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inundated by near-pornographic sized zucchini... help!

the greater question is why I am compelled to plant zucchini every year... but that is not a discussion for this board.

as I stare out in to my garden, I think if I watch closely I can see them growing before your eyes... you think, oh, I'll just leave this one on the plant for another day and come back and its doubled in size.

I've made bread, I've grilled it, sauteed it, made zucchini "rellenos", I'm planning a zucchini parmesan this weekend... but I'm near ready to rip out the plant to end the madness. any "new" ideas for zucchini???

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  1. Put a basket of them out at the end of your driveway with a huge "FREE!!!" sign? :-)

    Sorry - can't help you with other uses. I've got a friend in the San Diego area who does the same as you - plants way too many pepper/tomato/whatever plants and has countless peppers on her counter right now.

    3 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit

      I agree with Linda. Why not give away the zucchinis? I'm sure neighbors, friends, and acquaintances would love to put their culinary skills to good use too!

      1. re: Pamela

        I should have mentioned in my post, i have a very prolific plant.. people are already running away when they see me coming.

        1. re: withalonge

          Apparently, when my brother was a toddler and attended a daycare run from someone's home, my mother dropped him off one day only to be confronted with a huge basket of zucchini with a sign attached threatening that if parents didn't take some home, they couldn't leave their children [g].

    2. I've made zucchini slaw - asian/thai style. Shredded it up with a julieene peeler, long strips, some soy, sesame oil, shredded carrots, green onion, red pepper flakes (not too much!), a bit of fresh ginger, cider vinegar, some chopped up mangos or maybe some other tropical fruit.

      No real recipe, I just kind of add what I think it needs here and there till it tastes right. Quite refreshing on a hot day.]


      1. My old Italian Nonna used to cut it up in rounds, saute in a little olive oil with garlic and mint, pinch of salt, and finish with a spoon of sugar and champagne vinegar. Serve room temp or even cold. Lasts for days in the fridge, even gets better as the flavors meld together. She would do the same with pumpkins. Good luck!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Pablo

          Yes - like asparagus "patties" - I was going to suggest zucchini patties. I don't know about the champagne vinegar but sounds good to me. So delicious and I agree on the cold/leftover, a bit of salt. They're kind of a staple "side" for big family dinners.

        2. I would make confetti bread. There are 2 types-sweet and cake like or yeast based traditional bread. Both freeze really well and makes a great hostess gift. I usually make a dozen or so mini loaves of the sweet kind, wrap tightly and freeze. If I am heading to a friends house I take one out, wrap in colored or festive plastic wrap. That and bottle of wine (or good Kona coffe if they don't drink) is a great way to says thanks for having us!

          I don't have the recipe with me but googling came up with lots of yeast based breads. For the sweet kind I just replace 1/4 of the zucchini w/ shredded carrots in your basic zucchini bread recipe.

          1. I used to make lasagna out of excess home grown zucchini.

            Instead of using pasta, I cut the zucchini into strips similar to lasagna noodles. Prepare the same way as "regular lasagna".

            1 Reply
            1. re: Alan408

              This is so unbelievably good! Perfecto for those not wanting noodle carbs. Google zucchini Noodle lasagna. Follow directions about zapping out some of the water.

            2. I made most delicious Zucchini Carpaccio this weekend. It was in this months Gourmet magazine. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

              Salting the zucchini for 20 minutes gives it this fantastic texture, cooked but not cooked. Very fresh.

              I used small zucchini, don't know how well it would work with your pornographic zucchini. LOL.

              1. Call the local food bank, soup kitchen, or Senior Gleaners and see if they'll take 'em off your hands.

                1. Zucchini Latkes or Pancakes are great! Plus they use up alot of zucchini because you drain out alot of the water. I'm particularly fond of this recipe... http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mellycooks

                    Zucchini pancakes served with tomatillo sauce, sour cream, and shredded pepper jack cheese are a big staple in our house. My food processor stays out all summer long, rather than back in the box after each use...

                  2. Pick as many as you can when they're small (4 - 6 inches long) and grill them.

                    Slice zucchini lengthwise (rather thick slices), drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, season with salt and pepper, let sit for a while (anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour) and grill. (You can also broil them if you're cooking indoors.) They shrink up to almost nothing - one person can easily eat 3 or 4 zucchini as a side dish.

                    Pure heaven!


                    1. The best solution I've found for gigantic garden grown zucchinis (aside from picking them when they are smaller!), is to make zucchini bread. There is a delicious recipe for it in "The Silver Palate" (I am at the office and can't post it from here), but I'm sure you can find a recipe on line that would be equally as good. Zucchini bread is similar to pumpkin bread or banana bread, makes great gifts, and freezes perfectly.

                      1. Fried zucchini. Dipped in ranch.

                        One of my favorite foods ever, bar none.

