Zucchini: how big is too big?

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

My zucchini is growing like crazy! I picked 2 tonite that were huge and don't know if they are worth using. Both are just a little smaller around than a 2-liter bottle and about 18' long. They look perfect, other than the size. No cracks or off color. What do you think?

Robin

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5a)

Robin, I've only grown zucchini once (four years ago, and I still have some in my freezer!), so I'm no expert. But this page has some good advice on the harvesting of long, skinny summer squash that might be helpful.

http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/veggies/ssquash1.html#5

You can certainly experiment with it too; the nice part about zucchini is there's always more! :)

Good luck!

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Thanks, that's a great link. According to it, my zucchini is too big to use. I've only been checking the garden every other day this week and it's amazing how fast zucchini & squash grow! Guess I better start making daily checks.

Yes...always more!

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

As long as the skin is tender enough to cut wutha fingernail, they are usable. Most folks use the oversized ones in things like zucchini bread.

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

I always scoop the seeds out of the huge ones before I use them, and generally I grate them for things like zucchini bread, like Farmerdill said. Also, for that use, I do generally peel them with a carrot peeler first - doesn't take long, but I don't like the look of green bits in the loaf.

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

You can also scoop the seeds out, stuff them and bake them.

Springfield, OH(Zone 5b)

Of you are going ot cook them, being large isn't an issue. You can cut it up. add some onion and tomatoes and sautee until soft.. maybe a little rice vinegar and serve with grated parmesian

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Thanks! I hated the idea of throwing them in the compost.

The skins are tender Farmerdill.

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5a)

See, Robin? The experts know best! ;) I'm always glad when they chime in--I learn new stuff too!

This message was edited Jul 12, 2007 9:45 AM

Lees Summit, MO

what great info, I always wondered why when given zukes by a friend, they were bitter. Now I know they were too big! I have taken three out of my garden this year that were slightly larger than the link indicate but were still great to eat. I know that I will have and over abundance of zukes, anybody got a good bread recipe?

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

I know...I love this forum!

recipezaar has several bread and cake recipes. I read somewhere a long time ago, that you can sub zucchini slices for apple slices in a pie and can't tell the difference.

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Recipezaar has one with pineapple that was really good, and I'm going to try the one with pineapple and coconut, and the chocolate cake one is good, too. I think there are something like 2613 zucchini recipes. I've barely scratched the surface. So many zucchini, so little time.....

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5a)

So many calories.... yummy!

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

The chocolate cake sounds really good!

Zucchini breads and cakes sounded odd to me at first...putting vegetables in baked goods. But I forget that carrot cake has CARROTS! Dare I ask...if there are other vegetables used in baked goods?

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5a)

Pumpkin bread/muffins are very very tasty! It also seems like many of the same veggies for breads end up in cookie form as well. And hey, they have veggies in them, so they're healthy, right? :)

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Of course! :)

Warren, PA(Zone 5a)

Hey, T-Jill, you are on to something. In fact, cocoa comes from a pod or a bean, right? And beans are vegetables. So doesn't that make chocolate a vegetable? :)

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Hallelujah!

Warren, PA(Zone 5a)

Msrobin, LOL! As to your original question, I know some people really swear by the "cigar size" zuchinni, which I used to think were too small but I think they are very tender and succulent at that stage and when you are getting a lot of them at once you have the best of all worlds: you can use up several smaller zukes for a nice saute or steaming for dinner and enjoy them at what some consider an ideal stage. But I also endorse all the good advice you've received above about using those "big ones that got away" for great purposes. Enjoy!

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

I haven't tried using any of the small ones. It sure seems like they go from tiny to large in a couple of days! They are usually about 10"-12" when I pick them. I have only floured and fried zucchini slices. But have now printed a bunch of zucchini recipes off recipezaar that sound good. Just haven't tried them yet.

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5a)

BDale, you are my new hero!

Msrobin, I also do a salad with young zucchini, tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, a little olive oil, some salt & pepper. Maybe some basalmic viniager, depending. Quantities vary widely depending on my mood and what I've got, but it's awfully yummy. My basic philosophy is to avoid as much cooking as possible in the summer, so I'm all over cold salads. Baked goods are, of course, an exception.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Sure glad to hear I'm not the only one with a sweet tooth!

