Thursday, June 24, 2010

How to Survive Zucchini Season

Let's make a pact.

Let's not let any zucchini grow to baseball bat size.  Or watermelon size.  Or small child size.  Let's stay on top of this prolific vegetable, putting it to good use and stopping short of loathing them.  I'm going to offer a few tactics and then I want to hear yours.

1) Pick your zucchini on the small side.  We need to heed our own advice on this one.  If you do, you'll avoid largely seedy zucchinis that you end up scooping the center out of anyway.  You won't be as overwhelmed by them if you keep them from turning into behemoths. Unless you want behemoths, of course.

2) Incorporate them into everything you eat.  Make suppers with zucchini, muffins, cookies, rolls, whatever you can think of.  Think of the fiber.  Who can say anything bad about fiber?  I'll post my favorite zucchini recipes as I make them.  One from the other night was a hit (see below).

3) Freeze zucchini for later use.  Many folks are familiar with shredding and freezing zucchini for use in bread, rolls, soups, etc.  But, did you know you can also freeze them in chunks?  No blanching or special treatment required.  Just chop them up (after cutting off the ends) into bite size pieces and throw them into freezer bags.  They are perfect for casseroles like this one and soups like this one

4) A good friend once told us, "It's okay to compost zucchini."  Did you hear me?  If you've come to your wit's end...if you cause your neighbors to high-tail it in the opposite direction when they see you carrying a green (or yellow) beast...if you begin to cry at the sight of another one, just throw it in the compost.  I said it's okay.  Okay?

When it comes to zucchini, we can use all the options we can get.  What do you do with zucchini?


Penne with Zucchini and Feta (adapted from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2003)
A light, tasty meal that can be served hot, warm or room temperature.  It was a hit with our kids as well as us.  This recipe does not call for salt.  If your chicken or vegetable broth is not sufficiently seasoned, you will need to add salt to taste.

12-16 oz. penne (or other short pasta)
2 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
3 medium zucchini, sliced into short spears about the same size as the penne
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
4 ounces feta cheese

Cook the pasta according to directions, drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.  While the pasta is cooking, saute garlic, zucchini and oregano for about 5 minutes over medium high heat.  Add broth, lemon juice and black pepper.  Cover and cook over medium heat until the zucchini is tender.  Pour mixture over drained pasta, add feta and toss.  Serve immediately. Pin It


  1. The recipe looks good, but to my estimations, those are some pretty huge zucchini already. What do you say counts as "small?" For me, I'm thinking no bigger than an inch in diameter, but that's just me...

    The picture that popped up at the bottom, the one of you pregnant, made me laugh. Speaking of behemoth...

  2. Thanks for the laugh this morning!!! What a great post... and what a yummy sounding recipe! I can always use more suggestions for cooking/freezing/hiding zucchini :)

  3. I have been enjoying your site. Thanks for all the great posts :D
    I am a first time gardener, and I planted 2 zucchini plants this spring. I keep getting beautiful huge yellow blooms, but have yet to see a single zucchini. Any suggestions?

    Thanks again!

    1. If you are getting blooms at the end of small long stalks, clip them off. They are the ones that don't produce fruit and they use up plant energy. The flowers near the base of the plant will be zucchini.

    2. I read the long stalks with the flower are the boys that we need to fertilize the girl squash bloom. So don't cut anything Hope for the bees to do the work if no bees look up hand pollinating with a brush it works. ( :

  4. Bread, cake, brownies, grilled with italian dressing, zucchini pie, casseroles, cookies, and I must confess that while composting is a wonderful idea, sometimes I throw them as far as I can.


  5. Loni, Here's a possible explanation...

    Jennifer Jo, The size of our zucchini? Hence the comment about us needing to take our own advice. An inch in diameter? That's no fun.

    Beck, I'm loving the visual of you heaving zucchini as far as you can:-).

  6. Have you tried Pioneer Woman's (actually, her guest, Pastor Ryan) Fried Zucchini Cakes recipe? SO delish if you're not against fried foods.

  7. The ones too big, scoop out seeds and stuff with your fav meat stuffing and bake. A little grated cheese sprinkled over the top to melt makes it extra special.

  8. Actually, we haven't been able to grow any zucchini the past few years. Our area has a shortage of bees - some sort of parasite or virus, I think. I am trying again this year, but out in the front garden where there are many flowering herbs - we'll see if I get any better results!

  9. Usually, both my in-laws & us will put zucchini in our garden. This year, just my in-laws put it in, and already it's more than we can use between our 2 families.

    I'm reminded of the time I agreed to do a Pampered Chef party for a friend. One of the ingredients I needed for a recipe we'd be making was zucchini. This was in the middle of winter. I didn't have any in my freezer & I had to buy some at the grocery. They only had 'organic' zucchini & it cost $5 for two measy, sickly little things!!! Oh, it spited me to spend that on zucchini!!! In retrospect, I probably should have just changed the recipe I planned to use.

  10. I don't grow 'em, don't buy 'em. We get enough given to us! I shred them and make them into mock crabcakes - yum.
    Thanks for the tip on freezing.

    They don't have any nutrients, do they? I think they don't which is why I don't seek them out.

  11. Margo, I think I read last summer that zucchini has vitamin C. So of course I froze probably 20 pounds of the stuff. Only used maybe 3 pounds!

