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What to Do With Extra Zucchini?

Elyn spent the last 30 years in China, coming home in the summer to cook American food and have fun doing craft projects with her family.

Zucchini duck.

Zucchini duck.

Zucchini Squash Recipes and Other Fun Ways to Use Zucchini!

If your garden is filled with too many zucchinis, this is the article for you.

Along with some beautiful photos of our zucchini and summer squash friends, in this article, you will find a compendium of:

  • Zucchini anatomy and flowers.
  • The difference between zucchini, courgette, and marrow.
  • How to make zucchini ribbons and noodles.
  • How to prepare zucchini for freezing.
  • The best recipes for grilled, fried, and baked zucchini, and how to use the flowers.
Zucchini flowers. See the fruit developing at the base of the flower?

Zucchini flowers. See the fruit developing at the base of the flower?

Zucchini Flowers and Cooking Squash Blossoms

Zucchinis have both male and female flowers. Look for the female flower at the end of the growing zucchini. Look for the male flower where the leaf stalk meets the stem. They are both edible!

Nip those zucchinis in the bud! When you cook zucchini flowers, it is customary to remove the parts in the middle, the pistils and stamens, if you remember your flower anatomy! The stem is good to keep so you can have something to hang on to when you are cooking them. Otherwise, the blossom may tear.

You can fry the flowers like fritters or dipped in tempura batter and fried up, incorporated in scrambled eggs, stuffed, sauteed, and even use them in a flower soup.

Cooking Zucchini Flowers

Zucchini, courgette, and marrow.

Zucchini, courgette, and marrow.

Is It a Zucchini, a Courgette, or a Marrow?

  • Courgettes are the baby fruit of several types of marrow, harvested when they are 14x4 cm long—about the size of a cigar.
  • Zucchinis are the fruits of the same plant but harvested when they are 15–20 cm long.
  • Marrows are the semi-mature fruits that have reached full size.
Zucchini "pasta" noodles and ribbons.

Zucchini "pasta" noodles and ribbons.

How to Make Zucchini Ribbons

You can peel a zucchini with a vegetable peeler, a julienne peeler, or a mandoline vegetable slicer—leaving the seeds out. Some people like the green skin, others like to peel it off first, because the skin can sometimes be bitter.

I like to sauté it in olive oil or butter, add some garlic, or some cream, and put some parmesan cheese on top. Sometimes I add some tomato sauce or even a spoonful of salsa for flavor. Yum!

A Simple Zucchini Noodle Maker

This One Is for People Who Are Serious About Their Veggie Noodles

Zucchini Salad Recipes

  • Zucchini Noodle Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce
    This is a lovely cold salad for hot summer days. Making zucchini noodles is a lot of fun, and eating them is satisfying. I love noodles, but am always nervous about putting on more pounds from eating too many of them! So this is a perfect "noodle."
  • Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Sweet Corn & Avocado
    This recipe has different fragrances from the additions of avocado and corn that really add interest to the dish. The next time I try it I want to try adding a little red pepper.
Preparing zucchini for freezing.

Preparing zucchini for freezing.

How Do You Freeze Zucchini?

I know two ways of freezing zucchini—sliced and grated.

  • Grated: Grate the zucchini in the amount you will need for your favorite recipe. One to three cups work best. Put it directly into the freezer in a ziplock bag or other freezer container. When you defrost it for a recipe, add the water that's in the bag or container, too.
  • Slices: Steam the zucchini for about five minutes. Then cool the zucchini before putting it in a ziplock bag or container. Don't forget to label how much zucchini you put in the container.

As always, when storing food in your freezer, label the container with the date frozen and what is inside, and how much is inside. It makes it much easier when you're digging through trying to find the bag you need.

Grilled zucchini is so good!

Grilled zucchini is so good!

Grilled Zucchini or Fried

When zucchini is grilled, it tastes so good. All sorts of new flavors come out when it's grilled.

I have to admit, I also really like frying zucchini. Just cut big slices, coat in flour, and fry in your favorite oil. I like to add some salt, garlic powder, and thyme to the flour, which adds a beautiful flavor to the dish.

Grilling Zucchini

Baking With Zucchini

Savory Zucchini Recipe

Beautiful zucchini.

Beautiful zucchini.

National Zucchini Day Is August 8th

It all started in Pennsylvania when there was an unusually productive harvest.

According to what I could find in my research, National Zucchini Day began as a day when people would secretly put gifts (well, maybe it was an act of desperation!) of zucchini on their neighbors' porches. It was originally called "Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day."

