For my regular readers, this is a lifestyle blog about zucchini by my wife, Nancy. My editor and best friend!
More Than Just A Squash!
Zucchini is the best squash you will get from your garden. That may sound a little opinionated, but I truly believe that is exactly how it is. Other squashes are delish, but this is the best.
Okay, opinions aside, here’s what can often happen when you grow zucchini: Green & Lean Overload!
When zucchini gets going, it can really get going! Especially if you have several plants. So we end up with a myriad of options for them.
The first is the heirloom mentality. Harvesting your own seeds for next year. Select a few squashes that are on the plant still and allow them to grow to a great size. They should be no more than 24 inches in length and 4-5 inches at the thickest. Cut them lengthwise into halves. The inside should be in the process of separating. Scrape the insides out and pull the seeds loose.
Wash them in a colander, getting as much “meat” off of them as possible. Let them dry for roughly a week in the open air. Move them about frequently to keep them drying. Use a paper towel or kitchen towel to keep them on. Once they are fully dry, store them in an airtight container. Make absolutely certain they are fully dry first.
In The Raw
For the zucchini lover, eating them raw is very common. The next thing they can be used for is in different places un-cooked. You can use them with or without the skin. If they are large, the skin can be pretty tough. Zucchini, like a number of other squashes, can be harvested at several different stages in growth and remain edible and palatable.
When pulling them for general use, you should get them at a smaller stage. No more than about 8-9 inches in length. The skin will be much softer at this stage as well. Chop them large for valuable snacks. They are great alongside celery, cucumbers, and other varieties on a party tray with dip. Or chop them finely to put in salads and other mixes.
These green beauties also work as part of the main course. Cut them long-wise and then slice those portions in half and season them with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder on one side. Then, begin to fry them in an open pan with a thin layer of olive oil or real butter. Start the fry with the seasoned side down. There is no need to add more seasoning unless your cuts are quite thick.
If you are looking for a crispy effect, start the fry with high heat to get that caramelized results. If you want them to remain crunchy, be careful not to cook them very long. Watch for that caramelization and flip them over. Cook them just enough to know they are heated through and through (remember they do not require cooking to be edible). Doing this will get you a crunchy result. You can prepare them this way or all the way to a burnt outcome. It really depends upon your own taste. They will continue to soften to the point of “mush” if you continue to cook.
Finally, zucchini works its magic in the dessert category as well. Zucchini bread has a million different recipes and is a beloved treat worldwide. It can be served in many fashions. One of my favorites is to butter both sides of a slice and fry it on a hot griddle until the sides are just reaching that crunchy state. You can even add a small dollop of vanilla ice cream on top while it’s still hot. A fantastic feast of flavor. Here is my Zucchini Bread recipe:
2 Cups of Grated Zucchini ¼ Cup + 1 Tbsp. Buttermilk
1 ½ Cup Sugar 1 Tsp. Soda
½ Cup Veg. Oil ½ Tsp. Salt
2 Eggs 1 ¾ Cup Flour
1 Tsp. Vanilla 1 Cup Walnuts, Chopped
If the zucchini is freshly grated, proceed as above. If it has been frozen or kept a while, make sure it is well-drained. In a medium bowl, mix the zucchini, sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the buttermilk. In a small bowl, mix the soda, salt, and flour together; add to the zucchini mixture. Stir in nuts. Pour this into a greased 9×13 inch pan. Bake at 350* for 45 to 60 minutes. You can use a loaf pan for this, but it tends to take longer and often fails to finish baking in the middle.
This is my mother’s recipe and works every time. Feel free to substitute here and there. Just not the zucchini! ENJOY!