How to Freeze Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles)
Zucchini noodles, commonly known as zoodles, are a delicious, low-carb and low-calorie alternative to pasta. One medium zucchini (196 grams) only has 33 calories and is rich in fiber and calcium. But once you spiralize zucchini, it will only last a few days in the fridge.
Since zucchinis are primarily made of water, if you freeze and defrost them without preparation, they’ll end up mushy. So how can you freeze zucchini noodles?
How to Freeze Zucchini Noodles With Salt
Salt helps to dehydrate the zucchini noodles through the process of osmosis. Salt is a solvent. By salting and massaging your zoodles, moisture moves from the point of lower solvent concentration (the inside of the zucchini noodles) to the point of higher solvent concentration (the outside of the zucchini noodle). By reducing the moisture content of the zoodles before freezing them, they’ll be firmer when you defrost them.
Here’s how you freeze zucchini noodles:
- Gather your materials. You’ll need dish towels or paper towels, salt, a bowl, and a spiralizer.
- Prepare your zoodles. Cut the ends off your zucchini and use a spiralizer to create your zoodles. If they’re more than 8 to 10 inches, I suggest cutting them into smaller lengths to make freezing and defrosting them more manageable.
- Salt and massage your zoodles. Place your zoodles in a large bowl, adding ½ tablespoon of salt for every 2 cups of zoodles. A medium zucchini makes about 2 cups of zucchini noodles. Massage the salt into the noodles for a few minutes until it’s easy to squeeze water out of them.
- Place noodles in a dishcloth or cheesecloth and squeeze out excess water. Gather the edge of the towel, twist, and squeeze until you’ve extracted as much water as you can. If you have a large amount of zucchini noodles, you can line a colander with a dishcloth and press out the water.
- Spread on a dry dishcloth or paper towel. To remove any excess water, spread a single layer of zoodles on dry dishcloths or paper towels. Layer dry dishcloths or paper towels on top of the zoodles and let sit for half an hour.
- Package, label, and freeze. Measure out portions of zucchini. This could be for specific recipes or for general serving sizes. Place them in a freezer safe bag, press the air out, label with the date, and freeze.
Some people prefer to skip step four and let the noodles rest on paper towels or in a colander for 30 minutes after salting them, then flip, salt the other side, and let them rest again. While this will draw out some water, it doesn’t remove as much moisture as squeezing the zoodles.
Should You Blanch Zoodles Before Freezing Them?
While you can blanch zoodles before freezing them, I prefer drying them out with salt. Why? Zoodles are thin and easy to overblanch. This can make them soggy and prevent them from defrosting well.
If you do want to blanch zoodles, you can boil them for 1-3 minutes, until the zucchini skins become bright green and the zoodles are slightly tender, but not too soft. Immediately remove them and place them in ice water to stop them from cooking further. Once the zoodles are cool, drain them and dry them. You can flash freeze them to prevent the zoodles from sticking together if you’d like.
How Long Do Frozen Zoodles Last?
Zucchini noodles last in the freezer for 10-12 months. For best results, make sure you squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible to minimize freezer burn.
How to Defrost Zoodles?
Remember that you salted the zucchini noodles in order to draw out water, so you’ll want to rinse off your zoodles before eating them. There are two ways to defrost your zucchini noodles:
- Move the container from the freezer to the refrigerator. Let the zoodles defrost naturally, drain excess water, rinse the zoodles, and use as desired.
- Boil the zoodles. You only need to boil them just enough to defrost and soften them. This only takes about a minute. Be careful not to overcook them.
If you’re adding the zoodles to another dish, be careful not to mix them in too early. If they’re exposed to heat for too long, they’ll end up limp. When I add zoodles to a soup, I prefer to add them directly to my bowl of warm soup as not to overcook them.
How to Use Zucchini Noodles
There are countless ways to use zucchini noodles.
- Mix them into a veggie stir fry.
- Use them instead of pasta.
- Add them to a tomato or meat sauce.
- Use them in a soup.
- Bake zucchini muffins or zucchini bread.
- Add them to an omelette.
How to Freeze Zucchini Noodles
- Dishcloths or paper towels
- 4 medium zucchinis
- 2 tbsp salt
- Cut the ends off your zucchini and use a spiralizer to create your zoodles. If they’re more than 8 to 10 inches, cut them into smaller pieces to make freezing and defrosting them more manageable.
- Place your zoodles in a large bowl and add salt. Massage the salt into the zucchini noodles for a few minutes until it’s easy to squeeze water out of them.
- Place zucchini noodles in a dishcloth or cheesecloth and squeeze out excess water. If you have a large amount of zucchini noodles, you can line a colander with a dishcloth and press out the water.
- To remove any excess water, spread a single layer of zoodles on dry dishcloths or paper towels. Layer dry dishcloths or paper towels on top of the zoodles and let sit for 20-30 minutes.
- Place the zoodles in a freezer safe bag, press the air out, label with the date, and freeze.