We’ve all been shocked by that outsized zucchini hiding within the backyard. Earlier than you toss yours into the compost heap, allow us to let you know about all of the methods you should utilize big zucchini within the kitchen.
It doesn’t appear to matter how religiously you harvest your zucchini all through the summer time. Inevitably, someday you’ll stroll out to your backyard to discover a zucchini fruit giant sufficient to make use of as a baseball bat.
Regardless of my finest efforts at thorough harvesting, I find yourself with dozens of those outsized zucchini—technically known as marrow as soon as they’ve reached such a big measurement—every year. For those who’re in the identical boat, don’t fret, these overgrown veggies can be utilized for extra than simply enjoying baseball. Actually, they make among the most scrumptious zucchini bread you’ve ever tasted (maintain studying to see the recipe).
On this article, I’ll reply all your outsized zuc questions and let you know what to do with big zucchini so none of your arduous work goes to waste.
When Ought to You Harvest Zucchini?
The important thing to avoiding gargantuan zucchini is to choose early and sometimes. A fruit that appears a contact on the small facet on Friday will tip the scales by Sunday (or so it appears). Fortunately, you may harvest zucchini at various sizes relying on the recipe you propose to make use of it in.
Most recipes that decision for zucchini require immature fruits about 5 to 7 inches lengthy, just like what you’d discover within the produce part of your native grocery retailer. Zucchini this measurement tends to have skinny, clean pores and skin and a blossom finish no bigger than a billiard ball. Relying on the range, the colour could also be gentle inexperienced, darkish green-black, or yellow.
However zucchini will also be harvested earlier than it reaches 5 inches in size. These uber-immature zucs are exceptionally tender and delicate and make an ideal uncooked addition to salads and veggie platters. They gained’t maintain lengthy after harvesting although, so you’ll want to use them up shortly.
Are Massive Zucchinis Edible?
For those who miss the window for each super-small and normal-sized zucchinis and find yourself with an enormous zuc, don’t fear, this measurement of zucchini is edible, too.
The phrase zucchini technically refers back to the immature type of the fruit that comes from these crops. As soon as the fruit grows close to its full measurement, it’s known as marrow.
Marrow’s retailer for much longer than immature zucs—staying recent on the countertop for weeks after harvesting. That is because of their thicker pores and skin and drier flesh. These qualities are nice for the cellar however make these huge zucchinis much less palatable than smaller variations.
When utilizing marrow, you’ll typically discard the pores and skin on the surface and the seedy heart and use solely the white flesh between. This flesh is drier and stringier than regular zucs however works nicely in recipes the place further moisture is a foul factor or the place just a little further texture elevates the dish. Hold studying to see our favourite recipes for big zucchini.
How one can Harvest Zucchini Seeds
Along with their use in sure recipes, giant zucchini are additionally good for harvesting zuc seeds. Actually, if you wish to develop your personal seeds to plant subsequent yr, it’s a must to let your zucchini totally mature earlier than you harvest.
To reap zucchini seeds from big marrow, begin by slicing the fruit in half from the stem finish to the blossom finish. Then use a spoon to scrape the seedy heart of every half right into a bowl or giant jar. Add a little bit of water to the seed-flesh combination and let it soak for one to 2 days.
After a few days, add extra water to the container to separate the heavy, mature seeds on the backside from the undeveloped seeds and flesh that can rise to the highest. Scoop off the floating particles and discard it. Pour the remainder of the seeds right into a colander and spray with water till all the additional flesh has washed away.
Unfold the cleaned seeds onto a high-quality display screen or wax paper and permit them to dry for a number of days. Combine them periodically all through this course of to guarantee no moisture is left on the seeds. As soon as they’re utterly dry, pour them right into a paper envelope and retailer them in a cool, dry, darkish place till subsequent spring.
Can You Freeze Uncooked Zucchini?
If in case you have an enormous zucchini—or a number of big zucchinis—you’re more likely to find yourself with extra of this vegetable than you’ll be capable to use without delay. Freezing the additional is an effective way to keep away from waste, however there are some things you must know earlier than you bag up all that further marrow.
First, you can freeze uncooked zucchini, however provided that you don’t care in regards to the texture as soon as it’s thawed. Most baked items will style high-quality with frozen zuc or recent. For those who plan to make muffins or bread out of your zuc, then freezing it’s easy. Simply grate your further into storage luggage or containers and pop them within the freezer.
However if you wish to keep the feel of your zuc, then you must blanch it earlier than freezing it. Blanching, or dipping your zuc in boiling water, kills the enzymes answerable for decomposition. For those who do that earlier than freezing them, then the flavour and texture of the veggie can be higher preserved.
Take a look at our article on freezing zucchini to see the steps wanted for correct freezing and thawing of marrow.
26 Vegan & Vegetarian Recipes for Overgrown Zucchini
Whether or not you could have a ton of frozen marrow within the deep freeze or a bunch of zucchini golf equipment sitting on the counter, you’re going to want some concepts for utilizing up your inventory. Listed here are 26 of our favourite vegetarian and vegan recipes that style nice with immature or overgrown zucchini.
Savory Zucchini Recipes
Savory zucchini recipes typically work nicely with overgrown zucs. People who require bigger than common zucs for stuffing or for turning into tasty zucchini noodles or rings work particularly nicely for utilizing up marrow. Their delicate taste and drier flesh can complement the zesty sauces and daring flavors in lots of dishes.
Listed here are a few of our favourite savory recipes for utilizing up giant zucchini.
Zucchini Breads, Muffins, and Sweets
Baked items are the proper place to cover overgrown zucchini for a similar motive they work to cover regular zucchini: the feel and style of the vegetable are simply masked by the opposite components.
Actually, overgrown zucs are inclined to work higher for muffins and breads as a result of they’ve much less moisture and fewer taste, which implies much less work in your half to squeeze the water out of them and an much more decadent tasting deal with when you find yourself accomplished.
Listed here are a few of our favourite sweets and breads for hiding giant zucchini in.
Zucchini Soup Recipes
Soups might seem to be an apparent place to make use of giant zucchini because the broth and different components assist conceal the harder texture and milder taste of mature marrow. However the thick skins on these bigger zucs may be problematic, even after they’ve been cooked for a protracted interval.
A method round that is to make use of your thick-skinned marrows in soups that get blended earlier than serving. This course of helps launch extra of the flavour of the zucchini whereas pulverizing the disagreeable texture so that you gained’t even discover it.
Listed here are two blended soup recipes that work completely for big zucs.
In regards to the Writer
Sara Seitz is a contract author and avid gardener introduced up by generations of ladies with inexperienced thumbs. She loves the problem of rising a wide range of greens and incorporating them into her cooking. If Sara’s not on her laptop, she’s out within the backyard educating her daughter the thrill of enjoying within the filth. More articles by Sara.