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, 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.
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.
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.
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?
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...
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
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!
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!
okay, so i tried the chocolate zucchini bread last night (made from scratch). I got the recipe from recipe zaar #220. I added choc chips because I had them in the house and glazed the top (still has veggies, still healthy right?). WOW! It turned out soooo well! I did peel the zucchini first but the recipe called for it. Thanks for letting us know we can freeze it, I am overloaded with zukes and I only have two plants!
Here is our favorite recipe for zucchini bread from our Pilsbury cookbook. It's more like a spice bread with a fruity taste.
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup oil
2/3 cup orange juice
2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp grated orange peel
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional-we skip it)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 Tbsp orange juice (we have also used lemon or orange flavoring and water)
Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour bottoms only of two 8x4 or 9x5 loaf pans. In large bowl, beat eggs until thick and lemon colored: gradually beat in sugar. Stir in oil, 2/3 cup orange juice and zucchini. Stir in remaining bread ingredients; mix well. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (In my oven, it takes one hour for two loaves). Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool slightly. In small bowl, blend glaze ingredients; spread over warm loaves. Cool completely on wire rack. Wrap tightly and store in refrigerator. Makes 2 (16 slice) loaves.
This recipe is really quick and easy. My 11 year old has already made several loves in the past couple of weeks and they disappear quickly! All of my kids love it!
The pasta and veggie salad is even easier. You can make that with whatever you have. Sometimes we just use the veggies and sometimes we add a one pound box of pasta (but there are 8 of us. LOL). With the pasta, it makes a bowl big enough for parties and picnics. ;)
There is no such thing a too much zucchini and no such thing as a zucchini that is too big anymore. 5 years ago we started freezing it. We steam, puree and freeze large qty of zuke this way, usually in 1 gallon bags. I use this as soup stock all winter long, best soup you ever had.
I make a lot of different soups but the basic formula is
6 cups of frozen zuke
3 cups of frozen (or canned) whole tomato
2 cans soup beans
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp basil
1 hot chile pepper
cook 1 hour in pot over overnight on low crock pot.
I usually use this as the starting point, I use yellow squash instead of the zucchini. I vary the type of beans, add winter squash, or frozen beans. You can add tofu, wheat meat, chicken, beef or just as is, it is great with a sour dough bread.
This has been a weekly routine for us thoughout the winter.
We steam for about 5 min or less then puree, my wife calls it blanching the vegetable. We bag or use plastic containers in about 3 cup size. We have added garlic or other herbs but generally make it just plain. Makes those 'whoops' zucchinis look good.
I once tried freezing shredded raw zucchini and it turned to water and string when I thawed it. Decided it was easier to bake the zucchini cake (in loaf pans, it's much lighter than zucchini bread) and freeze that.
I find the larger zucchini to be more bitter tasting so I like to grate it, and brine it in salt overnight, rinse real good, and make soup out of it. I just tried a new receipe that used alot of hungarian paparika and heavy cream, it was wonderful. We also enjoy zuccchini patties. My fav is the real young ones, just raw with a ranch dip...mmmmmmm
Thanks, Lisa, for the ideas. I tasted some of the big ones and it wasn't bad, although not tough, it wasn't tender either. Since I have so many coming in, I just started cutting up the big ones for the chickens. I'll have to try a soup sometime.
Maybe some varieties are bitter, but none of mine have been. I have started growing Trombone Zucchini because it is a vining variety and I use trellis' a lot in my garden. It is sweet even up to 20" long!
I make one soup a week during the Winter so I like to have quite a bit in the freezer.
My daughter wanted to try the zucchini bread with yellow squash. I said sure. It's really good! It tastes like banana nut muffins (except we don't use nuts).
The kid is like the mad scientist in the kitchen, nothing gross, she just makes her own substitutes. LOL We didn't have any orange juice so she has substituted lemonade and also fruit punch Kool Aid in some of the recipes. It's still really good and moist too!
Yesterday she made the yellow squash bread with cream cheese icing and boy was it good!! I'm getting a little tired of running for flour and powdered sugar but I have not had to buy any junk or snack food either. Having a family of 8, nothing good lasts long here!
NO MEAT ZUCCHINI CHILI --(LOW IN FAT/CALORIES) Yummy, even to my fussy meat-and-potatoes husband...
1 T olive oil
4 cups squash, diced 1/2 " (zucchini and/or yellow -- If large, remove centers)
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 sections garlic,minced
12-16 oz can red/black beans, drained (mix 1/2 and 1/2 for color)
4 T chili powder
2 t Italian seasoning
2 t sweet basil
1 t allspice (SECRET INGREDIENT)
2 t salt
Optional: 2 t sugar (or diet sweetener of your choice)
(T = Tablespoon, t = teaspoon)
I think you can use your "too big" zucchini in this recipe. Just scoop out middles. If skins are thick and hard, use peeler on some, but not all...gives it a little "bite" texture.
Saute vegies and garlic (sometimes I add grated carrot, sliced green beans, corn kernals).
Add spices/herbs. Stir until well mixed.
Add chili beans
Add tomatoes or spaghetti sauce (about 2 cups)
Sweeten with a little brown sugar (1 Tablespoon)
Simmer until consistency is like chili and not soup. You can eat it as is,
Or, put in casserole dish, top with bread crumbs and cheese, and put under broiler until cheese is bubbly and slightly brown. Great with corn bread/ corn on cob, green salad.
Another option is to serve chili over or in pasta/rice, adding a little more sauce/liquid.
You can always add turkey burger or ground beef if you want meat.
ZUCCHINI IS VERY LOW IN CALORIES...I began eating the BASIC recipe every day (AND ENJOYING EVERY BITE) and have been losing weight! Three cheers for the prolific zucchini!
Hi from Portland, We use the zucchini the bigger the better, we shred them and then we freeze them in containers for the winter. We love zucchini bread we just take a few containers out and let them thaw out and the use them.
Hi 1745 in Portland. I did that last year, and so far, I keep forgetting to use the tubs of shredded zucchini. But, when I do remember, can I ask whether you let them drain first, or not? When I freeze peaches and use them later in a recipe, I have to drain some of the liquid or it comes out too wet, so I wondered if that would happen with zucchini bread.
I read through most of the postings, but I didn't see any recommendations for grilled zucchini! Cut the zuchinni lengthwise and throw it in a ziploc bag with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic powder. You can marinate it for a few hours, or just 30 minutes or so. Put in over a medium grill, turn after a few minutes; it is delicious!