A Roundup of the Very Best Recipes and Ways to Use up your Garden Zucchini
Zucchini. Love it or hate it, it’s a ubiquitous part of summer. If you grow even one zucchini plant, there’s a good chance you’re going to have enough zucchini that you may wonder what in the world you’re going to do with it all!
The good news is, there are plenty of easy, delicious ways to preserve and use your excess zucchini. Let’s get started.
This is the third post in my Abundant Harvest series. Over the next few months, I’ll be posting about various crops and how you can harvest and use them from your garden. If you’d like to read the first post on using garlic scapes to make the Japanese pancakes called okonomiyaki, you can find that here. The second installment on growing, harvesting and using Egyptian walking onions can be found here. Some of these posts will have bonus content you can access by signing up for my Resource Library. I’ve also got a private Facebook group for readers I’d love for you to join. You can find that here.
A Quick Note on Zucchini Growing and Harvest
You may have already read my post on Growing Organic Cucurbits (that would be cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, etc.) that explains planting, growing and harvesting your crop.
I just wanted quickly talk about varieties. I’ve found that the heirloom varieties don’t seem to produce quite as overwhelmingly as the hybrid ones do.
So, if you’re looking for a more manageable harvest, give Cocozelle zucchini a try. I have several of them and harvest a zucchini or two every second to third day. That’s just about perfect for our family of four.
I also tried a round zucchini variety this year, but I have to admit, they’re not doing well. They’re right next to the Cocozelle, which are massive, and they’re just not growing. I’m not sure why, other than maybe they’re being shaded out by the huge Cocozelle leaves.
I did just move them into a pot with brand new soil to see if I can turn things around. I’ll keep you posted!
Don’t forget, when harvesting, unless you want a whole zucchini to stuff, bigger is NOT better! Younger, smaller zucchini are tastier, more tender and have significantly smaller seeds.
The other consideration is that if you allow your zucchini to get very large on the plant, that plant is going to put so much energy into a single zucchini that you’re going to get a lot less zucchini overall than if you pick when they’re smaller.
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Best, Easiest Ways to Use & Harvest your Bounty
The very easiest (and I think best!) way to use your zucchini is to eat it raw.
I never would have thought to eat zucchini raw until I was in a Ruby Tuesday restaurant several years ago and they had zucchini cut into “straws” on their salad bar. Yum! They’re a great substitute for cucumbers in your salads if your digestive system doesn’t tolerate cucumbers, and they’re a super crunchy snack instead of potato chips. You don’t even need to peel them before eating. How easy is that?
If you’d rather cook them, have you tried zucchini noodles? Yes, you can sub them for spaghetti, but my absolute favorite thing to do is to spiralize them and saute them in a pan with some olive oil, either fresh garlic or garlic salt to taste and regular salt and pepper to taste.
Just saute over medium to medium high heat until browned. You can even add some parmesan cheese towards the end for a nice extra punch of flavor. If you’ve got summer squash to use up, spiralize that and mix it with the zucchini for a colorful and yummy side dish.
Need a spiralizer? Here’s a hand one to try. Feeling lazy? Here’s an electric one for you. You typically don’t have to peel zucchini before spiralizing either.
Freezing your Zucchini
I have to admit I haven’t had much luck with freezing zucchini to use later for sauteing or cooking. It gets too soggy. If you’ve had luck with it, PLEASE share your secret!
BUT, I’ve found that freezing it for zucchini bread works wonderfully!
The best way to freeze it is to shred and freeze in bags. Again, I don’t bother peeling first.
I do check the recipe I’m going to use (you can find some of those below) and freeze in the proper portion size for that recipe. I’d suggest adding just a bit more than the recipe calls for as it will crush down a bit after freezing (plus, you’ll need to squish it a bit to get the extra liquid out when it thaws).
So, if your recipe calls for 2 cups, maybe freeze it in 2 1/4 cup portions. Label the bag with the portion size and you’re good to go!
