Zucchini is a versatile squash that is full of many important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
This healthy vegetable can be used in many different delicious recipes so why not stock up on zucchinis next time you go to the store?
If you do buy some zucchini, however, you will need to know how to store zucchini to keep it fresh.
In this article, we will look at all you need to know about storing zucchinis. We’ll explain how best to store them and how long for.
We’ll also answer whether they can be frozen, how to freeze them correctly, and how to pick the freshest zucchini.
Let’s get started!
How To Store Zucchini
The best way to store zucchini to keep it fresh depends on how long you plan to store it. Let’s look at some different methods for different periods of short-term storage.
Can Zucchini Be Left Out Of The Fridge?
If you plan on using zucchini on the same day you purchase it or will be using it the next day, then you can keep it in the fridge.
However, if you leave it out of the fridge and on your kitchen counter, the vegetable should still be fine.
Zucchini will start deteriorating quickly at room temperature, but if it is only left overnight, it will be fine outside of the fridge. If you plan on using it in a couple of days, you should put it in the fridge.
How To Store Zucchini In The Fridge
If you’re not going to use your zucchini the next day but do intend on using it shortly after purchase, then storing it in the fridge is the best idea.
It’s best to store zucchini in your fridge’s crisper drawer. If you know your zucchini will be used in three to five days, then you can place the zucchini straight into the drawer without the need for a plastic bag.
However, if you want to store the zucchinis for around a week, you will get the best results if the vegetables are put into a plastic bag before being put into the crisper drawer.
You should keep an eye on the plastic bag and if you notice that any water begins to build in the bag, open up the bag or put the zucchini in a perforated bag instead.
This is also part of the reason why you shouldn’t wash the zucchini before refrigerating it. Refrigerate the zucchini unwashed and only wash it right before you’re going to use it.
If you have already pre-cut the zucchini and it is leftovers from a meal, then you will need to treat it a little differently. This is the same regardless of whether the zucchini is raw or cooked.
Instead of using a plastic bag, it’s best to store leftover zucchini in an airtight plastic container. This should also be kept in the fridge and consumed within three to four days.
How To Freeze Zucchini
If you want to keep zucchinis for more than a week, then you will need to freeze the vegetable. Unfortunately, this isn’t as simple as just putting it into the freezer in an airtight container.
Instead, you will need to blanch the vegetable if you want it to retain its flavor and taste.
We wouldn’t recommend freezing zucchini that haven’t been blanched as once thawed, they won’t taste as fresh as they should.
Blanching zucchini isn’t a difficult process, but it can take a little time.
How To Prepare Zucchini For Freezing
Here’s a step-by-step guide to preparing zucchini for freezing.
Begin by preparing your zucchinis. You will need to wash them and then cut each vegetable into slices that are around half an inch in size.
The next step is to blanch the zucchini.
Boil a pot of water on a stovetop and once it has begun boiling, transfer your washed and cut pieces of zucchini into the water.
The water should remain simmering and allow the zucchini to blanch for around three minutes.
After the three minutes have elapsed, quickly cool the zucchini by transferring it to a pot of cold water. You can ensure the water is extra-cold by adding some ice cubes.
The zucchini should stay in the cold water for a further three minutes.
Once your zucchini has had enough time in both the hot and cold water, you will need to drain it.
Take the zucchini slices out of the water and let them sit on some kitchen towel for around 15 minutes. The towel should soak up most of the water.
If there is any excess water, you can remove this with more kitchen or paper towels.
Take your dry zucchini and place it into airtight containers or plastic bags. It’s best to divide it into portions at this stage so you only need to defrost what you need.
Place your zucchini in the freezer. When blanched and in an airtight container, it should be fine to consume for several months.
How To Defrost Zucchini
There are several ways to defrost zucchini, but we find that you will get the best results by removing the zucchini from the freezer the day before and putting it in the fridge.
This will let the zucchini defrost at a slower pace.
Make sure that you drain any liquid that will build up during the defrosting process.
The zucchini is likely to be quite soft after it’s finished thawing, so it’s best used in cooked dishes instead of eaten raw.
How To Choose The Best Zucchini
One way to ensure that your zucchini remains as fresh as possible for as long as possible is to buy the best zucchini.
If you buy older zucchini that is already past its best, it won’t taste as fresh no matter how well you store it.
When picking zucchini in the store, you should look for the following:
- small and firm vegetables that have little to no blemishes
- zucchini that feel heavy, especially when compared to their relative size
- vegetables that have glossy skin. Typically these have smaller seeds and are fresher
Try to avoid any larger zucchini that have a dull surface instead of a glossy one. This is usually a sign that they have larger seeds and stringer flesh.
The best way to store zucchini depends on how long you are looking to store the vegetable.
For same-day or next-day use, you can keep the zucchini out of the fridge and on your counter without any problems.
If you are going to use your zucchini in a few days, then it will be safe in the fridge. For longer storage, you should blanch the vegetables and freeze them.
We hope that the information and tips in this article will help you store your zucchini and keep it fresh.
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