Startled, I stumbled back a few steps in the garden, thinking it could not be true. But yes, readers, the zucchini is now ready to harvest, growing rapidly and silently. It used to strike fear in my heart, but now I have armed myself with some effective, easy ideas, and I am not going to be intimidated this year. If you have experienced zucchini-induced helplessness in the past and don’t know where to turn for help, this article is for you.
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There are mountains of resources out there with wonderful and creative ideas for using zucchini. I stumbled across an article listing 80 different ways to make use of this prolific product of the garden, so yes, there are plenty of ideas, but perhaps you do not have time to read through 80 different techniques or recipes. That is why I am here. I have read through all 80 of those ideas, and many more, an I have curated them down to my three favorite. Here they are, and depending upon your situation, you might find one to work better for you than others. Here is the best idea if you know you want to eat your zucchini sometime in the next few months.
I mentioned my Cuisinart Pro Custom 11 food processor in a previous post about frozen berries, and this is a technique to quickly and easily convert your zucchini int a manageable form to go into the freezer. Wash the outside of the zucchini, but do not worry about peeling it. slice off the stem and blossom ends, halve lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, then slice into spears that will fit down the chute of the food processor. With the grating disc attached, press each slice of zucchini down into the processor until the bowl is filled with shreds. Dump the shredded zucchini out into a colander lined with paper towels, cover with more paper towels and squeeze the liquid out of the zucchini.
When the zucchini has drained, put the shreds into a gallon-sized plastic freezer bag, then transfer the bag to the freezer. This shredded zucchini may be used in future zucchini breads, cakes, or cookies. Even better, you may use the shreds in casseroles, where they will be somewhat disguised from family members with an aversion to squash of any kind. It’s sneaky, but effective.
Sometimes, you may want to eat your zucchini right away, but you may have family members who practice zucchini-avoidance techniques. These family members may be on to your “sneaking in the shreds” strategy, so it might be best just to come clean and create a dish which obviously has zucchini in it, but it might be presented in such a way as to be appealing to even the most hardened zucchini-avoiders. This idea is best for when you would like to consume your zucchini right away and have everyone eat it without complaining:
Make Giant Toes
Yes, that is really what these are called. This recipe was published nearly 20 years ago in The Oregonian Food Day section, which no longer exists. Thank goodness I cut out this recipe and saved it.
2 medium zucchinis
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons seasoning salt
2 eggs, beaten
olive oil (enough to fill a frying pan 1/2 inch).
Cut zucchini crosswise in half, then slice each piece lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices. Mix seasoning salt with flour, then heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Dip the zucchini slices into the beaten eggs, then toss the zucchini in the flour mixture. Fry slices in hot oil until lightly browned, then drain on a paper towel. These are best served hot dipped in your favorite salad dressing or dipping sauce. This is the only way my whole family will eat zucchini with a smile.
Due to a busy schedule, there may be times when you do not even want to deal with your overabundance of zucchini. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone else handle it? This final idea is best for when you do not want to even look at another zucchini:
Take Your Zucchini to a Local Food Pantry
There is a food pantry in my town that takes fresh garden produce from local home gardeners. There may be one in your neighborhood as well. Each time I have taken something, it has been accepted with grateful thanks, even during zucchini season.
What Are Your Best Zucchini Solutions?
I am thankful for the produce from my garden. When there is an overabundance of something, I try to make good use of it. I hope this blog post has given you a few ideas without seeming overwhelming. How about you? Do you have a favorite quick and easy way to escape from giant zucchini overabundance? I’d sure appreciate it if you would take the time to share your idea.
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