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8 fresh ways to enjoy zucchini

When you have plenty of this prolific sumer squash, try a new recipe

September 7, 2018
By DIANE HAWKES - GRIT magazine , Farm News

By DIANE HAWKES

GRIT Magazine

In late summer, gardeners of every skill level swear they'll never plant another hill of zucchini, but by the time spring rolls around, the oft-maligned fruit winds up in the garden once again.

Article Photos

Fried slices of zucchini can be eaten as a side dish or can be frozen until needed for zucchini parmesan.

Gardeners love zucchini in the spring because it performs so cheerfully and is usually the first squash to make it to the table But midsummer bushels of the long, green or striped fruit leave gardeners wondering what to do with all the bounty. Read on for some fresh new ideas on how to eat up the excess.

Zucchini are best picked when 6 to 8 inches long, although they can grow to be 2 feet long. The bigger the zucchini gets, the tougher it is, and the more seeds the fruit will contain.

When purchasing, look for zucchini that have no bruises or broken skin. They can be stored in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for three to seven days before use. Do not keep zucchini too long or they get mushy.

One cup of raw zucchini contains only about 25 calories. As with all fresh vegetables, zucchini supplies many vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, Vitamin C and potassium, along with a healthy dose of fiber. Has anyone ever handed you a large zucchini? Did you wonder what in the world you were going to do with this 2-foot-long squash? Don't throw it away! Younger and smaller zucchini are more tender, but the older, tougher ones still have their uses. They are great for Stuffed Zucchini, for dipping and frying, or for making Zucchini Parmesan or Zucchini Bread. My mother recently made eight loaves of bread from one very large zucchini.

Note: Salt is optional but can be added to taste in all recipes.

Breaded and fried zucchini

Canola oil

1 zucchini, 8 to 18 inches

2 to 3 eggs

Milk

Italian bread crumbs

Pour 1/2 inch canola oil in 10- to 12-inch skillet and heat.

Wash zucchini and place on cutting board. Cut off ends and slice zucchini in even slices, 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick.

In soup bowl, crack eggs; whisk until frothy. Whisk in a little milk. Place bread crumbs in another soup bowl.

Line platter with paper towel and place platter on unlit burner behind skillet. As you fill platter with layers of zucchini, place another paper towel on top to absorb oil.

With fork, pick up a slice of zucchini and place in egg mixture, coating both sides, then place in bread crumbs. Carefully add zucchini slice to hot oil in skillet. Brown bottom side, then flip and brown other side. Repeat with remaining zucchini.

These fried slices of zucchini can be eaten as a side dish (or just nibbled while cooking), or they can be cooled, then placed on a cookie sheet and frozen, then placed in a container and left in the freezer until needed for zucchini parmesan.

The oil may have to be changed before all the zucchini slices have been fried because both the oil and the bread crumbs will start to burn. Put the oil in an empty coffee can or use paper towels to soak it up. Be careful, as the oil will be hot. Clean the pan and start again with fresh oil.

Stuffed zucchini

1 zucchini, 12 to 18 inches

1/2 to 1 pound ground beef or meatloaf mix (equal amounts beef, pork and veal)

1 can (14 to 16 ounces) corn, drained, or

1 box (16 ounces) frozen corn, thawed and drained, or leftovers (any amount) from corn on the cob

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, diced

1 tomato, chopped

3 to 4 eggs

1 box stuffing mix

Black pepper or crushed red pepper to taste

Grated or sliced mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-by-13-inch baking dish; set aside.

Wash zucchini and place on cutting board. Cut off each end and slice zucchini in half lengthwise. Use tablespoon or serving spoon to scoop out seeds and make a hollow in each half. Place, hollow side up, in prepared dish.

In large bowl, combine remaining ingredients, except cheese. Spoon into zucchini hollows. Add water around zucchini to 1-inch depth.

Cover dish with foil, and bake for 1 to 2 hours, or until zucchini is tender.

Remove foil, and top each zucchini hollow with cheese. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Breadless stuffed zucchini

1 zucchini, 12 to 18 inches

11/2 to 2 pounds ground beef or meatloaf mix (equal amounts beef, pork and veal)

1 can (14 to 16 ounces) corn, drained, or 1 box (16 ounces) frozen corn, thawed and drained, or leftovers (any amount) from corn on the cob

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, diced

1 tomato, chopped

4 eggs

1 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic

1 to 3 teaspoons basil

1 to 3 teaspoons parsley

1 to 3 teaspoons black or crushed red pepper

1 to 2 teaspoons horseradish, optional

Sea salt to taste

Grated or sliced mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-by-13-inch baking dish; set aside.

Wash zucchini and place on cutting board. Cut off each end and slice zucchini in half lengthwise. Use tablespoon or serving spoon to scoop out seeds and make a hollow in each half. Place in prepared dish, hollow side up.

In large bowl, combine remaining ingredients, except cheese. Place mixture in hollows in zucchini. Add water around zucchini to 1-inch depth.

Cover with foil, and bake for 1 to 2 hours, or until zucchini is tender.

Remove foil and top with cheese. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Note: All seasonings are optional, but some seasoning is needed for better flavor. The more seasoning added, the more flavor, of course.

Zucchini parmesan

While frying the breaded zucchini, have a package of Italian sausage links cooking in a pot of water. When they are cooked, slice them on a platter or plate.

If using frozen fried and breaded Zucchini, thaw while cooking sausage.

Spoon a little spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a covered casserole and spread it across the bottom of the dish. Place some Italian sausage in the sauce, then place a layer of fried zucchini. Beginning and ending with spaghetti sauce, repeat layers until all ingredients have been used.

This can take more than one casserole dish depending on the size and amount of zucchini being used.

Top with grated cheese, and bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling around the edges.

These casseroles can be made up and placed in the freezer until needed. A day or two before baking, move from freezer to refrigerator to thaw.

Zucchini and onions

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

2 to 3 onions, peeled and sliced

2 to 3 small zucchini, 6 to 8 inches

Sprinkle to 1 teaspoon optional seasonings: black or crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning, minced or powdered garlic

Sea salt to taste

Heat butter in skillet. Add onion, and cook until tender, or caramelized, whichever you prefer.

Meanwhile, wash zucchini and slice in 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick slices.

Just before the rest of your meal is ready, add zucchini to onion and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Season to taste.

Grilled zucchini

1 zucchini, 6 to 8 inches

Olive oil

Seasonings: black pepper, crushed red pepper, powdered garlic, Italian seasoning, basil, oregano

Sea salt to taste

Wash zucchini and cut in half lengthwise. Brush pulpy side with oil and sprinkle with seasonings of your choice.

Place pulpy side down on hot grill, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender. Do not overcook.

Grilled potatoes, onions and zucchini

1 to 2 potatoes, diced

1 to 2 onions, diced

Olive oil

Garlic powder to taste

Pepper to taste

Sea salt to taste

1 zucchini

Place potatoes and onions on large piece of foil. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with seasonings. Fold foil closed and cook on top rack of grill for 30 minutes.

Wash and slice zucchini. Add to potatoes and onions, and cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

This can also be made without the potatoes, using just zucchini and onions.

Zucchini bread

3 eggs

1 cup oil

11/2 cups sugar

2 cups grated zucchini, drained well

3 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups flour

1/4 cup baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

3 to 4 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped nuts

Dash sea salt

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans; set aside.

Beat eggs. Stir in oil, sugar, zucchini and vanilla.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, raisins, nuts and salt; stir into zucchini mixture.

Divide batter evenly between pans, and bake for about 1 hour.

 
 

 

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