Zucchini, Zucchini Everywhere! — Fresh Talk
Lean in close and I’ll tell you a secret: the reason there’s such an extreme abundance of zucchini in the late summer is because so many people plant it. And they plant it because they like its flavor, texture, color — and because it’s relatively easy to grow.
But when that abundance threatens to overtake not only the garden but the kitchen counter, the refrigerator and every available spot in between, it’s time to get creative. (Overzealous zucchini is also ripe for parody. See my Top 10 Things to Do with Too Much Zucchini.)
When it comes to exploring this green squash’s versatility, don’t shy away from classic zucchini recipes like zucchini bread; it’s popular for good reason. Here are three zucchini bread recipes to try: Tender Whole-Wheat Zucchini Bread, rich with almond meal and brown sugar; a nut-studded, fruity Pineapple Zucchini Bread; and a lower-fat Zucchini-Oat Bread made with applesauce.
But with so much zucchini on hand, we need more recipes than that. Give your zucchini a savory spin with bacon and gruyere in these Zucchini Cheese Boats. Or try Crisp Tomato, Zucchini and Eggplant Bread Gratin with these surprising Bison-Zucchini Burgers. (Finely chopped zucchini and onion boost the moisture of this lean red meat.) I also love the look of this beautiful, lemony Zucchini Carpaccio from Kalyn Denny.
And pucker up. Zucchini makes a great bread and butter pickle.
Selecting: I’m partial to smaller zucchini (6 inches or thereabouts). Larger specimens may have been picked too late, rendering their texture a bit mattress-like.
Prepping: To prep zucchini, choices abound. Shave zucchini on a mandoline for wafer-thin rounds or ribbons; halve it lengthwise for stuffed zucchini or zucchini “boats”; dice it up for soups, stews, or relishes; or grate it on a box-grater or in a food processor for zucchini bread. Keep in mind that zucchini’s moisture content is very high.
Storing: Zucchini lacks the long shelf-life of heartier winter squashes like butternut and acorn. Store zucchini in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer (keep dry and loosely wrapped) for several days. You’ll notice the skin begin to pock as it degrades.
Nutritional Benefits: Tracey Graber, RD, CDE, says that because zucchini is 95 percent water, it “fills up the stomach without filling out the waistline. One cup has only 20 calories.”
“It is also high in vitamins A and C, fiber, and the mineral manganese, which helps in blood sugar regulation,” she adds. And to maximize its nutritional impact, Graber advises eating zucchini raw and keeping the peel intact. “As with many vegetables, most of the nutrients are in the skin, so don’t bother with the peeler.”
Got loads of zucchini?
We’ve got loads of great zucchini recipes!