More often than not you will find yourself buying zucchini in bulk due to its versatility in the kitchen. For this reason, zucchini needs to be kept fresh at all times to have it in handy and minimize wastage. Here are the best methods to keep zucchini fresh for longer.
Zucchini will keep fresh in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for7-14 days wrapped in a paper bag. Although zucchini can remain fresh at room temperature, you should plan to use it in 3 days before it starts to wrinkle. However, you can freeze cut zucchini and enjoy the freshness all year long.
Best ways to store zucchini
When storing zucchini in the fridge make sure to use a paper bag as it helps in absorbing excess moisture hence keeping it fresh for long.
Washing zucchini before storage exposes it to excess moisture hence shortening its life span. It is therefore advisable to wash it only when you are ready to use it.
Adding salt to blanching zucchini can soften and turn it mushy. To avoid this, add salt only when you plan to use it.
For zucchini to keep fresh better and for long, refrigerate it whole and dry. To achieve this, wrap zucchini loosely in a paper bag and store it in the crisper drawer of your fridge. The paper bag absorbs excess moisture keeping it dry hence prolonging its shelf life. If stored well, zucchini will remain fresh in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 weeks.
Before freezing zucchini, make sure to blanch it in order to retain its color and flavor throughout the freezing period. Frozen zucchini is best used in baking, soups, and sauce recipes due to change in texture. Here is how to freeze zucchini and keep it fresh for 12 months:
- Rinse zucchini under running water
- Slice it in round shape not less than an inch as thin slices become mushy when defrosting
- In a pot of boiling water, put the sliced zucchini and let it boil for 2 minutes.
- Drain and put them in ice-cold water to stop the cooking process
- Dry and spread the slices on a baking tray in a single layer
- Put the baking tray in the freezer and freeze for 2 hours or until completely frozen. Freezing loosely makes it easier to get the amount you only need for a particular recipe.
- Transfer zucchini in a freezing bag and seal making sure to remove any air inside to prevent freezer burns.
- Put the bag in the freezer.
How to choose fresh zucchini
For zucchini to stay fresh for long, it should come fresh from the grocery store. Below are the traits that you should look for when shopping for zucchini:
- It should be heavy for its size.
- Whether green, yellow, or white, it should have a vibrant, rich color.
- It should be no longer than 8 inches as small zucchini are rich in flavor.
- The stem end should be moist.
- It should be firm to touch.
- It should have a shiny skin free from cuts and bruises.
How to know when zucchini is going bad
Zucchini will go bad at some point however well you store it. Check your stored zucchini frequently as it is easy to tell when zucchini is going bad by looking at it and touching to feel. However, not all traits of a spoiling zucchini give a red light. Know when and how to prepare a spoiling zucchini as it can still be edible at some point. Here are the traits of a spoiling zucchini:
- Zucchini will become soft. At this stage, zucchini is still edible though it can only be used in cooked recipes like soup and stews due to change in texture.
- The skin will appear wrinkly. Plan to eat any wrinkly zucchini as soon as possible
- It will have black spots. Cut off the black spots and use the rest of the zucchini as it is still edible however, if the marks are too large and deep when you cut, get rid of it right away.
- It will have an off smell. Discard any zucchini with an off sell as it is a sign of rotting
- It becomes mushy. Discard mushy zucchini right away.