How to Use Up Zucchini

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on August 13, 2009

I stopped at the farmer’s market this afternoon. Hadn’t been in a while!

The loot…it’s not much, just gigantic!

jumbo-zucchini

No, I did not buy the spoon at the farmer’s market!  That’s a cereal spoon.

These 2 zucchinis…the gigantic one. And the regular size one.

$2.

What on earth am I to do with such a large zucchini???

I cut it into thirds.

1/3 shredded for zucchini bread. Yielded 4 cups.

1/3 diced for chunky zucchini muffins. Yielded 4 cups.

1/3 cut into chunks to freeze and drop into smoothies. Yielded 16 chunks.

jumbo-zucchini-2

And into the freezer went the gigantic zucchini.

The other we ate with dinner tonight.  Just $.50 for that “little” zucchini!

Oh, and I snuck away to NYC yesterday for a quick day trip to do some cookbook business and a fun radio show…and check out this great price on homegrown zucchini at the farmer’s market down near 19th St. You can find great deals in the Big Apple.  More on my trip soon!

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy @ Finer Things August 13, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Erin — How do you prep your zucchini for the freezer when you are chopping it up for winter soups? I’ve got tons shredded and frozen for muffins, but do I just chop and freeze for soup or do I need to blanch or sautee or something before I freeze?

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Erin August 13, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Not if you’re going to use it in a soup, smoothie or for baking. Not need to do anything to it! I’ve never tried to use “raw” frozen zucchini any other way…but know that it thaws “mushy.”

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Sassy Stephanie August 13, 2009 at 7:41 pm
Bridget August 13, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Throw some in some lasagna or spaghetti sauce. That is how I sneak it into stuff for my girls. Shhh…don’t tell. :)

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Erin August 13, 2009 at 8:59 pm

You’re secrets safe with me (us)! What a great idea! I like throwing finely chopped eggplant into spaghetti sauce too!

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Treva August 13, 2009 at 10:34 pm

My daughter’s (age 5) favorite meal is penne pasta with a creamy sauce made by mixing a jar of spaghetti sauce, 1 cup or so of sour cream and 2 or 3 generous handfuls of shredded zucchini. I’ve made it twice now and she’s tries to get away with the bad manners of licking the plate clean by claiming that no other meal is nearly as good and it needs to ALL eatin’.

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Jennifer August 14, 2009 at 7:05 am

My uncle just loaded us up with a TON of zucchini…. all FREE! I shared some with a couple of neighbors and will spend this weekend shredding the rest for future baking. My favorite? Chocolate Zucchini Bread: http://savingandgiving.blogspot.com/2008/09/chocolate-zucchini-bread.html

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Donna W August 14, 2009 at 9:51 am

It’s so hard to find zucchini around here that looks like your little one. That’s exactly the size I love.

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Angie August 14, 2009 at 12:36 pm

I have been blessed with an awesome produce stand. Their squash are all 50 cents a lb. Cantaloupe 2/$1.00. Bell Peppers (red, yellow & green) 3/$1.00. Blueberries $1/ pint. They have actually just about every vege & fruit you could think of all at super prices. If you actually want to go pick all your stuff from the field, they charge 20 cents/lb for tomatoes and 39 cents/ lb for everything else. I usually get out of there (not picking myself) for around $20 for the 5 of us for about 2 weeks. Not bad. I wish you had a stand like that there, you could probably do lots of different stuff. CA is good for something. Take care, also check out zucchini cobbler from Taste of home, excellent!!! No one will ever know it is zucchini!!

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Erin August 14, 2009 at 5:47 pm

I wanna live where you live Angie!!! I hope you stock your freezer full of veggies that will last all winter!!!

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Shelby August 14, 2009 at 6:35 pm

I know what you mean about huge zucchini! My garden is full of it. I just blogged the other day a ton of zucchini recipes. Check em out….I’m super interested in the zucchini cobbler. mmmm.
http://reclaimdinner.blogspot.com/2009/08/zucchini.html

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Biz August 15, 2009 at 8:16 am

I love giant zucchini like that for baking only – the texture seems weird to me for the big ones!

