9 Things to Do With Extra Zucchini From Your Garden
Zucchini squash is a popular vegetable to grow in backyard gardens. It is quite easy to grow and very productive. With the right growing conditions, you can get a large crop from just a few plants.
In fact, some gardeners complain that zucchini might be a little too easy to grow. As they find themselves with a bumper crop, they may have more zucchini than they know what to do with and will often resort to giving them away to anyone that will take them.
Here are some suggestions if you find yourself in this situation.
What to Do With Extra Zucchini
- Bake Bread
- Serve It as a Side Dish
- Make Relish
- Make Muffins
- Make a Raw Salad
- Use It in Place of Pasta
- Add It to Sauces, Stews and Other Dishes
- Freeze It
- Give It Away
1. Bake Bread
Baking zucchini bread is a delicious way to use up some of your crop of zucchinis. You can make many different variations, and it's a great way to get kids (and adults) that don't normally like vegetables to eat zucchini.
You can eat zucchini bread for breakfast, as a snack or even as a dessert. Chocolate zucchini bread can taste just like chocolate cake, and it's a healthy sweet treat (see the video for chocolate zucchini bread above).
A wrapped bread makes a wonderful thank you or hostess gift, and it also freezes very well.
2. Serve It as a Side Dish
When zucchini is plentiful in your garden, it can be prepared in a variety of ways as a side dish.
- An easy and delicious way to prepare zucchini is to sauté it in a bit of olive oil with chopped onions, red peppers and garlic. Top with Parmesan or grated cheese, if desired.
- You can also make battered zucchini sticks, stuffed zucchini, zucchini gratin casserole, or grill or roast it with other vegetables.
3. Make Relish
I first tried zucchini relish when a girlfriend gave me a jar of her homemade spicy zucchini relish when she came over for a barbecue. I've never been a big fan of relish, but I absolutely loved the zucchini relish.
Zucchini relish makes your hamburgers or hot dogs a little more interesting, and it's also great as a condiment on sandwiches, grilled chicken and fish.
You can make large quantities of it and enjoy it all winter long. Jars of zucchini relish also make a nice little hostess or teacher gift or a great addition to a gift basket for a foodie.
4. Make Muffins
Zucchini muffins are wonderful to have on hand for snacks, school lunches and breakfast on the go. They freeze well, so you can easily use up a lot of zucchinis by baking large batches of muffins for the freezer.
Zucchini muffin recipes often use less oil than other muffin recipes, since zucchinis have such a high water content. Because zucchini doesn't have a strong flavour on its own, they work very well with other ingredients. Don't be afraid to experiment to find your favourite combinations.
Muffin recipes that I've tried and our family has enjoyed include:
- zucchini chocolate chip muffins
- banana zucchini muffins
- chocolate zucchini muffins
- lemon zucchini muffins (see video above)
- apple zucchini muffins
- zucchini oatmeal muffins
- carrot zucchini muffins (see video above)
There's also a variety of savoury zucchini muffin recipes available, such as zucchini muffins made with cheddar cheese, or onions and red peppers.
5. Make a Raw Salad
It is very easy to make a variety of salads with raw zucchini, and these can make a nice addition to your summer meal.
- You can make a zucchini coleslaw with grated zucchini and carrots.
- Use sliced or diced zucchini in place of cucumber in your favourite salad recipe for a bit of a change.
- A wonderful summer zucchini salad can be made by slicing a zucchini lengthwise in very thin strips. Combine the zucchini strips with lemon juice, olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh herbs and feta cheese. Marinate for an hour before serving.
6. Use It in Place of Pasta
Zucchini can make a healthy and low-carb alternative to pasta in recipes.
- You can use thinly sliced zucchini instead of lasagna noodles for a low-carb, healthy version of lasagna, with or without meat.
- Or, you can cut zucchini into thin strips, sauté it lightly and top it with pasta sauce and grated cheese.
7. Add It to Sauces, Stews and Other Dishes
Another option is to add some grated or diced zucchini to spaghetti sauce or stews to add some extra nutrition. You can make large batches and freeze them for later use.
Zucchini also goes well in stir-fries.
8. Freeze It
Many home gardeners feel like they are under pressure to use up their huge crop of zucchini quickly before it spoils and goes to waste. Many people believe that you can't freeze zucchini, but you definitely can.
Shred It First
The best way to freeze zucchini for future use is to shred it first and divide it into freezer bags. It can be used later to make zucchini muffins or zucchini bread, zucchini pancakes, or added to spaghetti sauces, soups and stews. For best results, thaw and drain the zucchini before using it in recipes.
9. Give It Away
If you are absolutely overrun by fresh zucchinis from your garden, and you just can't bear to look at another one, you can always give some away. You can give zucchinis to family, friends, neighbors, co-workers—really anyone. It's best, of course, if they don't have a garden full of zucchini of their own!
In fact, giving away extra zucchini is so common among gardeners that August 8 is officially Leave a Zucchini on Your Neighbor's Porch Day.
Your local food bank would probably be glad to receive some of your extra zucchinis as well.
Do you like zucchini?
© 2012 Kathy Sima