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Giant Zucchini

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. 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

      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

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

        1. re: ArizonaDave

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

          1. re: delong99

            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. 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 Reply
            1. re: happybellynh

              Wrap the shredded zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and wring out the water. Cups will fall out-- that's water that will just serve to wash out the flavor of your zucchini bread.

              Mr Taster

            2. 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. 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

                  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

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

                  2. 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. 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. 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.

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

                        2. 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

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

                            1. re: chicgail

                              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

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

                            2. 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

                                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. 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

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

                                2. 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

                                    I love CHers. You guys are awesome.

                                  2. 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

                                      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. 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

                                        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. 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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

                                                                  1. 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.