Zucchini

Communal Gardeners, we have lots of zucchini.  If you look deeply into the plants, or under the weeds, you will find the largest specimens.  Right now we are in the midst of a late-summer heat wave, however this is bound to end soon.  When it does, when we get our First Official Frost Warning, all the zukes that are not covered should be picked before the frost hits, regardless of the size.  Now, be aware that it is what is open to the frost that will be damaged.  Zucchini grow big leaves and anything below these leaves, whether other leaves or fruit, will be protected from light frosts.  As the season progresses the plant will be worn down.  So harvest accordingly, and check your email and the Facebook page frequently for notifications.

I have been asked several times how to cook the zucchini.  You can refer to the previous blog on Grilled Vegetable Salad for ideas, as well there are many great recipes for all kinds of things from zucchini gratin to zucchini loaf to zucchini fritters on the internet.  Here is what I do with all my zucchini (when not making the grilled veg. salad):

Cut the ends off the zucchini.  Slice it in half lengthwise.  Rub the slices down with a bit of olive oil.  On the cut side, sprinkle with a bit of salt and some minced herbs (thyme and/or rosemary or whatever you have handy).  Grill on the barbeque.  If you don’t have a barbeque you can cook in a frying pan on your stove.  Cut up to serve, or plate the whole halves, depending on the size, and number of people you’re feeding.  Okay, so there is always something to watch for and with zucchinis, it’s that you don’t want to undercook them.  With little ones it’s easy.  The big ones, you have to test them by poking, or squeezing, like you do with potatoes.  Overcooking is another hazard, but they will still taste good, just be a little hard to grab with a fork.

There you have it.  Don’t let your garden-fresh zucchinis sit in your fridge.  Cook them up right away for best results.  If you don’t eat it all, cooked zucchini freezes really well.  Chop it up and freeze in about ¼ cup volumes which you can thaw to use in sauces and pastas, sandwiches and wraps or on pizza.

-Nicole