Gadzukes! 10 Ways to Use Up Your Zucchini Bounty
It’s the end of the summer. And once again you are suffering from that chronic malaise common to the home gardener: Zucchini Fatigue.
Your current condition is entirely your own doing. In total defiance of common sense and Mother Nature you’ve planted too much squash. Again.
You can try and point the angry finger at the seed companies whose catalogues you read with the attention that most people reserve for porn—after all, who wouldn’t be seduced by the glamour shots of the Zephyr F1 Hybrid or the slinky elegance of the Climbing Trombocino?
(I’ll admit that, personally, I have planted the Ronde de Nice variety in a state of pure denial. How can a French vegetable be a zucchini? See, we’re all weak-willed around summer squash).
So, now, like that mad scientist in the movies who is sloppy with the plutonium, you’ve created an unstoppable monster in your yard that’s producing a dozen full-sized fruit every day. You hate ratatouille in a way that you never thought possible. Zucchini bread is now strictly verboten in your household. You’ve given so many zucchinis out to your neighbors that they cross the street when they walk past your house. You’ve officially lost control of your harvest.
One of the first rules of home gardening is “Never compost angry.” Instead of dumping your overachieving produce in a blind rage, here are 10 ways to use 100% of your zucchini crop.
1. Nip them in the bud, literally.
Eat the flowers before they have a chance to become giant vegetables.
Fiori di Zucchini
My absolute favorite method of preparing squash blossoms is the classic Roman version of Fiori di Zucchini.
To make this dish:
- Wash the blossoms and remove the center pistil of the flowers. (Do this carefully, as the petals tear easily).
- Stuff the blossoms with fresh mozzarella cheese and anchovies, twisting the petals shut.
- Batter the blossoms with a thin batter made of a little flour and some soda water.
- Fry the blossoms in olive oil.
I’ve also tried versions of this dish where ricotta or goat cheese were used instead of the mozzarella. Olives, chives, garlic, nutmeg, and basil are all delicious additions to this basic recipe.
Cooks who have too many blossoms, and not enough time for hand-stuffing flowers, can use the following recipe to create a very simple, elegant, and cheap pasta dish in less than 15 minutes:
- Sauté two cloves of garlic, some crushed chili pepper and lemon zest in butter.
- Remove the garlic and add just the petals of 20 zucchini blossoms that have been cut into strips.
- Cook for a minute until the blossoms start to wilt.
- Salt to taste and adjust seasonings.
- Cook enough pasta for four people.
- Add cooked and drained pasta to the blossoms and toss in the pan until coated.
- Top with grated parmesan cheese and serve.
More Zucchini Recipes
Zucchini blossoms can also be used to make incredible and beautiful tempura.
See also Linsey's recipe for fried squash flowers.
2. Sell them on Craigslist.
Capitalize on the demand for totally organic and locally grown produce by selling your zucchini via Craigslist to cooks in your area. Believe it or not, there are some people who must actually purchase zucchini. These people, clearly, don’t live near you. If you’ve really overplanted, consider approaching nearby restaurants about buying your surplus harvest.
3. Turn the zucchini into a “Caviar Delivery System.”
Invite your friends over for a vodka/ladke cocktail party. Instead of using grated potato, make delicious fritters from grated and battered zucchini. These are delicious when served with crème fraiche and caviar. They can also be served without the booze as a savory breakfast treat. If your friends ask if you are, “trying to serve them zucchini again,” give them a hurt look. Then, as if you are struggling to hide the distain in your voice say, “It’s courgette.”
4. Practice scrimshaw.
5. Donate your zucchini.
Donate homegrown zucchini to your local food bank, soup kitchen or homeless shelter and share your fresh, organic produce with the people who really need it.
6. Make chic home decor.
Green up your house by turning zucchini into chic home decor. Use that three-foot zuke you can’t believe you missed harvesting before it became Zuczilla as a sculptural doorstop. Outside, you can dramatically light the horror-show that is the squash patch with jack o’ lantern-inspired luminarias.
7. Start a band.
Excuse me, Sir, but is that a zucchini pipe you’re smoking?
8. Make a shark
9. Use them as biodegradable exercise weights.
Smaller zucchinis make perfect hand weights for runners. After your workout, use a straight zucchini, as a foot massager by rolling the zuke back and forth on the floor under your sore feet.
10. Turn them into a bio-weapon.
Leave bags of surplus zucchini on your neighbor’s doorstep, in his mailbox or in her unlocked car. Bonus points if you can train their dog to bring it, like the newspaper, into the house. August 8th is National Sneak Zucchini On Your Neighbor’s Porch Day, so this form of domestic terrorism is completely within the law.
This is a guest post by Max Wong, who blogs at My Roman Apartment.