Grow zucchini and maybe you'll get a six-foot long zucchini like this!

Grow zucchini and maybe you'll get a six-foot long zucchini like this!

Want to Grow Your Own Zucchini?

A six-foot-tall zucchini? That is what you see in the picture. In 2008, a woman in Queens, NY went away for a weekend. When she came back, her zucchini had grown almost two inches in two days. She let it continue growing and ended up with a six-foot zucchini.

Is it the world's longest zucchini? No. So far, the world's longest was grown in India and was more than seven feet tall. But this one counts as one VERY BIG zucchini.

Zucchini Jokes and a Poem

Q: How do you know if you are living in an urban area or not?

  • A: You aren't living in an urban area if you have to lock your car doors in order to keep your neighbors from putting their extra zucchini in the back seat of your car!

Q: What is a zucchini's favorite game?

  • A: Squash!

Q: What do a kangaroo and a zucchini have in common?

  • A: Neither one can ride a bike.

A Poem by "Wren"

It was an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny

silver striped green zucchini.

While we slumbered, what went wrong?

Overnight it's two feet long!

© 2012 Elyn MacInnis

Do You Have Any Other Ideas or Favorite Ways to Use Zucchini? Please Leave Your Thoughts and Comments...

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on July 09, 2014:

@dropslady: You are welcome! There are so many good recipes and uses for zucchini it is amazing.

dropslady on July 09, 2014:

Fabulous all in one place for zucchini. Thank you.

Gayle Dowell from Kansas on May 08, 2014:

Bookmarking this for when I start harvesting my zucchini this year. I'm always searching for new ways to prepare it.

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on September 10, 2013:

@TreasuresBrenda: Oh yes! Isn't that wonderful?

Treasures By Brenda from Canada on September 09, 2013:

I've been told you can grate zucchini and freeze it for adding to soup at a later date.

anonymous on September 01, 2013:

Enjoyed your lens. Well done.

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on July 27, 2013:

@Othercatt: Sounds wonderful.

Othercatt on July 26, 2013:

I use it a lot when I bake. I make a delicious whole wheat banana muffin with carrots and zucchini.

JimHofman on March 22, 2013:

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies! Wow need to make those. A very appetizing lens!

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on January 28, 2013:

@RuralFloridaLiving: Wow - I always forget how warm it is in Florida! How encouraging!

RuralFloridaLiving on January 25, 2013:

I'm growing zucchinis right now, so your ideas will come in handy!

anonymous on January 19, 2013:

Just makes me wish for some fresh Zucchinis to do some cooking and baking with. :)

Tony Bonura from Tickfaw, Louisiana on September 22, 2012:

I pretty much like zucchini every way I've ever had it. And that was a lot of different ways when we were growing it.


floppypoppygift1 on September 08, 2012:

I love zucchini bread but if the zucchini gets to wide it can be woody so I wouldn't advise cooking with it then. Cheers~cb

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on September 03, 2012:

@KimGiancaterino: I have always had a hard time cutting off a blossom. Even if I had too many zucchinis. I buy them in the store or at the farmer's market and feel better about it!

KimGiancaterino on September 03, 2012:

We love zucchini. I'm glad you mentioned blossoms too. One of our favorite Italian restaurtants makes a wonderful fried zucchini blossom appetizer. We should really make them at home, but I like to let things grow.

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on September 02, 2012:

@sudokunut: My next lens is how to make a zucchini baby. If you snuck one of those onto your neighbor's porch they would have a real heart attack! I like the picture you created... Thanks for visiting and the like.

Mark Falco from Reno, Nevada on September 02, 2012:

I've started sneaking zucchini into everything...omelettes, pizza toppings, pasta dishes, cookies...the things grow like crazy here. I think the neighbors run and hide when they see us now in case we come at them desperately clutching zucchinis for them to please take away lol

HolisticHealthC on August 30, 2012:

Zucchini is great especially in the summer because it has a natural cooling effect on the body. For more info read Refresh Yourself! Eat Zucchini in Summer.

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 28, 2012:

@TreasuresBrenda: I am constantly amazed at how many dishes you can add zucchini to. I love adding it to eggplant dishes to make the eggplant a little less heavy. And it adds well grated in tomato sauce (more veggies for the kids), and in any dish with tomatoes - tacos, etc.

Treasures By Brenda from Canada on August 28, 2012:

Zucchini bread is a stand by & I love it in corn chowder but that won't use up much, LOL.

redstanford lm on August 22, 2012:

Thanks for the ideas on zucchini useage.

