Our local gardens are starting to burst with zucchini and you may be wondering what to do with all of it! Whether purchasing or picking zucchini — choose firm, slender zucchini with a bright green color and free of wrinkled skin and soft spots. For best quality, harvest zucchini when it is young and tender, about 6 to 8 inches long and about 2 inches in diameter. As zucchini gets longer and bigger around, it becomes tougher and develops more seeds. These larger zucchini can be used to make zucchini bread; scoop out seeds and pulp with the tip of a spoon.
For best quality, use zucchini within about three to four days. Wash the squash just before preparation. Zucchini makes a quick addition to meals as it doesn’t have to be peeled! And before you try to give (or sneak!) your zucchini away, here are quick tricks for using zucchini:
The Produce for Better Health Foundation at www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org suggests:
- Slice, marinate (try balsamic vinegar) and grill a variety of vegetables including zucchini, asparagus, green onions, eggplant, and mushrooms. They’re delicious!
- Cut up veggies like carrots, zucchini and potatoes. Add them to your favorite meatloaf or soup recipes.
- Take your favorite lasagna recipe and try adding different combinations of your favorite vegetables between the layers: mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, carrots, zucchini, onions, or eggplant. Be creative.
Additional tips include:
- Add raw zucchini to lettuce and pasta salads.
- Cut zucchini into sticks and serve with a dip.
- Slice zucchini, saute in oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes until tender crisp; toss into heated pasta sauce for a veggie-packed pasta topping.
To freeze grated zucchini for baking, the National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends (http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/freeze/squash_summer.html):
Choose young tender zucchini. Wash and grate. Steam blanch (directions below) in small quantities 1 to 2 minutes until translucent or clear. Pack in measured amounts into containers, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Cool by placing the containers in cold water. Seal and freeze.
A great recipe to try…
Last but not least, a favorite recipe that I made last week from www.allrecipes.com
Chocolate Chip Orange Zucchini Bread
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and fluffy. Add sugar, and continue beating until well blended. Stir in oil, vanilla, zucchini, nuts, chocolate chips, and orange rind. Blend in sifted ingredients. Turn batter into two greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.
- Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 50 minutes, or until bread tests done. Remove loaves from pans, and cool. Chill before slicing.
Amount Per Serving Calories: 280 | Total Fat: 15.3g | Cholesterol: 26mg
Alice Henneman, University of Nebraska Extension, http://lancaster.unl.edu
National Center for Home Food Preservation, http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/freeze/squash_summer.html
Produce for Better Health Foundation at www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org
All Recipes, www.allrecipes.com
Author: Shari L. Gallup is a Family and Consumer Sciences Educator with The Ohio State University, Licking County. Readers may reach her at 771 E. Main Street, Newark, 43055 or visit the OSU Extension of Licking County web page at: licking.osu.edu.
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