Zucchini is chock full of nutrients! And it's so versatile- check out this great zucchini information and some great zucchini recipes...
Here's Some Really Great Zucchini Recipes To Try
If you are a vegetable gardener, chances are you have experienced such an abundance of zucchini so great that even a ravenous family of squash lovers could never keep up with it. Right now, the garden is simply loaded with the prolific dark green veggies. And if not, you can pick up baskets full of them at a great price at your local farmers market.
Some zucchini trivia: Biologically, zucchinis are closely related to cucumbers and watermelons. Zucchini is technically a fruit and not a vegetable. They have been consumed in Central and South America, as well as Italy, for thousands of years, but only became popular in North America over the past 50 years, perhaps when gardeners realized what a bounty they could receive in a tiny amount of garden space. Zucchini is part of what is known by the Native Americans as the “Three Sisters” – three plants that grow well together – corn, summer squash, and beans.
Zucchini is chock full of nutrients!
Zucchini is not just easy to grow – it can actually take over your garden if you’re not careful! Some people plant zucchini away from other parts of the garden for this reason. You should allow plenty of room for the vines to spread. If you are using the square foot gardening method, thin to one plant per square foot.
Zucchini is one of those multi-purpose harvests that can be used in a variety of ways. Whether you prefer it sweet or savory, there’s a place for zucchini in your kitchen.
If you end up with one of the baseball bat zucchinis hiding under the leaves in your garden, cut out the center and remove the seeds. Very large zucchini can become woody and flavorless. Try using over-large zucchini in recipes that call for shredded zucchini – this helps to mask the texture.
Try using shredded zucchini in place of recipes that call for shredded potatoes. You can also mix shredded zucchini half and half with shredded potatoes to make hash browns or potato patties. Because zucchini is so abundant and the uses are so varied, the recipes for its use are in a separate article…find them below.
Slice a zucchini in half and fill it with all manner of sweet or savory fillings to make baked zucchini boats.
Uncooked zucchini spears are great for dipping and make a tasty addition to a veggie tray. If the zucchini is a small, tender fruit, you can leave the peel on for an extra hit of fiber. For a bigger zucchini, it’s best to peel it for use raw, because the skin will be tough and unpleasant in texture.
With the garden in full zucchini overload, we’ve been scrambling to figure out ways to use it that are just a little different than the usual sauteed or grilled versions. Here are our top, kid-tested recipes.
(this recipe is courtesy of Tess Pennington of wonderful new-and-even-better Ready Nutrition)
Cut the stem off the zucchinis, then use a mandolin to slice them into long thin ribbons. They should be about 1/8 inch thick, if they're too thin they won't stand up on the own, but if they're too thick, they won't be flexible enough to roll. Give each one a little sprinkle on both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat the grill to high, and do a quick sear of the zucchini. Since they are really thin, they should only be on the grill for about 30-60 seconds, just enough to take the raw edge off and give them some pretty little grill marks. Remove the grilled zucchini ribbons to a plate.
In a food processor, throw in the artichoke hearts, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, walnuts, and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Let the food processor run for a good 20 seconds, until everything is chopped up, and be sure to stop and scrape down the sides from time to time. With the food processor running, stream in the olive oil. Scrape the pesto out into a bowl, and stir in the grated Parmesan. Taste it to check for proper seasoning.
Place a spoonful of artichoke pesto into each zucchini ribbon, and roll it up into a little roll. The artichoke pesto is sticky so it should stick together well. Serve and enjoy!
Zucchini can be dehydrated either in thin slices or shredded. Either way, prep your zucchini, then mix well with salt. Place the salted zucchini in a colander over a bowl and put it in the refrigerator for a minimum of two hours. (I usually leave it overnight). This will remove a great deal of the moisture. Put a thin layer of zucchini on the shelves of your dehydrator and dry overnight on low, or until the zucchini is completely dry. When you’re ready to use it, reconstitute it by covering it in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain and use as you would fresh zucchini.
Unlike most vegetables, there is no need to blanch zucchini before freezing it. Simply shred it, drain it (don’t add salt in case you want to use it in sweet dishes like zucchini bread or muffins) and then place it on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Put this in the freezer for two hours, then relocate the frozen shreds into large freezer bags.
Zucchini really doesn’t take to canning well. However, you can use it in place of cucumbers for your favorite pickle or relish recipes. The large zucchinis that are a little bit tougher actually work better for zucchini pickles because they hold their firmness better. If you don’t have a favorite pickle recipe, you can try putting up some jars of this spicy sweet pickle.