I go on vacation for a week, then got busy and forgot to check the status of the vegetable garden. Not a good idea this time of the year. I have HUGE zucchinis and summer squash. They are the size of kiddie baseball bats and each weigh about 4 lbs. This is not good!
When squash get this big, they get tough and develop very big seeds. I’ve tried to cook them before and they just don’t work well for summer recipes. Especially the summer squash. Letting them get this big also saps the plant from any desire to make new squash since it’s real purpose is to produce seeds. And those big ones are just full of them, making the plant content to just continue make them even bigger.
So what to do?????
After some exploring on the web, I decided all was not lost. Looks like my best bets are zucchini bread and freezing for soups and winter dishes. So, my kitchen has been a flurry of baking and cutting trying to use these monsters up. I’ve never made zucchini bread, so again explored the web and came up with what I hoped was two delicious sounding recipes from Fine Cooking and Real Simple. First, I made Chocolate-Nut Zucchini bread from Fine Cooking with a couple of changes. First, I decided that 3/4 lbs of zucchini was about 3 cups shredded, I used whole chocolate chips instead of the bittersweet chocolate and vanilla yogurt instead of plain because that’s what I had on hand, and I then I just simply forgot to put the nuts in.
Because of the very big seeds and pithy center, I cut the zucchini in half and scooped out the center with a spoon before I grated it. The skin didn’t seem too tough, so I left that on. If you can’t scratch it with your fingernail, it was suggested that it should be peeled then.
This recipe got thumbs up from the family, so I will be making another loaf (or 2) for freezing.
Next, I made Zucchini Spice Bread from Real Simple. I like the method of getting some of the water wrung out of the grated zucchini from the previous days’ recipe so I did that again here. Briefly, put the grated zucchini into a colander, sprinkle with 1-2 Tbsp sugar to draw out some of the liquid, let sit for 15-20 minutes. Then hand squeeze the water out before putting into the bread batter. The only change I made to this recipe was that I added 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts.
Again, thumbs up! Two good recipes. If you have another you like, I have plenty more zucchini to make into bread.
Lastly, I cut up another zucchini for freezing.
- I again scooped out the pithy, seedy center, then it cut into about 1 inch chunks.
- I then blanched them in boiling water for about 3-4 minutes, followed by plunging them into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. I just want to blanche the chunks, not cook.
- Then drained in a colander for a few minutes and packed them in 2 cup portions in freezer bags.
Ready for use this winter in some kind of soup or stews. Does anyone have any favorites? Hopefully now I will be able to pick some nice tender ones to use in my favorite summer side dish and salad recipes.
By the way, I did toss the one giant summer squash. It was just not salvageable. That’s where a composter would come in handy.