Great idea though! :D

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kay August 15, 2009 at 2:34 pm

oh how i wished you lived near by. my cup runneth over with zucchini! and tomatoes! and real soon corn on the cob!
http://randommusingsfrommypov.com

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Angie August 15, 2009 at 4:20 pm

For those who are interested here is my Zucchini Cobbler recipe:

8 cups chopped, seeded, peeled zucchini
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
CRUST:
4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups cold butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon

In a large saucepan, over medium-low heat, cook and stir zucchini and lemon juice for 15-20 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Add sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; simmer one minute longer. Remove from heat and set aside.
For crust, combine flour and sugar in a bowl; cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Stir 1/2 cup into zucchini mixture. Press half of remaining crust mixture into a greased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Spread zucchini mixture over top; crumble remaining crust mixture over zucchini. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 375′ for 35-40 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, Super Good!!

Hope everyone will try it at least once. It will look, tast and smell like apples!!!

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net August 9, 2012 at 9:43 am

Tis true – tastes looks and smells like apples. Zucchini really has no taste it just takes up space. We just all call it apple squares in my family. My brother eats it and he hates zucchini and no one tells him he is eating anything but apples.

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Ginny August 15, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Thanks for the great zucchini tips. I bought some on my Aldi shopping trip yesterday and have been wanting some ideas on how to use it. Zucchini is a new vegetable to us in our house. We’ve been pretty picky but want to branch out.

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Liz@HoosierHomemade August 16, 2009 at 6:38 am

I had 3 baseball bat size zucchinis and 14 large ones last week, from the garden. I posted lots of recipes that I have been using and some I’d like to try yesterday http://hoosierhomemade.com/?p=2932.
~LIz

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alissia August 16, 2009 at 8:00 pm

I like to slice the zucchini into small, 3 bite sized “sticks” then bread them like you would eggplant or chicken nuggets, and pan fry in a little oil. Serve them with marinara for dipping – yummy, even my 2 YO loves these :)

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Erin August 16, 2009 at 8:16 pm

That does sound delish Alissia!

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Sue August 17, 2009 at 10:19 am

I get free veggies from my mom’s garden. I also got a huge Zucchini from her yesterday and yellow squash. I added some of both shredded into spaghetti sauce last night and the rest I shredded to feeze. I shredded in my food processor together, put about 2 cups in a freezer vacuum bag. ( I got about 6 cups total) I first squeeze the water out before putting in bags. I vacuum them and then freeze. They are ready to defrost and make Zucchini/squash patties when needed.

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katie in VA August 17, 2009 at 3:05 pm

thank you for passing this along! I have a monster zucchini that is the ENTIRE LENGTH of my microwave (where it happens to be resting right now) that was a gift from a friend’s garden. I have been moving it around in my kitchen, just not quite knowing what to do with it. Lovely, lovely ideas. Now, to start shredding!

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The Prudent Homemaker August 18, 2009 at 12:36 am

That’s kind of a medium zucchini, actually.

I gave one that size to my neighbor today. He asked why they don’t sell them that size at the grocery store.

Personally, I don’t know why people want to harvest them so small. You get so much more food if you just let it get a little bigger.

We had one that same size and fried it for dinner the other night. We had it along with corn and tomato salad. It fed all 7 of us with leftovers. For the big ones, we slice it (into circles), and then cut them into halves or fourths for quicker frying.

I usually wait until mine are bigger, though.

If you let it get a lot bigger (extra-large) the seeds inside will grow more and get hard. Those can be toasted and salted just like pumpkin seeds.

$2 for a zucchini–wow! I even cringe at the .79 cent price for the little ones. I get lots of zucchini for that much by buying one packet of seeds and planting them in the garden.

I guess I have $8 worth of zucchini sitting here right now . . . :)

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Carlee August 18, 2009 at 2:25 pm

I see you all are zucchini freezers, and I guess I am new to the whole vegetable freezing. I froze zucchini once and it was so mushy I thought it looked moldy. But nobody had told me what it was supposed to look like. So if you freeze it, is there a time where it is best to use it by? I wondered if I had waited too long with my frozen batch. My main question is, so if I were to freeze zucchini again, and it comes out mushy (such as the shredded zucchini), it is still okay to use for baking my bread? It was just so watery, I thought it would change the outcome of the bread. I’m new to this, but am very interested in learning to freeze and store for the winter.