  12. Giggles my friend, thanks for the smile, I do not plant, eat, or touch Zucchini, a time we lived on Zucchini cooked it baked it and I hope I never have to look at one again, hugs my friend, you just help yourself, lots for you.

  13. Pickles! Especially bread & butter pickles. Cube the big ones, but don't freeze them - pickle them. They are great! We also shred and freeze for bread or scoop and stuff to roast them topped with tomatoes and cheese.

  14. My sis and bro-in-law were just visiting. He said he doesn't like zucchini and straight neck squash (we use them interchangably). After being here a week I converted him :) We have tons and are having fun eating it. I love: chopping it into coins, pan frying it with olive oil, fresh garlic, and basil, OR chopping it into wedges and broiling it with melted butter and parmesan cheese, OR (family favorite) boiling them whole and then slicing in half, scooping them out and filling them with cooked italian sausage, garlic, onions, and the squash inards, then covering the tops with shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Yum!

  15. I have made zucchini fries...just bread them and bake them on an oven sheet. Use a red cause to dip them love them and they are eating well!

    1. I may try making zuchinni gummy worm candy using jello I heard its just like real gummy worms candy.

  16. I just made a zucchini mozzarella dish for dinner tonight. I cut up a large zucchini in chunks(left the peel on), cut up an onion in slices, dipped them in egg and milk, then covered them in a flour mixture (flour, garlic and onion powder and black pepper) then fried them til they were soft in a big pan with a little canola oil.
    Then I layered them in a pan like this, sauce, zucchini and onions, mozzarella, then repeat until you have them all in the pan. Bake at 350 til bubbly. Serve over fettuccine or any type of pasta. We had this with homemade bread and it was delicious! My husband loved it and so did I. Plus there are left overs for his lunch for tomorrow and enough for me too.
    Love shredding zucchini and keeping in the freezer to use for breads in the winter. Found a good recipe on allrecipes it's called Blueberry Zucchini Bread. Going to try that tomorrow.

  17. Still giggling over your post. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all these wonderful ideas! I am making the zucchini "apple" pie tonight.

  18. I went hunting tonight through your recipes hoping for a zucchinispiration... that's when you become excited about the four zuchini that you found lurking in the bottom of the CSA bag after you thought that since the squash bugs had gone and killed the darn things weeks ago you wouldn't have to face them again until July. I didn't find any recipes, but I was reminded of how funny your posts can be. At least my CSA zucchini gained me some laughter! Thanks dear...

  19. I just found your blog and I am one jappy mamma right now, I love it! I would like to add something we do with our zucchini. We slice it lengthwise and use it for noodles in lasagna. Its wonderful that way, and gluten free. Also, while it doesn't have nutritional value like some others, we must never dismiss any growing veggie. There is always something nutritional about them. I have found that shredded zucchini works in nearly everything. For our family of 9 on a pastor's salary, we struggle to just keep our children fed. So I'm thankful God gave us this healthy filler... I even use it in scrambled eggs! (A word though, saute with a onions or mushrooms first, then add the eggs) Great post thank you!

  20. Just found your blog and am loving it. Thanks for your work and wit.

    We had a dear friend donate several VERY LARGE zucchini to us recently. I didn't want them to do to waste as we have some smaller ones coming on our plants now. So we canned them making zucchini pineapple. It is a fun and tasty recipe. It is especially yummy to those who say they don't like zucchini. Just whip up a sweet and sour stir fry meal tossing in the zucchini pineapple in place of pineapple and no one will no the difference. Your zucchini haters will have no idea they are eating a veg!

  21. I used to have an old (age old) zucchini cookbook. One of my favorite recipes was zucchini relish. So very good on hotdogs, brauts, etc. Better than pickle relish! I wish I could find that book again (I think my ex has it and he won't tell me). It had the best recipes ever! Had a log cabin type theme and the name had back woods or woods in it.

  22. Six months into trying, I discovered I wasn't ovulating. My doctor prescribed Clomid but I went six more months without ovulating, and then saw a fertility specialist. Several tests and pills later, still no ovulation. "It was so disheartening and frustrating, and although I tried not to blame myself, it was tough not to feel somewhat responsible that my body wouldn't cooperate,. Me and my husband, Marty, took turns being strong for each other. "I made the decision to let myself cry and to be angry and sad the day of and the day after getting one of my many negative pregnancy results. On the third day, I forced myself to once again start thinking positive and regain all the hope I could muster up. That very month, I decide to try any herbal medication and I reach out to priest Eka on ( whom I read his herbal medication effectiveness online:
    The Positive: Seventeen months into the process, I Jen ovulated. "It was Mother's Day morning when I got the blessed smiley face on my ovulation test. "I cried! I was so excited that for the very first time we at least had a chance to get pregnant." Later that month I saw something else I had been waiting for: a plus sign on the pregnancy test. Marty and I welcomed our daughter, Rya, to the family in January 2011. "Weird as it sounds, we are grateful for all the spiritual work and the herbal medication of priest Eka that put us in the side of parenthood of life.”It makes us appreciate even more what an amazing miracle it is to have her with us now."


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

Please choose the Anonymous option if you prefer not to sign in to comment.

Related Posts with Thumbnails