Planning to try more than one recipe? Freeze each portion size in a different bag for easy use later. Just don’t forget to label your bags!
I was curious about whether or not zucchini can be canned (wow, that was an awkward sentence!). According to this article from Michigan State University, there are serious safety questions regarding canning zucchini. They recommend freezing, although do include a recipe for zucchini pineapple on the site that you may safely can.
I’m not entirely clear what you would do with zucchini pineapple, but…..
Zucchini Recipe Roundup
Zucchini bread is, of course, one of the most popular ways to use zucchini. But have you ever tried to make it in your crock pot?
It was REALLY hot last summer but I REALLY wanted zucchini bread. Then I found this crock pot zucchini bread recipe. YAY!
The bread does come out a little denser than when you bake it in the oven, but it still tastes wonderful, and as a bonus, your kitchen won’t feel like the seventh circle of hades when you’re done.
I’ve had to go gluten-free due to some health issues, so I’ve been looking for a gluten-free crock pot zucchini bread this year. I did find this one, but unfortunately, I won’t be able to use it as it contains almond flour (which I can’t tolerate). I’ll keep looking and update when I find one….maybe I’ll come up with my own recipe.
Never mind, I won’t have to make up my own recipe. Look what I just found! 75 different gluten-free zucchini bread, muffin, cake, etc., recipes! Just go on over here. Oh my! Chocolate chip zucchini bread, zucchini spice bread, chocolate zucchini muffins….you get the idea. *drool*
Here’s a collection of 17 different dessert recipes using zucchini from Taste of Home. Seriously, check it out! My goodness, there are puddles on my keyboard!
How about these Morning Glory muffins with carrots, apples, zucchini, pecans, pineapple and coconut? Oh my stars, I’m dying! Now this is one I’m going to have to convert to GF. Seriously!
Or maybe you’re looking for something a bit more beach-y. Lime Coconut Zucchini Bread may be just the thing. And even if it isn’t, the song might be. Is it stuck in your head now? Hehe, you’re welcome!
This first one from Allrecipes.com is similar to what I mentioned when I’ve spiralized the zucchini and then sauteed it with olive oil, garlic and Parmesan. This one, however, uses larger pieces of zucchini and you can make it on the grill! Oooh, this looks so good!
How about this fresh Corn & Zucchini Saute? Sweet corn is just coming into season here right now. What could be better than 2 garden fresh veggies in one dish?
These Cheddar Zucchini Biscuits look A-MAZ-ING! I WILL be figuring out how to make these gluten-free. They look really easy too.
This recipe is soooo easy, but it looks amazing! Zucchini & Carrot Coleslaw will only take you a few minutes to make, but it would make a lovely addition to any picnic dinner or cookout.
I’ve made these Zucchini Parmesan Crisps before and they are delicious! Looking at the recipe now, though, it occurs to me that they might lend themselves to being made on the grill. I have an infrared grill, which makes it a bit easier to make things like this because the flames don’t actually touch the food. I’ll have to experiment, I think.
By the way, the Zucchini Parmesan Crisps are easily made gluten-free by substituting GF breadcrumbs for the regular ones. I’ve been using GF breadcrumbs for several years because I think they have better flavor than the regular ones anyway.
Here’s a whole collection of zucchini side dish recipes. The Caprese Salsa Zucchini with sea salt looks amazing!
Maybe you’d like some super-healthy (but delicious!) zucchini side dishes. You can find a collection of those here from Eating Well.
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post and it’s given you some great ideas on how to use up your excess zucchini.
Why not print out a couple of them when you “gift” your extra zucchini to friends and neighbors? You aren’t one of those people that sneaks them onto your neighbors’ porches when they’re not looking, are you, hmmmm?
Thank you for reading. Please be sure to pin this post to one of your Recipe boards on Pinterest for future reference, and, as always, smile and have a crazy organic day!
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