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Giant Zucchini

chicgail Aug 10, 2010 06:51 AM

I just harvested a zucchini that looks like a watermelon. It's bigger than my forearm in both length and circumference. It was hiding under a zucchini leaf and I didn't see it until it had become utterly huge. The darn thing probably weighs 3 lbs.

Here's the question: what to do with it? I know it's going to have a lot of seeds that I will want to remove, but does anyone have any ideas of how to use it? Stuff it? Use it to bat at a pitched tomato? Is there any way to freeze part of it?

All suggestions taken with great interest.

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  1. nofunlatte RE: chicgail Aug 10, 2010 07:04 AM

    Take a picture of it, preferably with some normal sized produce (zucchini?) to show the scale. Seriously! I don't think I've ever seen a zucchini that big.

    3 Replies
    1. re: nofunlatte
      ArizonaDave RE: nofunlatte Aug 10, 2010 09:28 AM

      I've done the same thing, sometimes those guys hide out and get ridiculously huge. See attached photos...
      I've cut and grilled them up, but not as good as when they're the proper size... could be better used for bread maybe?

      1. re: ArizonaDave
        nofunlatte RE: ArizonaDave Aug 10, 2010 03:00 PM

        My, AZDave, that's a mighty impressive zucchini you have there.

        1. re: ArizonaDave
          betsydiver RE: ArizonaDave Nov 6, 2010 06:41 AM

          I once shredded a monster like this in my food processer and parceled into bread sized portions (about 2 cups, i think), froze and made into really good zucchini breads for christmas gift giving (bought aluminum loaf pans and red and green plastic wrap... came out great

      2. o
        ospreycove RE: chicgail Aug 10, 2010 09:31 AM

        Roast the seeds. salt a little olive oil stir on a cookie sheet until golden. Throw out the rest of the monster!!!

        1. d
          delong99 RE: chicgail Aug 10, 2010 09:32 AM

          love this recipe:


          1 Reply
          1. re: delong99
            tommy RE: delong99 Aug 13, 2010 02:09 PM

            This was a good recipe (although I didn't use Old Bay...just used a mix of spices an herbs).

            I would think you'd want to get the water out of the zucchini and the onion, but the recipe doesn't reference this.

          2. happybellynh RE: chicgail Aug 10, 2010 11:54 AM

            I like to use the monsters for bread. Peel, de-seed, and grate. You can squeeze a little of the liquid out and then freeze in 2-cup portions (or whatever your recipe calls for ). When you defrost, there will be a lot of liquid in the bag- I don't drain it all off, because I figure the recipe expected the liquid to be there... though I may be wrong.

            1. h
              Harters RE: chicgail Aug 10, 2010 02:36 PM

              I'd treat it as I'd treat a marrow (same thing really). Split down the length; scrape out seeds; fill with cooked spicy meat mixture of your choice; reform; wrap in tinfoil and bake until it's all cooked through.

              It won't be the most delicious veg you eat all week - but it will be the most recent.

              1. rcallner RE: chicgail Aug 10, 2010 02:44 PM

                I've happily used bat-sized zukes for stuffed boats. Slice it in half, lengthwise. Hollow it out so there's about a half inch left to form a boat. Soften it by placing it, sliced side down in a really big pan and heating it for a while or in the oven, sliced side down, 'til it softens and sweats but keeps its integrity. Make a savory filling with mushrooms, ground meat or tvp, parsley, onion and shallots, something for color like pimentos or other peppers, diced cooked potato. Saute your garlic/shallots/onion, make it creamy with sour cream or other such thickener mixed with a little white wine, herb it up with herbs de provence or just thyme, stuff into the boats. Top with some grated parmesan or other very savory hard cheese and seasoned bread crumbs, drizzle with olive oil and bake. Nice nice nice dinner.

                2 Replies
                1. re: rcallner
                  Will Owen RE: rcallner Aug 10, 2010 03:40 PM

                  The hippie house where I lived in Palo Alto had a weed-grown side yard that had been a vegetable garden at some point. Walking through it one day I tripped over a zucchini of the size we're talking about here, so I cut it loose and brought it in. The woman who functioned as Kitchen Goddess thumped on it, then split it lengthwise, and then made a shopping list and handed it to me. Box of plain croutons, pound of sausage, chunk of cheddar etcetera. Nice nice dinner, as you say. We were shuffling around in that weedy mess for days afterwards, trying to find another one.

                  1. re: rcallner
                    tastesgoodwhatisit RE: rcallner Aug 10, 2010 07:48 PM

                    Stuffed zucchini is wonderful - we used a filing based on ground sausage and onions.

                  2. n
                    normalheightsfoodie RE: chicgail Aug 10, 2010 02:52 PM

                    I too have had several of them from my garden, how do they hide under a leaf, and then sudedenly appear?