SteveKaye on August 22, 2012:

I was going to post a gag comment about leaving extra zucchini on neighbor's porches, and you took care of that in the poll above. Oh my. Great minds think alike.

HalloweenRecipes on August 21, 2012:

Now I do! After reading your lens I am going to make myself a batch of Zucchini and Chocolate Chip Cookies...I have a sweet tooth! Thanks for the wonderful ideas.

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 18, 2012:

@TamarWrites: That is the origin of National Zucchini Day! Originally it was "sneak some zucchini on your neighbors porch" day.

TamarWrites on August 18, 2012:

Your lens brought back many memories of my father leaving our surplus zucchini on our neighbors' doorsteps because we did not know what to do with all of it! Congratulations on your purple star and feature!

soaringsis on August 16, 2012:

Congratulation on your LotD and purple star. thanks for all the tips. I love french cut Zucchini.

anonymous on August 16, 2012:

Awww... Shucks. I read this because I've only seen half a dozen zucchinis in the last 8 years. Now I want to track some down to try these recipes! Thanks for the lens! I'll report back once I've found some and tried out some other recipes. ;)

TwistedWiseman on August 16, 2012:

Simple salad mostly, or just eat them raw with salt :P

goo2eyes lm on August 16, 2012:

congratulations for winning the LoD and the purple star for this lens. well done and blessings.

goo2eyes lm on August 16, 2012:

i scrape the inner core and fill it up with a mixture of minced meat, onions, garlic, spices and other minced vegetables and bake it with cheese on top.

norma-holt on August 15, 2012:

Congrats on LOTD. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012-2 and also on Squidoo LOTD Lenses-2. Hugs

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 15, 2012:

@Johanna Eisler: I'm not sure anyone likes boiled zucchini... I don't think it was meant to be eaten alone. But add some egg, flour, and fry it? wow!

Johanna Eisler on August 15, 2012:

My mom boiled it most of the time. I didn't like it. Then someone taught her to dip slices into beaten egg, dredge it into seasoned flour, and deep fry it. I loved that! Later she started making zucchini bread - wonderful! After I grew up and left home, a friend gave me a recipe for a ground beef/zucchini casserole with cheese. I've found that many, many foods made with zucchini can be absolutely delicious, as long as you disguise the flavor of the zucchini. ;) (My apologies to all of you who love the way it tastes all by itself. :D )

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 15, 2012:

@favored: Oh my - I am so sorry the heat got all your plants. That's awful. I bet it will still be cheaper at the farmers market this summer than in the winter - hopefully you will have cooler weather soon. Sending you a cooling breeze!

Fay Favored from USA on August 15, 2012:

We try to grow zucchini each summer. I have one frozen package left from last summer. This summer the heat got all the plants, so I won't have any for another year. Congratulations on LOTD.

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 15, 2012:

@MayaIxchel: I love your greetings! I wonder if zucchini from other countries have a slightly different flavor... I know green beans do!

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 15, 2012:

@BradKamer: James Beard once had a dish called Chicken Maryland. You coat chicken in flour, then egg and milk, and then in breadcrumbs. I bet that would be a good way to eat it...Thanks for visiting!

Tara Wojtaszek on August 14, 2012:

I love zucchini. Zucchini bread is amazing but I also sometimes use them in salad instead of cucumbers. Congratulations on LOTD.

MayaIxchel on August 14, 2012:

Great lens! Congrats on LOTD! I so need this to know what to do with all the extras we get at the market. Thanks! Greetings from 'the land of eternal spring'!

BradKamer on August 14, 2012:

What a well timed lens! I have more zucchini in my garden than I know what to do with it. Favorites are baked (coated in bread crumbs) zucchini and zucchini bread.

anonymous on August 14, 2012:

Super lens! Congratulations on getting LoTD and the Purple Star!

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 14, 2012:

@LynetteBell: It really is useful in all sorts of recipes from spaghetti to cakes. For me, it is a vegetable I love to include in something I am cooking - it makes me feel clever and healthy. ;-)

LynetteBell from Christchurch, New Zealand on August 14, 2012:

Well done on LOTD and purple star! I had forgotten that I used zucchini in a cake once but was reminded when I saw your recipes.

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 14, 2012:

@justmelucy: Yum. Nothing better than zucchini and yellow squash and fresh onions, although I prefer leeks. Maybe you can caramelize the onions first?? Or add thyme?

Bill from Gold Coast, Australia on August 14, 2012:

Congrats on LOTD. I love Zucchini but generally do not do anything too fancy with it. I need to start growing my own, have been meaning to for years now.

