July 28, 2012

Tip of the Day

Did you know that you can freeze zucchini?  According to the Will It Freeze book by Joan Hood, it is best to use young zucchini about 3 in. (7.5 cm.) long.  Wipe zucchini with damp cloth, trim ends and then cut into 1/2-in. (1 cm.) slices.  You can either blanch* for 1 minute, cool in ice cold water for 1 minute, drain and open-freeze or you can saute in butter for 1 minute.  If you use the saute in butter method, cool in fridge afterwards.  Once these processes are done, pack into rigid containers leaving 1/2-1 in. (1-2 cm.) headspace or put in freezer bags.  Can freeze up to one year.

When ready to use, cook the blanched, frozen zucchini in boiling water or thaw in a colander so they remain firm (and not soggy).  You can then prepare the zucchini as your recipe dictates.  If the zucchini was sauteed in butter, finish cooking in butter until tender and golden brown. 

*Blanch:  means to bring the water to a boil.  Add vegetables to the water.  Start timing from the minute the water has come back to a boil (it is best to not add a lot of vegetables because it will take longer for the water to come back to a boil; plus the vegetables can move around more easily)Watch your timing because this needs to be precise.  When finished, immediately drain vegetables and put into ice cold water for the same amount of time that vegetables were blanched (for example, with zucchini you blanch for 1 minute and then immerse in cold water for 1 minute)This stops the cooking process.  

The purpose of blanching is to help maintain the color and flavor of your vegetables.

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