size – Typically, you want it to be just the right size – around 8 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. This is because larger zucchinis can be quite tough and may contain more seeds that are effectively useless for our purpose.
- Freshness – Another factor you need to consider is the freshness of your zucchini. You need to ensure that it is just recently harvested to ensure the best condition.
- Blanching – For the best possible results, you may want to consider blanching or partially cooking your zucchinis in boiling water which effectively does two things. First, this process helps slow the growth of enzymes that cause the loss of food’s color, flavor, and texture. Second, it gets rid of any bacteria that might be lingering on the surface of your zucchini. Needless to say, this will help ensure the longevity of your zucchini noodles.
Preparing Your Zoodles
While you are free to directly freeze your fresh zucchini noodles, we highly recommend that you don’t. Instead, we suggest that you follow these steps to ensure optimal results.
Raw vegetables typically have a lot of moisture, which could have adverse effects on its freezing.
Now, you may be wondering why is drying considered one of the most important parts of the process? The answer is simple: moist zoodles won’t be able to retain their shape and texture for too long.
The goal here is to get rid of as much moisture as possible. Otherwise, you will end up with a soggy and unappealing blob once you take them out of the freezer.
Listed below are a couple of things you need to do first – these include everything from the right preparation to blanching. All of these steps are crucial to ensuring that your zucchini noodles retain their level of freshness for extended periods.
- Prepare the zucchini – Once you have chosen the zucchinis, make sure to carefully wash them under running water. This will remove any remaining soil or residue on your zucchini. Then, trim off the ends and scoop out any seeds with a spoon. Slice the zucchini into smaller pieces before using the spiralizer.
- Dehydrate the Zucchini Noodles – The best way to do this is by taking a tablespoon of kosher salt for every 2 cups of fresh zucchini noodles. Make sure to sprinkle it all over and ensure that you cover as much of it as possible before kneading it into your zoodles completely and thoroughly. This should take at least 3 minutes. Do not hesitate to add more salt if necessary.
- Let the Moisture Seep Out – As you knead the salt into the zucchini noodles, you will notice its excess moisture being expelled as bubbles start to appear. Do this repeatedly to ensure that the salt is fully mixed in with your zoodles. The mixing bowl should appear soapy throughout this process.
- Drain Excess Moisture – Once you have followed the instructions above, proceed by placing your zucchini noodles in a colander lined with a fresh cloth and place it over the sink. Let it sit for an hour or so to let the noodles drain. Then, wrap the edges of the cloth to completely cover your noodles. Make sure that every strand of your zoodles is in there. Then, take the top of your makeshift cloth bag and squeeze to force the remaining moisture out of your zucchini noodles. Do this until the liquid stops running.
- Let the Zoodles Sit – Once the moisture has been drained, let the zucchini noodles sit atop the cloth. Leave them for at least an hour to ensure that they are completely dry.
Preparing Spiralized Zoodles
The shape of your zucchini doesn’t matter. You can freeze them in halves, strips, or as noodles. The most important thing is that you follow the steps provided above, as excess moisture can mess up your zoodles if you aren’t careful.
If you want to spiralize your zucchini, you should do so before drying them. The process is incredibly simple if you have a vegetable spiralizer in the kitchen, as it can instantly turn your zucchini into noodles without much trouble.
However, if you don’t have one, then don’t fret. You can just as easily make zoodles at home using a vegetable peeler and a knife. The process is as follows:
- Take your vegetable peeler and slide it down the entire length of your zucchini. This will help make long strips.
- Take your knife and carefully slice the strips of zucchini into the appropriate noodle size. It is up to you if you want it thick or thin.
Once this is done, follow the steps presented in the previous section to ensure that your zucchini noodles do not have any extra moisture.
Once you have properly prepared your zucchini noodles by drying and spiralizing them, you can now proceed to the matter at hand: freezing. Be sure to follow these steps closely to ensure that your zucchini noodles stay fresh in the freezer.
- The first thing you need to do is place your zoodles in freezer-safe bags. Avoid using hard containers like jars, as you do not want to compress your zucchini noodles. Additionally, we highly recommend that you divide your noodles into manageable portions so that you can easily thaw them later. At the same time, smaller storage portions tend to have more success when it comes to effectively retaining their form and texture.
- You will want to create a near-vacuum environment for your noodles to ensure that they come out looking fresh. So, once you have put the zucchini noodles in the bag, press the air out before sealing it tightly.
- The last thing you want is to have a surplus of zoodles in your freezer with no idea of when it was placed there. To prevent this, you will need to put a label on each of the freezer-safe bags. Make sure that the freezing date is clearly indicated.
If done correctly, your frozen zoodles can last for as long as a full year in your freezer.
When the time comes, you can just as easily take them out of the freezer and boil the zucchini noodles. This will restore and rehydrate your noodles, making them ready for any recipe.
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