                    1) I cut mine in large thin circles and then let it marinate with soy sauce and olive oil and then grill it for a few minutes.

                    2)I recently cut it length wise and miroed it until slightly soft. I scooped out the seeds, and put in a few slices of provalone, cooked sausage, tomatoe sauce topped it with bread crumbs and parm, and stuck it under the broiler for a few moments. It came out very good.

                    3) Zucchini Carpaccio with Leeks, Mint & Lemon a la Tyler

                    2 medium zucchini
                    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
                    2-3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
                    1/2 lemon, juiced
                    1 leek, white part and a little into the green, sliced thinly
                    1 bunch fresh mint leaves, for garnish

                    Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice zucchini into very thin rounds.Slice the leek and put into a bowl of cold water. Stir and shake them around to get all the dirt off. Let sit for a few minutes so the dirt settles to the bottom. Lift out the leeks from the top and set on a towel to dry.

                    Overlap zucchini disks like a spiral in 1 layer on a plate; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle leeks over the zucchini and drizzle with the olive oil and lemon juice. Let the zucchini marinate for at least 15-20 minutes, up to an hour. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside. If it's really hot out, pop it in the fridge until it's ready to serve.

                    At serving time, garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately.

                    1. castiron RE: chicgail Aug 10, 2010 03:28 PM

                      I haven't tried it yet, but plan to make some zucchini pickles with a big one that I have. I would remove the seeds and maybe cut lengthwise into quarters before thinly slicing cross-wise for the pickles.

                      1. John E. RE: chicgail Aug 10, 2010 06:24 PM

                        This may sound harsh, but other than zucchini bread, I can't think of anything else I would do with a zucchini that large. I'd compost it.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: John E.
                          BiscuitBoy RE: John E. Aug 12, 2010 12:15 PM

                          I'm with you...they're a dime a dozen. Carve it like sculpture, or compost it

                        2. chicgail RE: chicgail Aug 11, 2010 07:18 PM

                          Ok, so I split the zucchini length-wise, removed the seeds and then some of the zucchini meat. I sauteed onion, red and yellow pepper, Italian sausage, mushrooms, the zucchini meat, tomatoes and some fancy olive crackers I turned to crumbs. Added some grated Parmesan cheese and then stuffed the zucchini, rubbed it with olive oil, s & p and baked it for about an hour. It was delicious, except that the skin was too tough to eat.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: chicgail
                            rcallner RE: chicgail Aug 12, 2010 10:13 AM

                            Sounds delicious. Even though the skin wasn't edible, there could be some satisfaction in the presentation,....

                            1. re: chicgail
                              chicgail RE: chicgail Aug 13, 2010 05:20 AM

                              Served with sweet corn and cucumbers marinated in yogurt, cottage cheese, feta and dill, the dinner was a real late summer harvest treat.

                              1. re: chicgail
                                rcallner RE: chicgail Aug 13, 2010 10:14 AM

                                Nice nice nice - I'm searching for a giant zucchini this weekend!

                            2. al b. darned RE: chicgail Aug 11, 2010 09:35 PM

                              Zucchini Lasagna

                              2 large zucchini
                              1 tablespoon salt
                              1 pound ground beef
                              1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
                              1 small green bell pepper, diced
                              1 onion, diced
                              1 cup tomato paste
                              1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce
                              1/4 cup red wine
                              2 tbs chopped fresh basil
                              1 tbs chopped fresh oregano
                              hot water as needed
                              1 egg, beaten
                              15 oz ricotta cheese
                              2 tbs chopped fresh parsley
                              1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
                              8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
                              8 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

                              1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a deep 9x13 inch baking pan.
                              2. Slice zucchini lengthwise into very thin slices. Sprinkle slices lightly with salt; set aside to drain in a colander.
                              3. To prepare the meat sauce, cook and stir ground beef and black pepper in a large skillet over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Add in green pepper and onion; cook and stir until meat is no longer pink. Stir in tomato paste, tomato sauce, wine, basil, and oregano, adding a small amount of hot water if sauce is too thick. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer sauce for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
                              4. Meanwhile, stir egg, ricotta, and parsley together in a bowl until well combined.
                              5. To assemble lasagna, spread 1/2 of the meat sauce into the bottom of prepared pan. Then layer 1/2 the zucchini slices, 1/2 the ricotta mixture, followed by all of the mushrooms, then 1/2 the mozzarella cheese. Repeat by layering the remaining meat sauce, zucchini slices, ricotta mixture, and mozzarella. Spread Parmesan cheese evenly over the top; cover with foil.
                              6. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil; raise oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and bake an additional 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: al b. darned
                                ArizonaDave RE: al b. darned Aug 13, 2010 01:43 PM

                                Sounds great - I *try* to stay away from starches, so using this as a pasta replacement sounds fantastic.
                                Will be trying this one - Thanks!


