The Misunderstood Vegetable


Post by community member:

I was visiting with a retired clergy friend of mine one day and he said that he always hated the summer. I asked why, and he told me that his car got so hot being locked up all of the time. When I inquired further, he said that he had to lock his car or his parishioners would anonymously gift him with loads of zucchini from their abundant gardens.

Zucchini is quite prolific. It is native to the United States. It had been a staple in the diet of the American Indians. Zucchini contains vitamin A and C, as well as folate and potassium. It does not have a strong taste, so it can be used in a variety of ways and is never offended that it’s not the star of the show. For folks with picky young eaters, it’s a good veggie to hide. Grated small enough, it can be added to things like pasta sauce. Only the best picky detective could find it.

Zucchini can be used for stir fry, sautéed with sweet onions, or added to baked goods. Ratatouille is a popular French dish where it appears with onions, peppers, and eggplant in a basil-laden tomato base. Our family enjoys grated zucchini in breads, chocolate cakes and carrot cakes.

If you can’t harvest your zucchini in time and they become huge, there are also recipe ideas for you. If you cut in half lengthwise and hollow it, you can fill it with stuffing and your choice of sautéed, chopped veggies, cooked meat, and pasta sauce. Top it generously with cheese and bake.

A cobbler is the most surprising use of all. It conveniently uses some of the zucchini that gets too big. After peeling, white flesh of the squash is cubed and simmered in water with lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon. When drained, the cubes are similar to apples or cooked pears.

Zucchini is so easy to grow. Don’t worry about growing too many. If you can’t find a preacher with an unlocked car, you might be able to put it near a neighbor’s front door, ring the bell and run for the hills!

You can also find Patrice at Everyday Ruralty.

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  1. Sheryl - Runningtrails says:

    Great idea – cooking like apples for pie. I am going to try that!

  2. kellyb says:

    This brought a big smile to my face. Unfortunately, my zucchini aren’t doing well this year. I love the idea of cooking them and using like fruit in a pie. I would never have thought of that.

  3. monica says:

    Hubby doesn’t like zucchini, but loves yellow crookneck squash. I have found that they taste very similar and substitute nicely in quick breads. I sometimes mix in a little of the green zucchini for color, but Hubby likes the golden shredds.

    I put some of the larger ones in the freezer to give to the chickens on really hot days. I cut them so they are about inch rounds and put them in a plastic bowl–chicken popsicles!

  4. kellyb says:


    My very hot chickens are going to love you. Hopefully, I’ll have a few zucchini to do this with.

  5. rosemary+++ says:

    Enjoyed your comment about the minister locking his car to prevent people giving him zucchini. It reminded me of the time that I took a basket of tomatoes to locall food pantry The food pantry was covered with zucchini every size and shape.

    Unfortunately this year my one and only zucchini plant is looking rather sad, I believe due too much rain.

  6. Ruthmarie says:

    Oddly, I don’t always have good luck with the sorcerer’s apprentice of the garden thanks to the high heat we can get in CA … however, this year I have six plants of summer squash, four of which are ball zucchini, my stuffing squash of choice that has rarely survived in past years. We are having a strange cooler summer (high 80’s, low 90’s). ALL of the zucchini took and are producing. I see maaaany zucchini in my future!

    I don’t suppose you have recipes for the teasing suggestions of ratatouille and cobbler? I would so love to spring a sweet squash cobbler on my unsuspecting family!

  7. marymac says:

    I love your zucchini story!! I also love zucchini. I posted a recipe today for Mock pineapple using 1 gallon of shreded zucchini. It is really good.

  8. Staci says:

    I absolutely love zucchini!

  9. Patrice says:

    Marymac- I love the crown. I want one! Thanks for posting the Mock Zucchini. I will try it.
    Everyone- I posted the Ratatouille recipe last night. I will post the zucchini cobbler/crisp recipe soon. I haven’t made it since last summer and I vaguely remember thinking that I have to tweak the recipe. Fortunately, I have plenty of ice cream to work on this over the weekend. 🙂

  10. Leah says:

    Enjoyed your article Patrice. I had some slices of seasoned grilled zucchini at a cookout and it was so wonderful!

  11. Pete says:

    Oooh, oooh, we have zucchini for the first time this year, and there are a few little zukes on the vine. Grilling the tiny ones is about my favorite thing in the world. Well, next to chocolate anything, of course.

    Keep those zucchini recipes coming, everyone. Looks like several of us are going to need them!

  12. Debbie in PA says:

    I got a chuckle out of the pastor story. The use of zucchini as fake apple/pear sounds intriguing-I am going to try it! Also, zucchini makes great relish. I don’t know if the current Ball Blue Book has the recipe, but my earlier edition has a recipe for zucchini relish that’s really good.

  13. Moopsee says:

    I’ve posted a few breads with zukes already. I additionally love not just relish, but making them into dill pickles! Works well!

  14. Mary says:

    Or give me some! I love zucchini in any dish!

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