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Bitter Zucchini

  • k

Very often I will add a Tblsp of butter to a saute pan, saute onions and garlic until soft. Then add chopped zucchini (half moons) and cook long enough to get slightly soft. Occasionally I'll toss in a little lemon. Salt and pepper to taste.

Sometimes the zucchini has a slight bitter taste and other times it doesn't. Any ideas why?

Also I SWEAR the zucchini often has a slight lavender aftertaste.....

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  1. That's what you get for being a supertaster! :-)

    Seriously though, I think I saw in Marcella Hazan or something like that that you should never saute onion and garlic because it can get bitter, although that seems like crazy talk to me.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Chris VR

      Are you sure you're cuting enough of the ends off? I have that problem with zucchini as well. Cutting plenty off each end and coooking well usually solves the problem, although sometimes you just get a bad squash.

      As for not sauteeing onions and garlic together...sounds like crazy talk to me too!

      1. re: nooodles

        I lightly cooked, so maybe I need to cook it longer. I did notice that towards the end there were no 'seeds'. If I cut it all of, though, I'd not have much zucchini left - perhaps they were picked too early. I'll try sauteing longer next time - thanks!

        1. re: krissywats

          I have almost stopped buying zucchini because of the bitter taste. I just cut up some to saute and thought I would taste it raw for the bitter taste and it was there. I have not always had this problem and it is very frustating to me since I do like zucchini, especially with tomatoes, onions and eggplant. I am not going to waste my time cooking this stuff. In the compost pile! Very frustrating. I have found that "grey zucchini" a lighter skinned variety found in some markets to be much more tender and never bitter.

          1. re: pkatwillobee

            It's interesting because I just got some more zucchini and decided to cook it longer - but the bitterness was still there! I sauteed it with garlic and tomatoes and cooked the hell out of it, but sure enough - still bitter. Oh well, maybe you are right.

            This does stink because I love it, as well. Could it simply be WHERE the zucchini comes from this time of year? I don't remember any of the zucchini I've had in the summer tasting like this - the summer stuff also seems to be bigger. Hmmmm.

            I swear I also get a hint of lavender with mine - but no one else seems to taste it.

    2. The bitter may actually be from oversauteed garlic or from too high a heat. Garlic and onions cook very differently, with onions getting sweeter and garlic usually getting more bitter...

      That's why you're not supposed to cook them together for any length of time. Try sauteing the garlic first and removing it just as it gets golden but before it gets bitter. Try tasting the garlic as you cook it to determine how the flavor changes as it progresses.

      1. I have definitely had bitter zucchini, my impression is it's correlated with how long it's left on the vine-- the bigger the zucchini, the worse it is. Sounds like you had small ones, though. I know it was the zucchini because I usually don't put garlic in with mine. I've heard you can do the salt and rinse routine like for eggplant, but I've never tried it. I generally just saute it until it caramelizes a bit, and haven't noticed any bitterness.

        1. Did you store them next to some apples before you ate them? I suspect that vegetables can be affected by the over-ripening effect of being next to apples.

          1. t
            the(jello)sound

            I've bitten into bitter portions of zucchini, broccoli, and other vegetables. Always thought it was an uneven application of pesticides!

            1 Reply
            1. re: the(jello)sound

              hi!

              i broil them w/o garlic or onions and i find they ARE bitter no matter whether i salt them or not!!! i love them and am now frustrated i can't eat them. has anyone tried a salt and sugar mix?? help!