Gardeners love zucchini for numerous reasons. Once planted, this species of summer squash requires little maintenance to deliver a generous harvest.
Young bright green or yellow zucchini of about 6 to 8 inches long and 2 inches in diameter contain few seeds and are perfect for most recipes. Larger zucchinis are tougher and develop more and bigger seeds. The squash can still be used to make bread or soup after removing the pulp and seeds.
During the harvest period, keep unwashed zucchini in cold storage or the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Use your vegetables within three to four days. Don’t forget to wash your squash just before meal preparations. Zucchini does not need to be peeled.
An abundant harvest is great when you have lots of farm animals to feed, however, that is not the case for most gardeners. So, what to do when you have tried every recipe in your cookbooks and the neighbors start avoiding you because they have had enough zucchini?
Zucchini Tricks and Suggestions
Tired of zucchini bread and muffins? Try to think beyond the box, because this vegetable goes with just about anything.
- Grill zucchini slices with a wide variety of vegetables, such as eggplant, onions, asparagus, and mushrooms.
- Add it to stir fries with green onions, carrots, green or yellow beans, and potatoes.
- Look for that perfect warm or cold soup recipe.
- Cut down on the carbs by using zucchini slices instead of lasagna noodles.
- Dice zucchini for pasta and lettuce salads.
- Serve squash sticks with dip.
- Make grain-free noodles. Serve with a marinara sauce.
- Ever tried zucchini marmalade or butter? Delicious! Additional ingredients are olive oil or butter, minced shallots and garlic, salt and pepper. Enjoy on toast or bagels.
- Use it instead of cucumber in a Greek salad.
- Stuff giant squashes with sausage, mushrooms, and sage. Bake in the oven. Top it with shredded pecorino cheese and a dash of paprika. Return to the oven until the cheese has melted, and then enjoy!
- Diced zucchini, chopped onion, eggs, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper are key ingredients for a scrumptious frittata.
- Brownies made with finely shredded zucchini, applesauce, bananas, and walnuts are to die for!
- Wash, grate, and freeze young, tender zucchini for cooking and baking during cold seasons. Steam-blanch (scalding vegetables in steam for a short time) small portions until translucent. It takes about 1 to 2 minutes. Freeze in containers once the zucchini has cooled. Leave 1/2-inch of headspace. Discard liquid after thawing the squash.
- Dehydrating zucchini either in pieces or chips is an excellent preserving method. Lay the pieces or slices in a single layer on dehydrator trays. Sprinkle with your favorite seasoning. Store dehydrated foods in airtight containers.
- Soup, relish, and pickled zucchini can be canned.
There is no shortage of delicious and creative recipes, most of which can be found on the Internet. Are you an inexperienced cook? Don’t worry. Just about anyone can create easy and healthy soups, main dishes, sides, and, of course, dessert with this prolific vegetable.
Irida Sangemino is an accomplished permaculture adviser, homesteading expert, and instructor.