Lock your doors: it’s zucchini season

The warnings are dire: double-check to make sure all of your doors are locked, from your cars to your garage to your house. These precautions are not due to an increase in the crime rate, but rather because your neighbors are getting desperate to find homes for all of the zucchini (courgettes) that are now ripening in their garden. I was able to convince a coworker to accept a bag of pattypan squash, and I managed to sneak in a cucumber that was too large for canning. But that was two days ago, another dozen squash are nearly ready and I need to find homes for them too, because my husband has made it clear they are not coming into our house. This is why I don’t usually plant zucchini, but I had a moment of weakness at the garden center this spring. “They’re so cute, and pattypan squash aren’t as prolific as regular green zucchini,” I said, conveniently forgetting that the last time I planted them they were like mogwai that were fed after midnight.

Maybe I should have my husband read this article from Everyday Health that explains the nutritional benefits of eating summer squash, which contains manganese and vitamin C, as well as potassium and magnesium. I don’t know if that will convince him to eat more squash, because if zucchini is a superfood we must be among the healthiest people on the planet. One thing he can’t say is that zucchini are boring, because there are so many ways to use this vegetable (okay, technically it’s a fruit, but let’s not get pedantic).

Popular uses including the ubiquitous zucchini bread, fritters, and “zoodles,” but those options barely scratch the surface of how you can use this prolific garden staple. It works raw in salads, is wonderful on the grill, can be stuffed with countless fillings, stir-fried with other vegetables, or thrown into a fresh summer soup. For more inspiration, turn to the more than 8,000 online zucchini/courgette recipes in the EYB Library, including these Member favorites:

I showed my husband this list, and he has acquiesced to at least one more meal using our most reliable garden crop. The EYB Library has saved the day, and I won’t have to sneak into anyone’s garage under cover of darkness to offload vegetables. At least not tomorrow.

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  • Jenny  on  July 28, 2022

    I kept hearing the Jaws theme music while reading your first paragraph. I would take zucchini – someone offer me some. Can you ship zucchini?

  • nadine.guarrera  on  July 28, 2022

    I understand the bad rap zucchini gets. When cooked/handled incorrectly, it’s a watery tasteless goo. My parents boil it to within an inch of its life. And so I despised it. That is, until I started reading cookbooks, and saw the different ways to bring out its flavor. My parents still boil it despite all my efforts to change their minds.

    In the end, zucchini is easy to grow and/or cheap to purchase and can be cooked in a million ways. When treated correctly (i.e. not boiled), very flavorful. I adore it.

  • sayeater  on  July 28, 2022

    I have made a new recipe with zucchini everyday for the last 7 days!
    Za’atar spiced zucchini
    Ratatouille polenta bake
    Zucchini hashbrowns
    Zucchini corn chowder
    Zucchini and swiss chard tart
    Spicy Italian cucuzza (subbing zucchini).

    I’ve got at least 10 more bookmarked recipes to go!

  • lgroom  on  July 28, 2022

    I always succumb to the allure of patty pan squash, but yes, they are as prolific as their longer cousins.

  • ania.s  on  July 29, 2022

    Also highly recommend Pappardelle with courgettes, sultanas and pine nuts by from Nigellas Forever Summer.
    Bonus it uses up loads of courgettes.

  • Ingridemery  on  August 6, 2022

    My favourite zucchini recipes are Neil Perry’s Zucchini ‘Lasagne’ from his Good Food cookbook and Smitten Kitchen’s Quick Zucchini Sauté – but I agree there are so many amazing ways to use zucchini!

  • TeresaRenee  on  August 16, 2022

    My favourite zucchini recipe is Chocolate Zucchini Cake in the orange Bon Appetit cookbook. It’s identical to the recipe a friend gave me a couple decades before.

    I discovered last week that not only is it my favourite recipe, the local raccoons like it too. A raccoon busted through the screen on my kitchen window and was boldly snacking on the cake when I discovered it. Luckily, I had lots of zucchini on hand to replace that batch but I don’t recommend this as a method of using up a bumper crop of zucchini.

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