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Too Much Zucchini!

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Last year, I planted four plants, and had enough zucchini to provide my neighborhood, coworkers and friends with more zucchini than they ever really wanted.  This year, I planted only three, and it is still happening!  A perfect mix of rain every few days and beautiful sunshine have made this summer the year of zucchini.

What can we do with this beautiful green fruit of the vine?  How do we not let it go to waste?  Can we bottle it up so that in the long months of winter we can enjoy zucchini?

zucchini spaghetti

 

Zucchini and Spaghetti

Shred up some zucchini and place it raw on top of spaghetti sauce.

Or, while boiling the spaghetti, place slices in a microwavable bowl with two tablespoons of water.  Cook them until tender, and then add to the spaghetti.

Zucchini Salad

Slice it, dice it, shred it or even run it through a zoodle maker; zucchini is wonderful on a fresh salad!

Zucchini Boats

  • 2 medium sized zucchinis
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1-pound ground beef
  • 1 small diced onion (optional)
  • 1 small can of fresh mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 green pepper (optional)
  • ½ jar spaghetti sauce
  • Cheese of choice to top or sprinkle

Cut off each of the ends of the zucchini, and cut it in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds.  Rub cooking oil on the outside green skin.  In a frying pan, brown ground beef and add onions, mushrooms, peppers, etc.  Drain the beef mixture and add enough spaghetti sauce to make it the consistency of sloppy joe.  Spoon the mixture into the zucchini.  Top with cheese.  Place them on a baking sheet and place them in a 350-degree oven for half an hour or until a fork pierces them easily.  Top off with cheese.

Freezing Zucchini, shredded no blanch

Cut off each of the ends of the zucchini and cut it in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds.  Grate it with a cheese grater.  Place an amount of zucchini in a freezer bag that matches the amount needed for your favorite recipes (one cup or two cups), and label the bags.  When you want to use it, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, then drain it well by pressing it in a colander before adding it to a skillet recipe.  If you are adding it to soup, no thawing is necessary.

Freezing Zucchini slices

In order to preserve the zucchini best, blanching is required.  Boil a large pot of water.  Place cleaned and ½ inch sliced zucchini in the pot, and cook for one minute.  Remove the slices and immediately place them in a bowl of ice and water.  Once they are cool to the touch, dry them with a towel.  Place them on a baking sheet in a single layer, and freeze them until they are solid.  Place them in a zippered plastic freezer bag.  Keep for 3-4 months.

Zucchini Noodle Soup

  • 1 ½ pound boneless skinless chicken breasts roughly cut up
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 diced carrot
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3-4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2-3 cups zucchini noodles

Add the chicken, onion, carrot, celery, chicken broth, salt, poultry seasoning and pepper to a stock pot.  Cook mixture until it begins to boil.  Reduce heat to slow boil and cook for about 30 minutes, or until chicken is tender and shreds easily with a fork.  Add the zucchini noodles and cook for about five minutes longer or until they are at a desired softness.

Zucchini Burgers

Add a healthy twist to your burger by finely grating a bit (a tablespoon or so per burger) of zucchini.  Squeeze out the excess moisture.  Add onion and garlic and other seasonings as desired.  Cook burger as usual.

Zucchini Chips in the Air Fryer

  • 2 medium sized zucchinis
  • 1 can Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup milk
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Slice zucchini ¼ inch thick.  Beat the two eggs and add the milk in a small bowl.  Place zucchini slices into the bowl.  Using a fork, remove a slice and allow the excess to drip off.  Place it into the breadcrumbs on a plate.  Using a fork, press the slice into the breadcrumbs.  Place slices in a single layer on air fryer tray.  Spray with non-stick spray right before cooking at 400 degrees.  Bake 8-10 minutes and remove when golden.  As a special treat, dip the slices in your favorite marinara or pesto sauce!

Zucchini Nibblers

  • 1 ½ cup shredded zucchini, drained
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil or ¼ teaspoon dried
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Place parchment paper on a baking sheet (not waxed paper).  After draining the zucchini by squeezing out all the excess moisture you can, place it and all other ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Scoop heaping tablespoons onto the baking sheet, cookie style.  Bake until browned on the edges, 15-20 minutes.

Find it at the Library

Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Entertaining. Hensperger, Beth. Boston: Harvard Common Press.  2007.

The Soup Book. Grigson, Sophie. NY: DK Penguin Random House. 2019.

The Family-Friendly Keto Instant Pot Cookbook. Hunley, Anna. Beverly, MA: Quarto. 2019.