It might be tempting to toss your spiralized zoodles right into boiling water like regular pasta. However, this tender veggie cooks very quickly – and it will overcook before you know it. Boiling these noodles can quickly turn them into unappealing mush.
However, a technique which involves boiling known as “blanching” is sometimes absolutely the best way to go. It can preserve both texture and bright color for certain recipes. To find out how and when to use this method, read on!
Blanch Your Zoodles
Blanching is when you boil a vegetable for a few seconds, followed by a very quick cool down in icy water. There is a chemical process that happens when you do this to fresh green veggies that makes them turn a bright green. In addition, that very fresh and bright color will be fixed, keeping your zukes looking great whether cooked or cold.
Blanching also destroys some of the enzymes present in fresh foods. These enzymes are part of the process of breaking food down – a.k.a. spoiling. Using this technique will actually prolong your zukes life in terms of nutritional value, texture and flavor.
I like to blanch my zoodles before using in a cold salad, especially if I am taking it with me to a potluck. The blanching process just makes the colors pop and helps the zukes hold their crunch long enough to still taste fresh and delicious the next day.
Finally, blanching is the right move if you plan to freeze your zoodles by serving several functions:
• Softens texture for tighter packing
• Helps prevent against freezer burn
• Preserves texture and color through freezing process
How long do you boil zucchini noodles?
Follow these step by step instructions:
1. Bring a pot of water to a full rolling boil. Season to taste (I like one tablespoon of salt per gallon).
2. Clean, cut and spiralize your zukes.
3. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice water and submerging your colander down in it. (TIP: I use my salad spinner for this job!)
4. Drop your zuke pasta in the boiling water in manageable sized batches. You don’t want to add so much at one time that your water stops boiling.
5. Boil for 30 seconds (for thin spirals) up to a minute (for courser cut).
6. Immediately drain then submerge in icy water until completely cool. If you want to do multiple batches, use a spider strainer to pull the zukes from the water easily.
7. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
Although I would not recommend boiling zucchini noodles for use traditional hot pasta dishes, it will yield a better result if you plan to dress your zoodles for cold salads or slaws that you want to keep for a few days. The brighter color and fresher taste is worth a bit of additional preparation.
Want to know how to make Zucchini noodles even if you don’t have a spiralizer? See our in-depth guide here.