Zucchini is one of those amazing vegetables that turn into monster size squash practically overnight. Think I'm kidding? During a recent family experiment, we discovered that a 2-inch baby zucchini will reach a length of 24 inches in merely eight days. With this kind of growth, it's no great wonder why monster zucchini are able to sneak up on us so quickly.
If you are stuck with a couple of monster zucchinis in your zucchini patch, here's ten easy ways to use up or get rid of those monsters.
1. Shred & freeze them for baked goods. Zucchini has a high water content (more than 95%) which makes them ideal as a liquid substitute in quick bread recipes. What we do at our house is to shred up the zucchini and toss it in the freezer for future use.
One easy trick is to place exactly one cup of shredded zucchini in a freezer bag, which is just the right amount for most zucchini bread recipes. To use, let thaw and add entire contents of the bag (liquid and all) to your recipe.
2. Exhibit monster zucchinis at the county fair. Most county fairs usually include a monster zucchini category with a fancy ribbon and a cash award to the three biggest zucchinis grown in the county. If your monster zucchini is too big for the refrigerator, think about entering it in the fair instead.
3. Cube for soup. Because of their high water content, zucchini tends to take on the flavor of the foods it's cooked with and is perfect for stretching a favorite soup recipe. To prepare, pare the zucchini and dice into a one-inch cube. Add several cups to any vegetable-based soup recipe.
4. Make jumbo sized bird feeders. Sliced in half lengthwise, zucchinis make great bird snacks and squirrel feed. Just place the sliced zucchini on a picnic table and watch them disappear
5. Slice into discs and fry. The quintessential junk food-masquerading-as-healthy-fare is fried zucchini which is easy to make and delicious to eat. Thinly sliced zucchini can be dipped into your favorite tempura batter recipe, fried till tender, and served while hot. Scrumptious!
6. Donate to a food bank or soup kitchen. Monster sized zucchinis can easily feed a dozen people or more. Check with a local food bank or soup kitchen to see if these agencies might have a use for a monster zucchini.
7. Stretch out a favorite freezer jam recipe When pared shredded zucchini is added to a freezer jam recipe, it adds a nice marmalade-like texture to the finished product. Here's an easy freezer jam recipe that uses pineapple, zucchini, and apricot Jello.
8. Compost it. Just like other produce, monster zucchini can be added to your compost heap. What I do is remove the seeds first (to save for next year) and then chop up the zucchini to toss in the compost.
9. Monster Stuffed Zucchini Boats. Even monster sized zucchinis are a great vehicle for cooking up a meat loaf. To prepare a monster zucchini for boats, simply slice in half, scoop out the seeds and place ~ face down ~ on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven. Cook for 15 minutes, remove the pulp with a spoon and set aside.
Add 2 cups of mashed zucchini to your favorite meat loaf recipe. Pack the meat loaf into the zucchini and cook following the instructions in your meat loaf recipe. Be sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure thorough cooking. Freeze remaining zucchini puree for soups or stews.
10. Doorstep ditching. If all else fails, one sure fire method of getting rid of monster zucchini is to dump them on your neighbor's doorstep during the night. A word of warning; this method works only if you haven't been broadcasting around the neighborhood that your zucchini crop is wildly out of control. Loose lips not only sinks ships, it's a guarantee that those monster zucchinis will end up back on your doorstep along with a dozen others.