After being away from my garden for a week, I came back to find my zucchini plants loaded with overgrown zucchini. Zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables, if it is possible to narrow it down. It is so mellow, versatile, and plentiful. I’m loving the zucchini season.Growing up, my dad loved telling a joke about tourists that came to visit their friend in Idaho one summer. The Idaho host takes the visitors to Yellowstone Park and they stop and visit Old Faithful. The visitors are about to lock the doors to the car, but the host tells them not to bother, they don’t need to lock the car. Another day, they go boating on the Snake River, and once again the host tells them that they don’t need to lock the car. On the last day of their visit, a Sunday, and they go to church. However, this time the host tells the visitors to make sure they lock the car. Confused, the visitors ask why they need to lock the doors at church when it was fine to leave them unlocked at the other locations. The Idaho host responds that thievery isn’t the problem. If they leave the car unlocked, they will come back to find it full of overgrown zucchini. (ps, I am not suggesting that you leave your car unlocked–it was just a joke).
If you let an overgrown zucchini sit on your counter for too long, the rind will start turning hard. This is okay, you can just peel it, but I prefer to grate and freeze my extra zucchini right away for baking in the winter.
I freeze in increments 3 cups for Zucchini Chocolate Cake (the best chocolate cake ever), 4 cups for a double batch of zucchini bread, and bags of diced zucchini for soups and casseroles. After it is frozen, the zucchini won’t hold its shape in soups or casseroles, but it is still delicious and healthy.
The mellow flavor of the zucchini makes it a great addition to so many dishes. I add chopped or grated zucchini to my sloppy-joe meat sauce, my One Skillet Sausage Dinner, and spaghetti sauce. Fresh zucchini can be grated up and served with hot spaghetti sauce in addition or as a replacement for spaghetti noodles. During the summer, we eat sautéed zucchini several times a week. I dice up zucchini and saute them in my cast-iron fry pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. For a change of taste I will add garlic or fresh basil or both. Saute them in the morning and add eggs. The list goes on and on.
So, in case you ever visit my neighborhood and forget to lock you car, then come back to find it full of zucchini–Don’t fret; enjoy some zucchini.