Easy Tips for Using All That Extra Zucchini
A Few Seeds Produce a Lot of Zucchini
It all starts innocently enough. You are new to gardening and you learn that one of the easiest vegetables to grow is the zucchini. You get a pack of zucchini seeds and thinking that you'll only get a few squashes per plant, you decide to plant the whole package of seeds. You till the soil, add amendments and rake out the soil to make it smooth and ready to plant. You get out the seed packet and read the instructions on the back. The instructions are for planting the vegetables in rows, so that is what you, a beginning gardener, do. Everything gets its own row. There are just ten to fifteen little innocent seeds in the zucchini package and you, the beginning gardener, plant them all. You wonder if you'll have enough zucchini to supply the family's zucchini needs.
The garden including the zucchini comes up. You, the beginning gardener, proudly shows off the garden to everyone that comes. The gardener shows off how well the garden is doing. The weeds are well in hand and everything looks perfect.
The zucchini blooms, and at first, the beginning gardener is disappointed. Was something wrong? Why didn't those first blooms produce zucchini? What the gardener failed to realize was that those first little flowers were male flowers. A few days later more flowers appear and those flowers develop into tiny zucchini. The harvest has begun!
Those first little zucchini are savored by the gardener. They are perhaps added fresh to a salad or included in a stir fry. Nothing tastes better than those first fruits of the new gardener's labors.
A couple of days later the beginning gardener goes back out to the garden and discovers that there are even more zucchini, a lot more. The gardener harvests the bounty and places them on the counter. There is far more than enough for one meal or even for a week of salads. The gardener offers several to friends who don't garden. For now, at least, they are grateful, but within a couple of weeks, the friendships are threatened because the gardener has over-extended the zucchini gift quota.
Easy Creative Zucchini Recipes
- In addition to adding zucchini raw to a salad or cooking stir-fries, you can also slice zucchini, dip it in egg yolk and milk mixture, then roll it in flour to pan fry. Or my preference is to dip it into a beer batter and deep fry it. The salted or otherwise seasoned deep-fried zucchini is crispy like a potato chip and can be eaten cold as well as hot.
- Grate up zucchini and make zucchini bread, cake, muffins, or pancakes
- make zucchini brownies
- Slice zucchini lengthwise and use it to replace lasagna noodles in your lasagna.
- Grate up part of the zucchini to add to your homemade tomato sauce, just be sure that the zucchini is fully cooked in the sauce before serving.
- Add zucchini to your homemade vegetable soup
- Replace macaroni in your favorite macaroni and cheese casserole to make a zucchini and cheese casserole.
- Overly large Zucchini can be stuffed like stuffed peppers. Just remove the seeds in the center of the zucchini and stuff them with your favorite stuffed pepper stuffing.
- Shred zucchini into strings and use in place of spaghetti noodles. Zoodles anyone?
RIDDLE: What do you call a person who buys zucchini at the grocery store in July?
Answer: Someone without any friends with vegetable gardens.
How to Freeze Zucchini Later Use
Before the family gets totally sick of eating zucchini fresh, I begin the process of saving zucchini for those months when zucchini will no longer be growing. One of the processes I use for processing zucchini for the winter is by freezing it.
- For baked bread, muffins, and cakes, I will grate up zucchini and put them into freezer bags with just enough zucchini for one batch of bread or whatever baked good I am making. I then make sure that I mark each package of zucchini with what I intended it to be used for when I put it in the freezer. Whenever I have extra eggs, I will also crack just enough eggs into the baggy as well, so that I have the eggs and the zucchini when I need them to make the baked good. In the winter, I thaw it in the refrigerator when I intend to use it. When thawed, I mix it including whatever water is in the bag into the other ingredients. Don't overdo the bags of grated zucchini though. Begin with a dozen bags the first year. If you discover that wasn't enough for you or your family, bag more zucchini, or less if your family doesn't eat as much.
- For coined or sliced zucchini for freezing, place cuts of zucchini (no blanching needed) onto cookie sheets to freeze, then place frozen vegetables into bags. If you want, you can put some of the frozen zucchini into bags and add blanched frozen carrots, broccoli, etc. to use in stir-fries. Again, don't overdo the number of bags. Begin with no more than 12 bags in a season.
- Make a few prepackaged meals that contain zucchini to put into the freezer. Zucchini lasagna, stuffed zucchini, or zucchini and cheese casserole is good done like this, but do not store for more than a month.
How to Dry Zucchini to Use Later
If I have nothing else to dry I'll dry lots of zucchini, I will dry it in my food dryer. Dried zucchini will last for years. I slice and place in the food dryer and allow to dry until bone dry. (Time varies from dryer to dryer.) It then goes into a glass jar and I store it at room temperature in a dark dry location.
How to Can with Zucchini
- Use young, tender zucchini to replace cucumbers in some of your homemade pickle recipes. Begin with just a few jars. Make it in the same way as if you were using cucumbers.
- Remove the seeds and use zucchini to grind to make a variety of different relishes.
- Can mock pineapple or mock apples.
- Grind zucchini and add to tomato sauce that you intend to can. Must be processed in a pressure canner.
- Make zucchini marmalade
- Include zucchini in homemade vegetable or meat and vegetable soups (like Jeff's Canned Hamburger Soup in the links below). Must be processed in a pressure canner.
Harvest Zucchini Indefinitely By Keeping Those Zucchini Picked
Even if I don't want to eat zucchini that often, I keep those zucchini picked so that they will keep producing until frost kills them off. Extra zucchini can be fed to my chickens, pigs, or rabbits. Even if I don't have livestock, I'll throw them into my compost pile. Things grown naturally never really go to waste if kept in the natural cycle.
Enjoy as much as you want and share the rest with human friends or not-so-human friends. And next year, if you don't want so many zucchini, plant a lot less!
Recipes That Include Zucchini
- Jeff's Canned Hamburger Soup
You can make Jeff's Canned Hamburger Soup ahead of time to have on hand when you need a quick wholesome meal.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Cygnet Brown