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net August 9, 2012 at 9:50 am

Darin it or squeeze out the water first. I freeze my shredded zucchini in bags then cut the corner just enough for the liquid to drain out as I squeeze. Mark the bag with the recipe or cup measurement before freezing then you are ready to go.

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net August 9, 2012 at 9:50 am

Drain it or squeeze out the water first. I freeze my shredded zucchini in bags then cut the corner just enough for the liquid to drain out as I squeeze. Mark the bag with the recipe or cup measurement before freezing then you are ready to go.

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Maureen August 23, 2009 at 6:56 am

Thanks for the great site – Just wondering how you use zucchini in a smoothie? When I click on the link for the recipe it does not mention zucchini. I can’t imagine that in a smoothie!

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Michelle August 25, 2009 at 12:24 am

I’m also wondering what the “freezer-life” of zucchini is. I have a moster one myself that I plan on shredding for future zucchini bread, but I want to make sure I can use it in a timely manner without ODing on bread.

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Erin August 25, 2009 at 7:21 am

I would think 3 months in a fridge freezer or 6 months in a deep freezer. That is the standard that I use for our food!

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angela August 29, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Thanks for this. I’ve been looking for a good zucchini muffin recipe. We had way too many in our garden this year.

http://thesuburbanjungle.blogspot.com

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Leslie August 31, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Hey, i thought I’d leave an idea for you all! At the Pizza Factory one time I accidentally ordered my pasta plate with zucchini noodles, thinking I’d ordered linguine noodles. The waitress heard “zucchini” and it actually was on their menu (I checked after thinking the linguine looked a little funny and…green!). I decided to try it rather than complain, and I LOVED it! I think they just used a carrot or potato peeler, shredded the zucchini with it, sauteed it in some olive oil and topped it with Alfredo sauce! I absolutely thought it was the most delicious and ingenious idea! Try it!

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Jamie September 22, 2009 at 7:25 pm

Just a tip for those shredding zucchini to freeze for use later. When I thaw it, I dump it from its baggie into a metal strainer as it is very wet. Every year a friend passes on surplus zucchini from her mom’s garden and I shred it, then use it all winter to make her Mom’s chocolate zucchini bread recipe.

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Darsih March 19, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Hi from Bali, Indonesia. My Bali husband (I’m American) is an organic farmer. I frequently get ‘extra’ veggies when nature outpaces orders. FYI – info about his farm at http://www.baliorganicproject.typepad.com/ I have a lot of zucchini today and will use the shredding info and freeze for soups and sauces. We don’t have a modern oven so I always look for other ways to use. Here are a couple of other ideas:

Zucchini Milk (credit to Mrjorie Hurt Jones – The Allergy Self-Help Cookbook)
2.5 pounds firm zucchini, peeled and cut into chunks
Blend in batches to thick, smooth liquid. Heat all to boiling over med high heat and cook for 1 minute. Cool briefly and pour into canning jars. Good in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer up to one year. Good for bread, cakes, cream soups. Unpeeled will result in green milk. Author says for baking to cut back a bit on the flour or increase the liquids a little because this is thicker than cow’s milk.

Cream of Zucchini Soup (credit to Feast Without Yeast Cookbook)
2T butter or safflower oil
2 leeks (organic of course) chopped (optional)
6 med zucchini sliced (or similar quantity of larger)
6 large red potatoes (more for thicker or less for thinner), peeled and diced
1T dried basil or 3-4T fresh organic basil
1/2 T dried thyme
2T sea salt or to taste
12-14c water

Heat the butter or oil in large kettle. Add leeks and saute til soft. Add the zuc. When bright, add herbs and salt. Add potatoes. Add enough water to come within 1/2 inch of the top. Cover, bring to boil, then simmer until all the beggies are cooked. When cooled, puree in blender or with hand mixer. Great either hot or cold. I’ve also had luck freezing. And using this recipe, I use broccoli and less zucchini.

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Sue July 23, 2014 at 11:26 am

When I shred and freeze my zucchini for baking, I don’t worry about the liquid. I figure the fresh zucchini had the water in it when I froze it. I leave all the liquid in and have wonderful moist recipes when I use frozen zucchini to bake breads, cookies, or cakes.

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arthiritis November 15, 2014 at 7:18 pm

When I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever
a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment.

Perhaps there is a means you are able to remove me from that service?
Appreciate it!

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