                        1. My father used to have a "victory garden" when I was growing up. His were a good 8 in. or more in diameter. I would slice them length wise, scoop out the middle then mix it with ground turkey, 1 egg, other veges (mushrooms, toms, onion, etc.), a little chicken soup, parmesan cheese - sort of a meatloaf type mixture, then restuff into the zucs and bake. Yummy meal for these summer months. :)

                          P.S. equally good with meatless from T'J's - Works the same way as raw ground round.

                          1. Try this for a savory summer squash treat: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                            It's a little like baba ghanoush - the squash gets very nutty as it reduces and is really good combined with the tahini & yogurt. Use the insides for the dip and stuff the squash shells with something interesting ... there are many recipes.

                            1. Believe it or not, zucchini brownies are very good. There are many versions; here's one.


                              2 Replies
                              1. re: doctor_mama

                                Zucchini also is a great secret ingredient in chocolate cake. Or try a chocolate walnut zucchini "bread" that is very heavy on the chocolate, but uses zucchini as the secret moistening ingredient.

                                1. re: ssusu

                                  Chocolate zucchini cake and brownies also freeze really well--just thaw, and then reheat at 200F for 15 minutes to get the crispy/tender texture back. It's nice to have ready-to-serve baked goods in the freezer.

                              2. The Washington Post had a great article to address this situation a couple years ago, I think it's packed away in one of my recipe boxes in the storeroom.
                                They recommeded making a basic all-purpose filler out of the excess zucchini, and they had all kinds of recipies you could use it in. I think they gave it an acronym, like BZM (Basic Zuccini Mixture), and it consisted of something like, grated zuccinis, onion, spices, etc.

                                1. Zucchini "noodles" - esp. with fresh tomato sauce
                                  Zucchini pancakes - kinda like latkes
                                  Tian - grated zucchini mixed with cooked rice, egg, parmesan and herbs, then baked in a casserole dish
                                  Cold zucchini soup (made with buttermilk)
                                  Sweet and sour zucchini

                                  And this may sound weird, but I remember reading a recipe for zucchini "milk"...

                                  1. When we were gifted with a gigantic zucchini (probably more than 8 lbs) one summer, here's what we did with it. Peel and seed the zucchini and grate it into a colander. Salt it moderately, mix it up, and let it set in the sink for about an hour so that most of the juice drains out of it. Squeeze out the excess juice and take a taste. If it's too salty rinse it off and let it drain. Squeeze it out again before proceeding. Put some olive oil into a large sautee pan and add a chopped onion and a few cloves of chopped garlic. Let them cook on low heat until translucent but not brown. When the zucchini is dry enough add it to the pan. Raise the heat a bit. When the zucchini is done season with salt and pepper and enjoy. It will be much less massive and more delicious at this point.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Euonymous

                                      I do a bunch of variations on that, it does use up a lot. I've also found that if I shred the zuke coarsely and drain it extra well (let sit for at least an hour, squeeze in a lint-free towel), the sauce freezes amazingly well.

                                    2. Make easy to freeze soups or sauces that feature zucchini and portion it so that people in your family can easily reheat it for a quick, healthy meal. They don't have to wait for you to do it!

                                      1. These are in first place (so far) in Mrs. Smith's Muffin Challenge...

                                        Funwithfood's Moist and Chocolatey Zucchini Muffins

                                        2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
                                        1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
                                        1 teaspoon baking soda
                                        1 1/2 teaspoons salt
                                        1 3/4 cups sugar
                                        1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter -- softened
                                        1/2 cup vegetable oil
                                        2 large eggs
                                        1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
                                        1/2 cup buttermilk
                                        2 cups grated, unpeeled zucchini (about 2 1/2 -- medium)
                                        1 1/3 cups mini chocolate chips (plus some -- to top muffins)
                                        3/4 cup pecan halves -- lighty roasted

                                        Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray a mini-muffin pan with a non-stick coating.

                                        Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl.

                                        Beat sugar, butter and oil in a large bowl until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

                                        Mix in dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk in 3 additions each. Mix in grated zucchini, then the mini chocolate chips. Pour batter into muffin cups, 2/3 full. Place 3 pecan halves on top (in a star) then sprinkle with chocolate chips.

                                        Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until tester inserted into the center comes out clean. (won't be perfectly clean due to chocolate chips). Cool completely in pan.

                                        NOTES : These are chocolatey, extremely moist and yummy!