Toni-Roman on August 14, 2012:

What to do with zucchini? You cannot be serious. If George Washington Carver was alive today, he would not be wasting his time with peanuts or sweet potatoes. He would be telling us about new recipes for zucchini yogurt made from zucchini milk (not totally joking by the way) and using the skin of the zucchini to make leather coats.

This is so obvious to me.

By the way, lots of people have heard of how great zucchini bread is. Waffles though is a new idea.

justmelucy on August 14, 2012:

Beautiful lens. I'm headed to my niece's garden for some zucchini, yellow squash and fresh onion. I love to stir fry them in some olive oil and add a few slices of kielbasa, then plate it with some garden ripe tomato wedges on the side.

poldepc lm on August 14, 2012:

congrats on the LOTD

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 14, 2012:

@flicker lm: Oooo. Like that pie! I bet if you add things like nutmeg and cinnamon, it would taste pretty good. Did you ever try a ritz cracker pie? I remember hearing about that when I was a kid. They said it tasted like apple pie... Let me know how it goes!

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 14, 2012:

@anonymous: Thanks Tipi! It is good sauteed in butter with thyme. Great fragrance. Thanks to you...

anonymous on August 14, 2012:

What a timely topic with zucchini now about to bust out of everyone's gardens, I like it anyway I've ever had it, especially fried with onions and in zucchini bread and now it looks like I have some experimenting to do. Congratulations on LotD honors!

wedpittsburgh lm on August 14, 2012:

Great lens! I need to start growing my own!

SellClean on August 14, 2012:

Thanks! We had a bumper crop of zucchini this year and this will help free up some space! Great Lens!!!

suzy-t on August 14, 2012:

Zucchini is one of my favorites and when they start to ripen, it;s tough to keep up with them... Great ideas for making yummy stuff with zukes...Blessed and pinned to my SquidAngel board.

flicker lm on August 14, 2012:

I'm going to try making zucchini pie. They say it tastes almost the same as apple pie. Congrats on LOTD.

Merstarr on August 14, 2012:

Love zucchini!! Great lens :)

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 14, 2012:

@flycatcherrr: I agree completely on how hard it is to pick at the small stage. I can't do it either. Fortunately I don't have plants this year, but I do have neighbors! Makes things easier.

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 14, 2012:

@montanatravel52: That sounds awesome. Might be good on pasta... Thanks!

montanatravel52 on August 14, 2012:

I love the versatility of the zucchini! One of my favorite recipes from my mom, from NM, is to cut the zucchini into small pieces and sauté it with some corn and cut bacon.. it's a great and simple side dish that works well for lots of dinners! Thanks for all of the recipes and ideas, looking forward to trying them out:) Congrats on LotD and Purple Star!

flycatcherrr on August 14, 2012:

I love zucchini, but try very hard to pick it when it's still at the courgette stage. Lovely sliced in sandwiches with Havarti cheese! As the season goes on, though, the veggies do tend to get away from me - so I grate and slice the bigger zucchini for freezing, when I've made so many zucchini pasta sauces and stir fry dishes, stuffed zucchini, zucchini-chocolate cake, zucchini muffins... etc., that the family is starting to turn green at the mention of zucchini. :) Thanks so much for some more recipes to add to my repertoire!

katiecolette on August 14, 2012:

Love zucchini! I usually fry it up in a pan with plenty of minced garlic :)

dahlia369 on August 14, 2012:

Congrats on becoming a LOTD!! :)

DebMartin on August 14, 2012:

I love zucchini bread and cake. Can't wait to add chocolate.

Julianne Gentile from Cleveland, Ohio, US on August 14, 2012:

Congrats! I use it to make pasta primavera, grill it, or make bread. It's a favorite in my house.

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 14, 2012:

@motobidia: Oh yum. I like the idea of cold yogurt with chopped garlic and dill instead of ketchup.

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 14, 2012:

@delia-delia: Yes! And I didn't have the idea of giving them to the critters in the woods but that is a wonderful idea. Thanks!

Delia on August 14, 2012:

Again, Congratulations on LOTD!... a well done lens! All I can say don't waste them, if you don't have room in the freezer give to the food pantry or toss them for the critters in the woods.

motobidia on August 14, 2012:

Fried zucchini chips is my favorite summer dish! Just pour a mix of cold yogurt (plain) with chopped garlic and dill on top and enjoy!