Jill, I'll have to try that salad. Sounds good! I'm trying a different squash recipe every night. Haven't done any baked goods, yet, though.

Sedalia, MO

I have let a few of mine get big they have a way of hiding.LOL I just cut them up and use them you can cut around the seeds.

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

So I guess the answer is - when you can't carry them out of the garden by yourself - they are too big!

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5a)

Or, when they qualify as a deadly weapon. I drew the line at baseball bat-sized, myself. Don't have a knife and cutting board big enough to disembowel safely. :)

Springfield, OH(Zone 5b)

THen you take them to the fair and put them in the "biggest Zucchini" category

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Whew! Got "em in the nick of time! :)

I'll let you all know tomorrow whether they are edible or not.

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

I like to steam them when they are the size around of a man's thumb, cut 1/4 inch slices. A little butter and garlic, YUM!

When they are too big, paint faces on them and use them as decoration outside, the kids will love them. Just don't poke holes, then they rot. I've seen them sold at craft fairs and flea markets. I had one that lasted through Halloween. It shriveled a bit, made it spooky.

Doorstop comes to mind, too.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Sounds cute! But my kids are grown, we live in the country, so have no trick or treaters.

Lees Summit, MO

hey guys, next time you are grilling, slice a zuke or two and make a foil pack with butter and garlic pepper. YUMMY! They cook in about 10 minutes on the grill and don't tend to fall apart like on the stovetop in a pan.. The chocolate cake sounds a little wierd, but hey its chocolate, can't be bad!

Springfield, OH(Zone 5b)

Oh you don't even need the foilpack..just make long slices and brush with a little olive oil or basalmic vinegar.. yummmmmmm

Sumner, IA(Zone 4b)

I was just out checking my zucchini. I've never planted it before and by the amount of buds on the plants, I'm going to have a ton. I thought one was large enough to pick tonight, but the top of the zucchini wasn't filled out like the rest of it, does it have to be?

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Karen, fair warning....you better get your recipes together quickly! Be sure to check your plant daily! :)

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Okay, the verdict is in....12" is probably max, we like it floured and fried and the larger slices fry well enough. 14" is iffy, as the seeds start separating in the middle. 18' is a no go, the flavor was fine, but the seeds had really separated in the middle. I had envisioned substituting it for eggplant in eggplant parmesan. Thought about grating the seed part of it, but decided to see if the chickens like it as well as the last ones did.

I am going to pick a small one to try.

Lees Summit, MO

okay, so call me dense. I have looked at several recipes for zuc. cakes and they all call for grated zukes. Please tell me, do they have to be peeled first?

Sedalia, MO

I never peel them. just shred them up.

Hillsboro, OH(Zone 6a)

Our favorite recipe says to leave the skin on. It gives the bread some color too! We like to make a lemon or orange glaze with powered sugar and it serves as cake or breakfast! Even my kids love it!

Another way we love it, is sliced about one inch thick and grilled with Italian dressing. We don't like it mush so only heat until it's warm or has nice grill marks.

Still have too much? Cube zuchini and or squash, tomatoes, onions, peppers and cucumbers and toss with Italian dressing and your favorite pasta. Throw some chicken or steak on top and you have a complete meal!

I think when they get too large, they get a bit spongy so we feed them to the chickens and rabbits. Everyone is happy!

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

I need to pick up a shredder. Haven't tried a cake or bread, yet. I wonder...would shredded zucchini freeze okay?

Badseed, those both sound really good! And so easy! I've been looking for a variety of ways to fix both zucchini and squash.

The chickens went wild when I threw some slices in their pen!

Warren, PA(Zone 5a)

Msrobin, to me that sounds ideal. Use whatever you want or need for your family, including freezing some and giving some away, but the chickens will gladly take the ones you can't use (and repay you with eggs and compost material). The "circle of life" in your own backyard!

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

< The "circle of life" in your own backyard! >

That's what's all about, isn't it?

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