4 Tasty Ways to Deal With Zucchini Overload
Try these delicious recipes from Taste of Home to use up your bountiful crop of homegrown zucchini.
Though I live in Florida now, I grew up in the Midwest. My family had a decent-sized vegetable garden each summer. Around this time of year, I have strong memories of the smell of tomatoes as you ran them through the mill in preparation for making spaghetti sauce by the gallon. I recall sitting on the deck with a bowl of green beans bigger than my head, snapping the ends to prepare the beans for freezing. But most of all, hI recall the zucchini… so many, many zucchini.
Starting in mid-summer, it always seemed that the couple of zucchini plants we had set out had somehow turned into dozens, and the number of vegetables they started producing was really more than anyone could want. We began desperately trying to give them to neighbors and taking them to church on Sundays to press on friends, acquaintances, and anyone who crossed our path when we were holding these green monsters. Of course, everyone else with a vegetable garden was experiencing the same phenomena (I call it Zucchini Overload), and practically turned and ran when they saw us coming. I once heard a story of a woman who was so desperate to get rid of the vegetables without wasting them, that she started leaving them on neighbors’ porches in the middle of the night. Far-fetched? It sounded like a good idea to us!
On the homefront, we had to come up with ways to use this vegetable ourselves. The great thing about zucchini is that its mild flavor makes it work in many kinds of recipes, from sweet zucchini bread to spicy main dishes. My mom’s favorite fall-back was Zucchini Appetizer, a recipe that would use up a zucchini or two when we were invited to summer parties. No matter what we were asked to bring to a summer get-together, we’d also show up with a tupperware container full of Zucchini Appetizer, shown below. It has a light flavor with parsley and garlic, and can be served hot, cold, or room temperature.
Though zucchini isn’t nearly as plentiful in a Florida summer, you can still find it pretty cheaply at produce markets this time of year. One of my preferred ways to prepare it is as a very simple side dish for grilled chicken. Slice one zucchini and one sweet onion, and seal in a foil packet with 6 tablespoons of butter. (Use non-stick foil if you have it.) Pop the packet on the grill for about 30 minutes as you prepare your chicken or other meat. When you open the packet, the zucchini and onion will be soft and perfectly flavored – it doesn’t get any easier than that!
There are plenty of other great zucchini recipes available out there. Here are a couple you may want to try.