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 14, 2012:

@aka-rms: Oh thank you Robin! It took me a while to find it. Then I realized I should just go to plain old squidoo.com to find it. Thank you. That is very exciting. I am so happy to help everyone get rid of all their zucchini!

Rosaquid on August 14, 2012:

I love zucchini! I used to make stuffed baked zucchini, but I haven't for awhile. this remind me. Congratulations on LOTD!

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 14, 2012:

@TravelingRae: ;-) If you are desperate to get some vegetables into a child who hates them, I still say grating it and putting it into spaghetti is the best solution.

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 14, 2012:

@JoshK47: Thanks Josh!

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 14, 2012:

@Brandi Bush: Thanks so much! I think you might like Barbara Kingsolver's zucchini and chocolate chip cookies? She is a wonderful writer - I love her books. and she writes about food too.

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 14, 2012:

@WritingForChange: That's why people sneak their zucchinis onto their neighbor's porches and into their cars...

WritingForChange on August 14, 2012:

I usually just chop in up and throw it in my vegetarian pasta sauce. I needed this today though. My seven zucchini plants have gone super productive on me. Never grown them before. Had no idea!

Brandi from Maryland on August 14, 2012:

I have one sitting here that I wasn't sure what to do with...maybe I'll find something on this page! :) Congrats on LotD!

Joan Hall from Los Angeles on August 14, 2012:

A much needed lens!

Quoting my zucchini casserole lens: You reach the point where "you feel like you have the solution to world hunger -- Just invite all the hungry people in the world over to my house to pick up some squash!"

Nnadi bonaventure Chima from Johanesburg on August 14, 2012:

Great lens congrats for the lens of the day

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on August 14, 2012:

Thanks for the great recipes. I love zucchini! Congratulations on LotD!

KandDMarketing on August 14, 2012:

Zucchini - the all-around fruit! Thanks for the great lens!

JoshK47 on August 14, 2012:

Glad to see you made LotD! Great stuff! :)

TravelingRae on August 14, 2012:

Zucchini is one of those foods that puzzles me. It's soggy, tasteless, and just plain nasty. That said, I will eat super thinly sliced grilled zucchini. But the only recipe in which zucchini has truly proven it has a place in this world is in my mother's chocolate zucchini cupcakes. Your lens hasn't convinced me to go out and buy zucchini, but it was a good effort. :) :::blessed:::

Robin S from USA on August 14, 2012:

Congratulations, this tasty lens was selected as Lens of the Day today. You can read all about it at SquidooHQ: http://hq.squidoo.com/lotd/what-to-do-with-zucchin...

Don Wilson from Yakima, WA on August 14, 2012:

Now I know what to do with all my extra zucchini.

Rebecca Fiskaali from Florida on August 14, 2012:

We have a fish and a snail that eats zucchini here at our house. Try as I might I've yet to find a recipe that my children will indulge in. I try to "cover" it up in spaghetti sauces and all kinds of stuff but they have a healthy food nose detector I swear.

Thanks for sharing.


Barbara Walton from France on August 14, 2012:

So many great ideas!

GabStar on August 14, 2012:

Great page, very informative!

termit_bronx on August 14, 2012:

Great tips, thanks for sharing and congrats on your award for this amazing lens ;)

BillyPilgrim LM on August 14, 2012:

A zuchini ate my baby!x

kgdunst on August 14, 2012:

My family love them grilled.

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 14, 2012:

@anonymous: You are right! And that is a good use for it too if you need it. I like it mostly because it is tasty ;-)

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 14, 2012:

@Mary Crowther: Thanks Maree - I didn't know yet!

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 14, 2012:

@anonymous: Oh Yasmine! How delicious! Yes, I like them that way too. They are so versatile!

Elyn MacInnis (author) from Shanghai, China on August 14, 2012:

@intermarks: Oh - that is one of my favorite ways to eat zucchini! Yes, very delicious!

intermarks on August 14, 2012:

I love to eat Zucchini with some grilled bean curd with some soy sauce, or some chili source. It is delicious.

KhairuZiya on August 13, 2012:

nice info

anonymous on August 13, 2012:

I make mine into zucchini fries (that's baby marrow chips here in South Africa). Cut the zucchini lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and then cut into fry sized shapes. Put in a bowl and pour a little olive oil, salt, pepper, marjoram, oregano, and a little cayenne pepper. Mix and then grill or roast in the oven at 200C (400F) until they brown. It's super yummy.

Mary Crowther from Havre de Grace on August 13, 2012:

LOTD, way to go!

julia007 on August 13, 2012:

The pictures of zucchini are so cute!