Zucchini

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The saying goes, When visiting a farm in zucchini season, make sure to lock your car doors!
We’ve all heard of the friend who joined a CSA and got a summer of mostly zucchini– what a horror story! Farmers who don’t do adequate planning and still operate CSAs give all of us a bad name and do a huge disservice to the industry. So, we are very sensitive to try not give you too many zucchini if you are in our Veggie Lovers’ Club. At the very least, we are here and can provide support in the form of great recipes that will help you use it up!

Why does this Zucchini-geddon happen? It’s because zucchini is incredibly easy to grow. One plant yields a huge amount of fruit over the season, and very few pests or diseases bother it. Even with very bad hail, the plant will continue on producing, and because it grows so quickly, the damaged fruit is only a blip on the radar before the plant regrows new undamaged zucchini. Growing zucchini is not an accomplishment, but harvesting it at the right size takes dedication! Most culinary uses call for “courgette size” fruit, which is 4-6 inches long and less than 2” in diameter. We find that most of our customers like it this size or slightly larger, so sell most of our zucchini this way. We do let a few get really large for those who like them that way, especially in the fall when they will form a hard, thick skin and store for a couple of months similar to a winter squash.

DSC01215At the farm we grow green and yellow zucchini as well as patty pans. They are all what is considered “Summer Squash”, which basically means they are thin-skinned immature squash. You can eat the peel: in fact, I felt terrible once when a market shopper came back and told me she had struggled to peel the patty pan she had taken home the week prior (if you know what they look like, you’ll get it- basically, picture the hardest shape to peel ever!). Patty pans are small, round yellow or yellow and green summer squash. Basically a different shaped zucchini, but better! Maybe a bit more sweet, or flavourful– I can’t put my finger on it, but definitely better. Patty pans are definitely the more attractive cousin of the zucchini! We usually sell them very small, but they often get away on us and become a baseball-size, suitable for stuffing. Either way, they are delicious!

Season: Zucchini is available from our farm from mid- to late-July all the way until frost.

Storage Tips: Store Zucchini in the fridge for up to 1 week. If your fridge is bursting, you can keep it unrefrigerated for a few days and it will be fine.

Preparation Tips: Zucchini is an abundant crop, but luckily it is also very versatile and there are so many things you can do with it. Zucchini muffins or cake is a very common one, but our favourite way to enjoy it is in Zucchini Bake. You can increase the amount of zucchini, experiment with different amounts of oil and different types of cheese, add other veggies, add more eggs to make it more frittata-like– basically, feel free to modify to your taste. This recipe also works great made in muffin tins and is more easily portable that way.

Zucchini is a great addition to soups, and it’s EXCELLENT on the BBQ. You can slice it and cook in a BBQ wok, or grill large slices and top with cheese.

If you get sick of Zucchini, consider grating it and freezing it (in 1 cup portions, or whatever your best zucchini cake recipe calls for) so you can enjoy it all winter!