You know what smart people do when their one zucchini plant is supplying their entire family with zucchini? That’s right, they plant five more…
It is the season of zucchini abundance. The great dark green beast that threatens to overflow our vegetable bins and infiltrate every meal we eat for the next month. Visitors are not allowed to leave without taking at least two home with them. And that is without even considering the giant one that you missed picking that is now the size of a medium goat.
So what are you supposed to actually do with them?
The first flush of zucchini sees us excitedly anticipating the return of our favourite condiment – piccalilli. Piccalilli is sweet mustard pickles. Some people make it with cauliflower, but I make it with zucchini. It uses 1kg of zucchini for a single batch, contains a good whack of tumeric, which is incredibly good for you, and goes great on toast or crackers with goat cheese.
I use this recipe from Highland Heritage Farm. Yes, that is my review at the end of the recipe.
Zucchini slice is healthy, handy for work lunches and can be customised to your particular tastes. It has the added bonus of using up some of those eggs that you are probably drowning in at the moment if you have poultry.
The basis is a whole lot of grated zucchini, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/2 to 1 cup of self raising flour, about half a dozen beaten eggs and whatever other vegies you want to add. Most recipes call for onion, but you may find that the flavour takes over. You could get around this by frying the onion off before adding it to the mix. I like to add a couple of grated carrots and a decent-sized sweet potato, but you could use squash, potatoes, turnips, whatever is overflowing your vegie drawer and is suitable for grating. If you are that way inclined you can also put some grated cheddar or tasty cheese in. Mix it all up, add salt and pepper to taste, and pour it into a lasagne dish. Bake at 180 degrees until the egg is cooked and the whole thing is firm, around 45 minutes.
The problem with all that grating is that if you are anything like me, there will be blood. So I bought this nifty device, which we simply call Tefal. It may slightly resemble a baggy scrotum, but it slices, grates and crushes like a champ. It has a front-row seat in my gadget cupboard. And it saves me a fortune in Band-Aids.
Zucchini also makes an excellent stealth vegetable. You know, the vegies your kids eat when they don’t know they are eating vegies. I believe in full disclosure when it comes to food, but you can add grated zucchini to things like spaghetti sauce, soup, meatloaf and cake. It brings moisture and density to recipes.
I discovered these awesome chocolate zucchini muffins. Sweetened with honey, they are moist and fluffy and super chocolatey. The zucchini disappears into the cake during baking, so you won’t even know you are eating vegetables, and your kids won’t believe you even if you do tell them.
Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
1 cup flour – use wholemeal or gluten free if you prefer
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup coconut oil (can substitute with olive oil)
1/2 cup honey
1tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
Sift and mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
In another bowl mix the honey, oil, vanilla and eggs until combined. Mix in the zucchini.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until everything is wet. Do not overmix. Spoon into muffin cases or greased muffin pans. Bake at 180c for about 18 minutes or until cooked through. Makes 10-12.
Zucchini is a super versatile, prolific seasonal vegetable. Add strips to stir fry, chunks to curry, use it in place of pasta sheets in lasagne, slice it onto your pizza or hide it in your sweets. Once you have got through it all, you don’t have to eat it for about eight months. But by the time summer comes around again you will be impatiently waiting for that first shiny green treasure to be ready to eat.