                                        1. This is a refrigerator pickle recipe I'm fond of:

                                          Zippy Zucchini Pickles
                                          "Coyote's Pantry" by Mark Miller and Mark Kiffin
                                          SALT, 0.625 C, divided
                                          ZUCCHINI, 6, cut on the diagonal in 0.5" slices
                                          CROOKNECK (YELLOW) SQUASH, 6, cut on the diagonal in 0.5" slices
                                          CIDER VINEGAR, 3 C
                                          SUGAR, 1 C
                                          CORIANDER, 2 T seeds
                                          CLOVE, 10 small whole
                                          ALLSPICE, 3 berries
                                          MARJORAM, 1 bunch fresh sprigs
                                          WHITE ONION, 1, cut into 0.5" slices
                                          GARLIC, 4 cloves, peeled
                                          GREEN (ANAHEIM/NEW MEXICO) CHILE, 2, halved, seeded and cut on the bias in 0.25" slices
                                          In a large bowl, dissolve 0.5 C of salt in 1 C of water and 1 C crushed ice. Add the squashes, mix thoroughly and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Rinse in cold water, drain well and set aside. Put 2 C of water, vinegar, sugar, remaining 2 T of salt, coriander seeds, cloves, allspice and marjoram in a non-aluminum saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the squashes, onion, garlic and chilies, return to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool slightly. While still warm, divide into storage jars and cover. Refrigerate for at least 1 week before using. Pickles will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. These pickles are delicious when thoroughly chilled and served alongside your favorite picnic food, such as a selection of cheese, sliced meats and hearty breads. They also go great with fried chicken and slaw.

                                          1. My roommate came home with a nifty cookbook (Cooking New American, from Fine Cooking magazine basically - apparently it was on clearance at Sur La Table at the Ferry Market for anyone in SF that's interested) last night and I thumbed through it and saw a few zucchini recipes and thought of this thread.

                                            Anyhow, here are the paraphrases of the recipes that looked good to me:

                                            Pappardelle with Shrimp & Zucchini

                                            2 medium zucchini
                                            olive oil
                                            3/4 lb. large shrimp (peeled, deveined, patted dry)
                                            2 cloves crushed garlic
                                            1/2 lb dry pappardelle
                                            1/4 tsp red chile flakes
                                            2 tsp fresh lemon juice
                                            15 fresh basil leaves (torn into large pieces)
                                            2 1/2 oz. thin sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/2 inch wide strips

                                            Boil a pot of salted water. Slice the zucchini into ribbon style long strips (just like the pappardelle), with a vegetable slicer or mandoline (dicard the seedy core).

                                            Sautee the shrimp in oil, season with the S&P, remove the shrimp, lower the heat and add some more oil, brown the garlic. Remove most of the oil and turn up heat, add the chile flakes, then the zucchini strips and season those with S&P as well. Cook the zucchini til it softens, but not til it's mushy (recipe says 1 to 2 minutes). It says discard the garlic cloves, but I'd toss them in with the pasta!

                                            Boil the pasta, then drain and toss it with the shrimp, zucchini, lemon juice and garlic oil (and the garlic, if you're me). Stir in the basil and prosciutto and eat.


                                            Grilled Zucchini & Goat Cheese Roll-Ups

                                            3 small zucchini (cut lengthwise into 1/4 thick strips)
                                            olive oil
                                            3 oz. goat cheese
                                            1 tb finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
                                            chopped up fresh thyme
                                            grated parmesan

                                            Brush both sides of zucchini slices with olive oil, grill on high heat (could broil this too), until "brown and limp". Cool on a rack.

                                            Mix up the goat cheese, some kosher salt, sun dried tomatoes, oil and thyme. Spread a spoonful of the filling thinly over one side of each zucchini strip. Roll/fold the zucchini up and put on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with parmesan and run under the broiler a minute.


                                            Zucchini & Summer Squash Gratin
                                            (this one can use up a bunch of your zucchini)

                                            2 medium onions (sliced thin)
                                            1 1/4 lb sliced ripe tomatoes
                                            3/4 lb sliced zucchini (use more of the zucchini and less of the other squashes?)
                                            3/4 lb sliced summer squash
                                            olive oil
                                            grated parmesan

                                            Saute the onions in olive oil until golden brown. Spread them out in the bottom of an oiled 2 qt shallow oval baking dish (gratin dish? whatever...)

                                            Preheat your oven to 375. Drain your tomato slices for a few minutes.

                                            Toss the zucchini and squash with some olive oil, thyme and salt. Sprinkle some more thym over the onions in the baking dish. Then start laying layers in of tomato, zucchini, squash, slightly overlapping each other - sprinkle a bit of parmesan over each layer as you build. The picture shows them laid in the dish sort of propped against one side of it so you get "waves" of the different colors showing at the top of the dish.

                                            Crack some pepper over the top of it, and some more salt. Drizzle some olive oil over it. Toss some more parmesan mixed with thyme over the top. Put it in the oven and cook til the top is "well-browned and the juices have bubbled for awhile and reduced" - about 60 to 75 minutes.

                                            Let it cool off some before serving.

                                            Um that was long.

                                            Anyhow, hope someone gets some use out of that!


                                            1. There's a delicious recipe for Saltimbocca of Zucchini, fried zucchini "sandwiches" filled with proscuitto, fontina and sage, at this link:


                                              1. The recipe for Mint Zucchini Cakes at the link below is delicious. I serve these with Tzatziki, the wonderful Greek yogurt/cucumber sauce/dip -- there are loads of recipes for this on the web, and a fresh salsa made with fresh tomatoes, red bell pepper, zucchini, garlic, onion, mint, dill, salt, pepper, and a bit of lemon juice.