Leave Some Zucchini on my Porch
No need to panic if your zucchini crop is more than you can handle! Try these tasty ideas to make use of your bumper crop.
Zucchini used to often be the butt of many jokes. However, stories of people leaving their overabundance of the summer squash on friends’ front porches seem to be going by the wayside as fewer people grow their own produce.
According to Wikipedia, zucchini is a fruit. It is the swollen ovary of the female zucchini flour. Typically, for the home cook, zucchini is treated as a vegetable and appears in savory dishes, in addition to the ever-loved zucchini bread.
Zucchini is fairly easy to grow and my pair of plants typically yields enough of the squash to keep my family in zucchini bread all summer long. The zucchini is best picked when it on the small side—less than a foot long.
Many cuisines of the world use zucchini in a variety of applications. Smaller zucchini is wonderful grilled, fried or eaten raw. Larger, more mature zucchini is best used in breads and other baked recipes. If the zucchini is very large with many seeds, it is best to scrape out the watery, seedy interior pulp before using.
If you do not have your own zucchini plants growing these versatile fruits, area produce stands, such as Orlando’s Anthony’s and Art’s have locally grown zucchini available. It is also making its appearance in Dierbergs and other area grocery stores.
Recently, one food trend popping up has been to take a raw zucchini treat it like stand-in for pasta. Using a vegetable peeler, slice the zucchini into ribbons. You can either use the ribbons or slice the ribbons to make thinner, noodle-like strips of the fruit.
Place the ribbons or strands of zucchini into a colander and sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt. Let the ribbons or strands stand for about 30 minutes. This process drains excess moisture from the zucchini strands. Rinse the zucchini well to remove any salt left on the surface and you are left with a softer, pliable “noodle.”
I tossed the raw zucchini “noodles” with a red pasta sauce and my tasters declared it good, but a bit al dente feeling. The second batch I made, I boiled the “noodles” for about two minutes and they came out perfect according to the tasters.
However, everybody’s favorite way to eat zucchini is baked into the traditional zucchini bread. I am not certain of the origin of the following zucchini bread recipe. Through the years, my grandmother and mother tweaked the recipe to the point where it is just called, “Carolyn’s Zucchini Bread.”
My mom soaks the raisins to plump them. She then drains the liquid before adding to the batter. This keeps the batter (and resulting bread) very moist. I have made the recipe omitting both the raisins and walnuts with very good results, also.
For portability, I have adapted their original recipe and turned it into a zucchini muffin recipe. You can still put the batter into loaf pans, but adjust the cooking time to about 65 minutes, depending on your oven.
Makes about 24 without raisins and walnuts
Makes about 36 with raisins and walnuts
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 ½ cups grated zucchini
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup vegetable oil or olive oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup golden raisins, soaked in 2 cups warm water then drained
- 1 cup toasted walnut pieces
For the glaze:
- 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
- 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
- Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tins with paper muffin cups.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, zucchini, vanilla extract and oil. In a second large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until just blended. Stir in raisins and nuts if using.
Spoon the batter into prepared muffin tins. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and a tester inserted into the muffins comes out clean.
Meanwhile, combine the orange juice concentrate and white sugar in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly until just boiling and the sugar has dissolved.
Brush the orange glaze on the muffins as soon as they come out of the oven.