Where I live mid-summer is about time to start locking car doors. Not that anything will be stolen from the vehicle, but more to prevent people from leaving behind zucchini. August is the height of zucchini season. Granted, zucchini starts coming on for a month or so prior, but by August the plants are producing fruits with an enormous amount of passion. It leaves all the home gardeners with the question “What to do with all this zucchini?” In answer, I have two garden friendly zucchini recipes to share today.
Personally, I love zucchini. I believe that God made zucchini to make it easier to feed large families. Peeled and cored, zucchini will take on almost any flavor that it is cooked with. Sliced up and sautéed, zucchini makes a good side vegetable dish too. And, zucchini is a fantastic vegetable full of a lot of good vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc. For more nutritional information about zucchini, click here.
So, what’s not to love about zucchini? Why are people giving it away, anonymously, in church parking lots, to anyone who forgot to lock their doors?
Sometimes, eating the same delicious, nutritious vegetable every meal for a month starts to make that vegetable not quite so delicious. The old saying that “familiarity breeds contempt” comes into play here a little. My kids have even started to ask “What part of this is zucchini?” at our mealtimes. I have used zucchini to make apple topping for waffles, apple pie, chocolate cake, garden bread, and tomato soup.
In every one of those recipes, zucchini was a major ingredient. As I said earlier, it takes the flavor of the other food it’s cooked with, which allows a little of the other food to go a long way. Some of the ways I’ve used the abundance of zucchini now blessing my garden are fairly well known, e.g. zucchini coco cake and zucchini bread. However, this summer, with the help of my extremely talented husband, we’ve developed and refined two zucchini recipes that fool people into think there’s no zucchini in them. I have to admit, it’s almost become a game for me. Where can I put zucchini that my family won’t notice it in this meal?
The first of these recipes is a sweet bread similar to a banana bread or pumpkin bread – except that it’s made from pumpkin puree, shredded zucchini, and shredded carrots. And every time I’ve made it, the batch didn’t make it to the next morning. My kids like it as an afternoon snack. I like it because it is full of vegetables, and it tastes good. I’ve named it Garden Bread, because it’s made from the vegetables common in the garden.
The second of these recipes is a homemade, from fresh vegetables, tomato soup. My fifth grader loves tomato soup. For her day choosing meals, she wanted tomato soup and cheese sandwiches. I needed something to use up some of the vegetables living in my fridge. She mostly prefers Campbell’s, but we worked together to create this Fresh Tomato Soup. She declared it as tasty as Campbell’s – which for her is an amazingly high compliment. This soup uses a lot of the produce in season during the summer, and makes a rich, thick soup that fills tummies with garden fresh goodness.
Now, in the event that my zucchini cooking doesn’t use up all that the plants produce (after some drive by zucchini giveaways, too), then I’ll peel, core, shred, blanch, and then freeze the zucchini in 2 cup packages. Almost every recipe I’ve ever seen or used calls for the exact same amount of zucchini – 2 cups. Freezing it in that quantity makes using it that much easier. And this way, when I want to make zucchini bread in January, I have my zucchini safely stored, and measured, ready for use.
Zucchini is an amazing vegetable that can help food budgets stretch while giving families good nutritional content. My family loves the Garden Bread and the Fresh Tomato Soup. I have requests to make both again soon. I hope your family enjoys them too.
What is your favorite way to use zucchini? If you have a recipe you’d like to share, please do so in the comments below.