Zucchini!

Zucchini season has begun! I always look forward to eating garden-fresh zucchini... the tender, fresh, nutty flavour is a welcome addition to the menu. This year, I am growing 3 types of zucchini, pictured left to right below: the 'standard' dark green kind, an heirloom kind (called Costato Romanesco), and a Yellow Crookneck.

zucchini

Zucchini grow so quickly that if one gets missed in the day's picking, it is soon on it's way to looking like a baseball bat!

The heirloom zucchini are light green, striped, ridged. They seem to have more flavour than the 'standard' type, and they are a bit firmer when cooked which means they hold up better on the barbecue or when roasted.

This is my first year to grow Yellow Crooknecks, and wow! I am really impressed with their flavour! 'Buttery' is the first word that comes to mind. This has become my new favourite zucchini / summer squash.

There are so many ways to prepare zucchini... here are a few suggestions.

Grill it. Slice it lengthwise or in thick rounds; brush or drizzle with olive oil or melted butter; sprinkle with salt and/or herbs, and grill until tender. Very delicious.

Roast it. Same as above, but in the oven. 350 degrees. Flip part way through the cooking time for more even cooking. Roast other vegetables with it, if desired.

Stuff it. This works especially well with larger zucchini. Slice in half length-wise, scoop out the seed cavity, and fill with mixture of sausage or hamburger, cooked rice, diced vegetables, or whatever mixture suits your fancy. Bake until cooked through. Top with grated cheese if desired.

Sautee it. An especially delicious combo is zucchini  with tomato and onion. Add mushrooms if desired. (Tomatoes will be ready soon!)

Stir-fry it. Zucchini goes well with many types of vegetables. Experiment and find your favourite combinations of vegetables (and meats).

Now, for some ways to fancy them up!

Zucchini "Noodles". Wide ribbons can be made with an ordinary kitchen peeler. Or, you can purchase a spiralizer or spiral & slice type of tool to make spaghetti-like noodles or thin, curled ribbons. They cook very quickly, and pair well with various types of sauces and toppings. (My favourite: a sauce that includes feta cheese, mozzarella and bacon)

Chocolate zucchini cupcakes. Don't knock them til you try them :)  I can attest to their deliciousness (my version was made with gluten-free flour, coconut oil instead of 'vegetable oil', and I didn't have time to make a frosting but that would take them from great to exceptional)

"Mock" apple pie. I haven't tried this personally, but I know a couple people that make this and think it's great!

Zucchini crumble. Similar idea as above, but in a crumble instead of a pie.

Quinoa zucchini cakes / patties. Savoury. Yummy.

Zucchini 'milk'. This is a pretty cool idea - basically, puree zucchini and use the puree for the liquid in a recipe. It will work for a lot of baked goods. When there is a surplus of zucchini, freeze this puree for use in the winter. I'm definitely going to be using this idea.

Zucchini chips. I haven't tried this, but they look good.

Zucchini Bread. I almost forgot this one... the old stand-by. Classic way to make extra zucchini disappear.

Whew! That's a lot of ways to use zucchini! Hopefully this will give some good inspiration for the ones you find in your Vegetable Share box :)

What are your favourite ways to use zucchini? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.