At this point, it’s pretty much a dusty old cliche that every gardener is frantically trying to unload squash on friends and neighbours at this time of the year. However, some stereotypes exist for a reason, and this is one of them! If your zucchinis are busting out of the garden faster than you can eat them, if you’ve started resorting to leaving baskets of zucchini on strangers doorsteps, or if you’ve ever played a rollicking game of summer squash baseball (the zucchinis are bats and the overgrown pattypans are the balls, in case you were wondering), this recipe round-up should help you out!
Squash Ribbons: Besides having an impressively lovely name, this raw salad recipe from The Kitchn looks like a pretty great change of pace. No need for fancy kitchen tools, as you can just use a regular veggie peeler to make cool looking ribbons out of your zucchini. Plus, it looks really easy: just slice, marinate for a few minutes, and nosh!
Stuffed 8-Ball Zucchini: This recipe from Fat-Free Vegan kitchen has you stuffing adorable wee zucchinis with rice, basil and sun-dried tomatoes. The basic technique of scooping the zucchinis’ guts out and lightly steaming them for a few minutes could be combined with any kind of stuffing that catches your fancy, of course. I like the sounds of this one, however — it counteracts the popular stereotypes of zucchinis, fat free cooking and vegan food all being uber bland by amping up the filling with olives and sun-dried tomatoes. Good stuff!
Pattypan Squash with Eggs: To continue the “stuffing totes adorbs little squashes with tasty foodstuffs” theme, here’s a recipe from Sunset Magazine wherein a pattypan squash is filled with egg and baked in the oven. There’s not much prep work, as they mostly just do their thing in the oven, and they can be made up to 4 hours ahead of time and served at room temperature (they might even be better that way, as I find quiches and frittatas are often better once they cool down a bit), so they’re pretty totally easy. This would be an ideal recipe for someone who has backyard chickens as well as a garden — you can make use of all your garden resources and still have lots of time leftover to weed the garden beds and hang out with the hens.
If you start to get sick of the taste of zucchini but you still have plenty to use up, there are a lot of good recipes for summer squash baked goods floating around. When grated and added to breads, cakes or cookies, zucchini helps to make them more moist and tender without imparting any weird squashiness to them. I found a couple of cool looking recipes through the Baking Bites site, namely Zucchini Cookies and Zucchini Cornbread. They both look really simple and pretty boss!
If you’ve tried all the recipes you can find and you’re starting to feel a bit pukey at the thought of eating more delicious garden-fresh zucchini, there are lots of options for preserving your squash surplus for later use.
There is a great guide to freezing summer squash at the Pick Your Own Site. They recommend slicing the squash into coins before blanching and freezing, which I’ve tried and found very successful. I’ve also had good luck with grating the zucchini and freezing it that way. When I go with that approach, I usually measure the squash before I bag it, and make sure each bag is labelled with the quantity it contains. This is particularly handy if you have a recipe you really like to use for grated squash, as you can freeze the exact right amount for, say, a delicious chocolate zucchini cake (seriously, try this zucchini cake recipe — I made it more times than I can count when I had a market garden and was drowning in zucchini).
Another preservation option is to dehydrate zucchini. You can do this in your home oven (albeit a bit inefficiently), but another option is to go all out and snag a used food dehydrator. Comfy Tummy blog has a good basic zucchini chip recipe for your perusal.
Zucchini pickles are ridiculously delicious, and an easy way to use up even the giant zucchinis in your garden. You can pretty much just substitute zucchini spears for any regular dill pickle recipe and be assured that tasty times will ensue. I also found this great looking recipe for sweet zucchini refrigerator pickles through the Shockingly Delicious blog. If you don’t want to spend time with a hot and steamy canning pot on a hot and steamy day, refrigerator pickles can be a great choice. They’ll last for a surprisingly long time in the fridge (assuming you don’t eat them right away), and they’re really easy to make.