                              2. d
                                dfrostnh RE: chicgail Aug 12, 2010 04:35 AM

                                It must have been Find the Hidden Zucchini Monster Day. My DIL brought her own zucchini over to shred, filled a huge bowl and didn't need any of mine. I swore I wouldn't let them get this big but they are sneaky. DIL is on her 3rd batch of zucchini relish which requires 10 cups of shredded zucchini. If the skin is tough then peel them first. She never made relish before but they knew they liked a friend's relish. Our son likes it so much he eats about half a pint in one sitting.
                                If you explore one of the recipe sites like Epicurious, you will find lots of recipes. Current favorite is zucchini chocolate chip cookies. I've been asked for the recipe. Nice, moist and cake-like. Just found a zucchini banana muffin recipe that was also super. There's a recipe for zucchini currant pancakes that is like a pancake version of carrot cake. Sweet treat in the morning with real maple syrup and bacon. I also found a recipe for Thai green curry zucchini fritters that are tasty. I have a file folder full of recipes, many of them requiring shredded zucchini. You could also adapt some recipes and use shredded instead of diced in a recipe like couscous, zucchini and cherry tomatoes.

                                I agree, discard the seeds if you plan to shred it,they are pretty woody at that size. Freeze in 2 cup batches because that's what most recipes call for.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: dfrostnh
                                  tullius RE: dfrostnh Aug 12, 2010 11:36 AM

                                  its a little earlyfor this, but I once carved a giant like a jack-o-lantern!

                                2. DiveFan RE: chicgail Aug 12, 2010 03:46 PM

                                  Zucchini pancakes!
                                  Substitute about 1/3 to 1/2 of the potatoes with shredded zucch. Of course, peel and deseed first.
                                  Representative p/p recipe: http://www.chow.com/recipes/13359-pot...

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: DiveFan
                                    chicgail RE: DiveFan Aug 12, 2010 03:58 PM

                                    I love CHers. You guys are awesome.

                                  2. greygarious RE: chicgail Aug 12, 2010 05:54 PM

                                    An alternative to the lengthwise stuffed baked boat preparation is to prepare them like stuffed peppers. Cut crosswise pillars 5" long. Core out the seeds without going all the way through to the other cut side. Stuff with a seasoned sausage/onion/bread mixture, stand upright in a baking dish or Dutch oven, cover with tomato sauce, put on a lid, and cook as you would stuffed peppers or stuffed cabbage.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: greygarious
                                      al b. darned RE: greygarious Jul 3, 2012 04:32 PM

                                      A chef friend had a large spade bit, normally used for boring into wood, in a cordless drill to hollow out zukes. Worked like a charm. Just be careful and use a slow speed, lest you end up with a big mess of shredded zuke or a big hole I your hand.

                                    2. kpzoo RE: chicgail Aug 12, 2010 06:47 PM

                                      I had the same problem a few weeks ago with a massive home-grown zucchini that was given to me. I made three things with it:

                                      Zucchini-basil soup - http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                      Zucchini pancakes

                                      Zucchini-chocolate cake - http://www.thedragonskitchen.com/2008...

                                      The cake and soup were fantastic. The pancakes were just OK.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: kpzoo
                                        dfrostnh RE: kpzoo Aug 15, 2010 04:51 AM

                                        These are the zucchini pancakes we like - a great breakfast treat

                                        One year I brought all the fixings for the pancakes to a weekend campout at a farm museum. But, I forgot the maple syrup. I went to someone I knew who was most likely to have maple syrup with her because her family makes it. Score! She mentioned that their zucchini plants didn't produce well that year (??? but I heard it from others, too) and they didn't have enough for making relish. As soon as I got home I loaded the car with some monster zucchinis and dropped them off at her house.

                                      2. m
                                        morwen RE: chicgail Aug 12, 2010 08:42 PM

                                        Split in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Give to kids for pool toys. Alternatively, give to the neighbor's Labrador. The chickens think they're fine too.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: morwen
                                          DiveFan RE: morwen Aug 15, 2010 12:29 AM

                                          "pool toys"
                                          ROFLMAO! ! ! ! Candidate for Funniest. Post .Ever.

                                        2. m
                                          MrsCris RE: chicgail Aug 13, 2010 10:59 AM

                                          Years ago in my first house I planted my first vegetable garden. I planted 10 zucchini plants. I would often end up tripping over one of these behemoths.
                                          I heartily recommend making zucchini relish - I got my recipe from Epicurious too. It's really great on burgers, hot dogs, and even just as a side dish sort of thing. Fabulous stuff.
                                          Also I just made the 'I can't believe they're not crab cakes' zucchini cake recipe and those were delicious. Even hubby loved, loved them.
                                          I have a couple of fairly big ones I just picked this morning from my one plant (yes, I only plant ONE plant now) and your stuffed recipe looks great!

