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08/28/2013 - by V. Prestwich
When you pick those first tender zucchinis from the vine, the wonderful flavor is hard to beat. Hopefully you used your tomatoes and garlic to make a wonderful Zucchini, pasta dish. (see recipe)
There are only 20 calories in a cup of chopped zucchini. Another advantage is that zucchini cooks quickly with butter or olive oil, with or without fresh herbs. Normally the skin is left in place. Fresh and firm blossoms which have only partially opened can be cooked and eaten. Remove the pistils from the female flowers and the stamens from male flowers. They are normally best used the same day they are picked. If you must store them chill and loosely wrap in a plastic bag.
Some ideas for the blossoms are:
- Chop and lightly cook in a bit of butter to add to an omelet.
- Chop and added to a rice pilaf.
- In Mexico, the flower is often cooked in soups or used as a filing for quesadillas.
- Fried Zucchini Blossoms (see recipe)
- Add as a garnish for soup.
- Stuff with white cheese or with a mixture of rice, herbs and minced meat.
In Greece, zucchini is usually fried or boiled with other fruits such as green chili peppers and eggplants. This prolific summer squash is normally picked at about 8 inches long when the seeds are still soft and immature. At this stage cooking the plant is not a requirement. It can be eaten raw, sliced or shredded in a cold salad. Ideas for young zucchinis include:
- Pasta salad (See zucchini and pasta recipe).
- Peel and use a julienne blade to make zucchini noodles. Add to anything you would use noodles for.
- Make zucchini fries. (See Zucchini fry recipe.)
- Slice it up for frying later. Lay on a cookie sheet and freeze then put in baggies.
- Use in a stir fry.
- Grate and mix with egg, salt and pepper or whatever herbs are fresh. Pan fry or grill until crispy.
As the summer progresses these hardy vines start producing faster than can be consumed. The zucchini starts growing longer. Mature zucchini can be as large as three feet in length. As they grow they often get fibrous. Before they reach the point of stacking up in a mound of overgrown green shapes you can start using them for your food storage.
Grate the older fruit and put it in baggies. These you can freeze to be used later in such things as:
When thawed normally you need to drain the extra fluids.
It is always a good idea to grate it and then freeze in single batch portions with other wet ingredients for muffins-vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla. Then freeze. If you want a batch in the morning, pull the frozen baggy out and put in the fridge. It will be thawed by morning and then just add the dry ingredients.
If the zucchini get really big you can make a meatloaf. Roll it out flat on a towel, lay up some thin sliced colorful veggies and salami in and roll like a jelly roll. Scrape out the seeds of the zucchini and lay the meatloaf inside and slather on Bar Be Cue sauce, honey mustard dressing, or ketchup and bake for 1 hour at least. You can cut the zucchini in slices and the meatloaf will absorb the liquid from the zucchini. It is really tasty.
Please share your favorite Zucchini recipes (under the My->Recipes area) whether you are using them in your food storage, or just enjoying them during the peak of summer.