Zucchini pizza boats are our favourite way of ditching pizza doughs during summer.
Simply cut up a fresh zucchini in half, scoop out the flesh and top up with your favourite pizza topping.
There, a delicious treat for anyone, anytime.
And what happens when you have leftovers from your zucchini pizza adventure?
Freeze them or put them in the refrigerator, although the latter is much preferred and you’ll get to know why in a moment.
Zucchini doesn’t freeze well
The problem of freezing zucchini pizza boats starts with the main item itself which is zucchini.
Zucchini doesn’t freeze well and this is because it has 95% water content which means that whenever you attempt to freeze it, the 95% water content trapped in the cells turns into ice crystals (large or small depending on how fast you freeze the zucchini) and these crystals would rupture the cell walls therefore destroying the texture of the zucchini.
When thawed, the ice crystals turn back into water, but because the cell walls containing them have been ruptured, they’ll be let loose and make the vegetable feel mushy.
Now, larger ice crystals cause more rupture damage than small ice crystals. The culprit that forms large ice crystals is slow freezing, whereas small ice crystals are formed by fast freezing.
If you must freeze zucchini pizza boats, then make sure to turn the freezer to the lowest temperature setting for about 2 hours before popping in the boats and letting them freeze. This would allow the boats to freeze much faster so they are able to retain some degree of texture on them.
Cheese too doesn’t freeze well
Now we talked about zucchini and how it doesn’t freeze well, but it doesn’t stop there.
There are other ingredients too on a zucchini pizza boat that don’t freeze well.
Components like sauces when frozen will become grainy and loose flavour, especially when frozen for a very long time.
Onions will turn mushy and bland, and herbs and spices will be muted by the cold in the freezer.
Cheese when frozen would become crumbly and mealy, and mushrooms will turn really watery when thawed.
All these ingredients that don’t freeze well will combine their terrible freezing characteristics to deliver a not so appetising experience when an entire pizza boat is frozen.
What is the best way to store leftover zucchini boats?
Now don’t get anything wrong, you can actually store zucchini pizza boats in the freezer and it will keep there for many months to come without spoilage, and that is the advantage it has over other methods of storage.
But when thawing, just be ready to swallow up the textual changes that’ll come with such extended duration of storage.
As far as the best way to store zucchini pizza boats is concerned, it is the refrigerator.
In the refrigerator, however, zucchini, pizza boats would only last a couple of days before spoilage bacteria and other organisms begin their activities and cause certain components like cheese to become slimy and sauce to become mouldy.
So when storing zucchini pizza in the refrigerator, you have very little window of time to work with before your food begins to spoil.
If you wish to store zucchini pizza boats in the refrigerator however, here’s how to do it.
First get the zucchini pizza boats and arrange them vertically in a casserole dish. Make sure they’ve not sat down at room temperature for more than 4 hours otherwise heat them up and consume them or give them out to the homeless. They’ll spoil really quickly in the refrigerator and might cause illness.
Now after arranging them in the casseroled dish, lid it and place it in the middle shelf of the refrigerator.
That’s it. Your zucchini pizza boat should keep for a maximum of 4 days when stored in that manner.
If you do not have a casserole dish, feel free to use glass prep containers or any form of container that is safe for refrigeration.
How to reheat a refrigerated zucchini pizza boat
Reheating a refrigerated zucchini pizza boat is quite easy. Place the zucchini pizza boats in a microwave safe plate and pop it straight into the microwave.
Cook on High for 40 seconds to 1 minute 30 seconds and your zucchini should be right back to glory.
You can also reheat zucchini pizza boats in the oven.
To do that, take the casserole dish from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter until it comes to room temperature. This is to prevent the casserole dish from cracking in the oven due to a swift temperature change.
After it has come to room temperature, place the casserole dish in the oven that is already preheated to 425°F and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
If you’re using an air fryer, the boats would cook in about 5 to 6 minutes at that temperature.
If you’re using a lower oven temperature, then the cooking time would extend by about a minute or more.
Can you freeze empty zucchini boats?
It doesn’t matter whether your zucchini pizza boat is topped with cheese, sausage or sauce or it is empty.
Zucchini is zucchini, and it would freeze exactly the same way regardless — which is into a watery mess.
If you happen to have so many empty zucchini pizza boats that you want to store for a very long time however, then you can go ahead and freeze it, but just know that they won’t be as pleasurable compared to when they are fresh, except you intend to use them for recipes that require cooking, for instance soups.
To freeze empty zucchini pizza boats, first blanch them by cooking them in boiling water for about 1 minute (and what this does is to destroy the enzymes that leads to discoloration, loss of flavor and loss of texture with time), then take them out from the boiling water and plunge them into an iced water. Let them sit there until they turn cool, which would take about 2 minutes or so, then proceed to place them on a cookie sheet in one layer and flash freeze them.
After the first freezing, take them out from the freezer and portion the frozen zucchini into plastic containers or plastic bags (based on how you intend to use them), then put them in the freezer to store.
Empty zucchini boats stored in this manner will keep for at most 4 months.
Are zucchini boats good when reheated?
Almost anything that has cheese on it is better when reheated. Most zucchini pizza boats recipes have cheese in them, and you want to make sure you’re heating the cheese so it melts over the boats and it’s not grainy.
Aside from the cheese, other components too just taste better when heated because cold simply has a way of muting the flavors of ingredients.