                                          1. a
                                            AGM_Cape_Cod RE: chicgail Aug 15, 2010 05:31 AM

                                            Overcome with yellow squash and zucchini I recently made this zucchini cake from David Lebovitz' website. It was so good that the recipients immediately requested another.


                                            1. p
                                              pasuga RE: chicgail Aug 19, 2010 11:22 AM

                                              Here's another soup recipe that specifically cites using up the big ones:


                                              1. ZenSojourner RE: chicgail Aug 19, 2010 09:24 PM

                                                Shred it and make lots and lots and lots of zucchini cake in loaf pans. I've found recipes for zucchini bread way to dry, but I had a recipe for zucchini cake that baked up very nicely indeed in loaf pans. Then freeze the bread.

                                                I've tried freezing the shredded zucchini with very unpleasant results. I've found it better to go ahead and bake a mess of bread/cake and freeze that instead.

                                                1. p
                                                  paddab RE: chicgail Aug 20, 2010 06:58 AM

                                                  make zucchini parm. peel, seed, bread , fry and proceed like you are making any parmesan dish , excellent

                                                  1. BobB RE: chicgail Aug 20, 2010 01:22 PM

                                                    I was recently watching some of the original 1961-vintage Julia Child shows (The French Chef), and one of them covered exactly this topic - what to do with a gigantic zucchini. The one she had looked to be about 6" x 18". As I recall she carved out some of it, roasted it together with other vegetables, and use the remaining hollowed out-shell as a serving dish. I tried to google the specific recipe but no luck.

                                                    1. rcallner RE: chicgail Sep 9, 2010 09:39 PM

                                                      One of my coworkers graced me with this just-shy-of-4-pounder - here's last night's dinner. Seriously delicious.

                                                      1. r
                                                        robbo8006 RE: chicgail Mar 8, 2011 05:14 PM

                                                        hi, can you srnd me some seeds please,i missed placed mine.

                                                        1. s
                                                          steffiedotorg RE: chicgail Jun 29, 2012 10:58 AM

                                                          I have just finished the most wonderful lunch made from just such a zucchini. Someone brought it to my home and I wasn't sure what to do with it, worrying that it would be tough, dry or bitter. But upon cutting into it, I found it to be lovely.. just VERY large. I scooped out the seeds and peeled off the skin, then cut it up into bite size pieces.

                                                          I love eating at Japanese restaurants and the sauteed zuc's they serve are so yummy so I decided to give it a go on my own. I threw some butter into the iron skillet and cooked the zuc on very high heat to brown them. Separately, I put half an onion, some pickled ginger and a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce in my food processor and blended it until very smooth. I poured that sauce over the cooking zucchini and voila.. SO delicious!

                                                          1. k
                                                            kseiverd RE: chicgail Jun 29, 2012 11:53 AM

                                                            Don't think "size matters" when it comes to flavor, but there will be a LOT more and bigger seeds inside. Somehow they seem to hide and almost SCARE ya when you come across them in the garden. I'd probably cut lenth-wise, scoop out most of center, and stuff with ??? Probably cook on grill. Don't know whether size effects skin (tough??).

                                                            My sister does the shred/freeze thing for future breads... sweet or savory. Pre-measured and ready to make 1-2 loaves. Know shredded will be watery once thawed, but don't know if it needs to be drained... same amount of liquid would go into recipe if raw.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: kseiverd
                                                              Sparklebright RE: kseiverd Jun 30, 2012 03:32 PM

                                                              Zucchini Jam?

                                                            2. k
                                                              kengk RE: chicgail Jun 30, 2012 03:39 PM

                                                              When they get that big I like to split them lengthwise into quarters and throw them into the chicken coop. The ladies seem to appreciate it.

                                                              1. q
                                                                Querencia RE: chicgail Jun 30, 2012 05:39 PM

                                                                There is an argument for putting your monster zucchini in the compost and redirecting your culinary efforts to tender small ones.

                                                                1. Marusik RE: chicgail Jul 3, 2012 04:38 PM

                                                                  Ditto on bread... I dont even peel it - green specks are awesome and bread is chewier with unpeeled zucchini.

                                                                  1. weezieduzzit RE: chicgail Jul 3, 2012 05:23 PM

                                                                    Those are the ones I use to make zucchini ribbon salads. Use the vegetable peeler to make long thin slices, salt and drain for a half hour or so, rinse and dry. Toss with chopped tomatoes and cukes, slices of dry salami or other cured meat, olives and a vinagrette. Top with shaved parmesan or crumpled feta.

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