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Zucchini Fertility Spawns Annual Holiday

July 23, 2012

Zucchini come in many colors, and all plants bear prolifically. What to do with all the bounty?

Credit: All photos courtesy of Renee's Garden Seed.
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Every gardener who has grown zucchini and other summer squash types such as patty pan and yellow crookneck knows that this time of year vines go crazy producing hundreds of tiny squash.  They quickly grow to gargantuan size if not picked.

That’s why Pennsylvanian Tom Roy designated August 8 as National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day. To celebrate it, you simply wait until the dead of night and quietly creep up to your neighbors’ front doors, leaving plenty of zucchini for them to enjoy.

It is a way to rid yourself of the avalanche of long, green squash this time of year.  They don’t can or freeze well.  You can only bake and consume so much zucchini bread, quiches and cakes.  And, friends and relatives have stopped answering their doors when they see you come up their walk with heavy bags of freshly-picked zucchini.

A day's harvest from a plant or two can easily feed dozens of hungry people.  Photo courtesy of Renee's Garden Seeds.

Consider taking your bounty to a local food pantry or soup kitchen to share with the hungry. Click here to find one near you.  If you’re still stuck with a mountain of zucchini, then join the party after dark on Aug. 8 and gift your neighbors with homegrown goodness!

Zucchini facts and tips

Not all zucchini are green, cylindrical and elongated.  ‘Clairmore Yellow’ is gold, ‘Romanesco’ is beige and green striped and ‘Ronde de Nice’ is a bright green globe.  There’re even white zucchini.

 

'Ronde de Nice', a globe zucchini is perfect for slices to add to broccoli and red peppers to create a quick steamed vegetable medley.  Photo courtesy of Renee's Garden Seeds.

Pick squash young, about three to five days after flowering when they are 3-4 inches long, for tender sweet fruits.  Bigger ones are best shredded and used for baked goods.  See more about growing and harvesting zucchini.

Blossoms are edible also.  Use tiny ones in salads and stuff unopened flowers for appetizers.  A puree of Feta cheese, shredded cucumber and fresh minced oregano is a tasty filling.

Stuff young blossoms with cheeses, herbs and other vegetables for delicious appetizers.  Photo courtesy of Renee's Garden Seeds.

Zucchinis are loaded with vitamins and minerals.  They have more potassium than bananas!

The world’s largest zucchini, grown by Bernard Lavery of Plymouth Devon in England, grew 69.5 inches long and weighed 65 pounds.

How do you use your excess zucchini?  Have you celebrated the holiday and gifted neighbors or do you plan to this year?

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Doreen Howard has written for The Old Farmer's Almanac All-Seasons Garden Guide for 15 years and is the former garden editor at Woman’s Day as well as a photographer. She has grown more than 300 varieties of heirloom edibles and flowers in the last two decades.

In stores now!

Look for Doreen's newest book, Heirloom Flavor: Yesterday's Best-Tasting Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs for Today's Cook. Find in stores everywhere including Walmart and on the Web including amazon.com.

Comments

I live on the west coast &

By Peggy66

I live on the west coast & have planted zucchini a couple of years. Last year I got lots of flowers & vegies that grew to a size of a couple of inches. They then turned yellow & dropped off. What is wrong? I did get 2 very large ones for stuffing & just a few for eating.

Glad you got som large ones

By Doreen G. Howard

Glad you got som large ones to stuff.  The little ones that turned yellow and fell off were not fully pollinated.  This season, plants marigolds, nasturiums and other flowers pollinators love among the zucchini.  They'll draw the insects to the flowers and pollinate them. You can also use a a watercolor paintbrush to hand pollinate the flowers after they open.

Lettuces and spinach take

By Ravi

Lettuces and spinach take liltte space and are easy to grow during the spring and fall.Carrots and radishes can be planted pretty densely and radishes only take a month from seed to harvest so several crops can be planted in a season. I would often eat them right out the garden.A couple of tomatoes are a must. They are more vertical space. At least a cherry (for eating in the garden) and a beefsteak for slicing. Buy or make big sturdy cagesSugar snap peas are a favorite. Build a trellis for them to climb and they take liltte space.Same goes for vine cucumbers.Peppers and eggplants are pretty compact but I gave up on them after the flea beetles arrived.Zucchini and yellow squash are big plants but you can get a big yield from one mound of plants.Hope that helps.-Brian

we cut the zucchini and

By kimberly a cox

we cut the zucchini and squash in slices and dip it in eggs and milk then coat it with corn meal or house autry chicken breader then put it on cookie sheets and freeze enough it doesnt stick together or layer it on wax paper so you have fried squash all winter long.

Yes, I've always called it a

By Nancy B-W

Yes, I've always called it a "drive-by zuking." :-D
I make a lovely zucchini salad with a hummus/rice vinegar dressing.
My dogs and I love dried zucchini chips! I dry 1/4-inch-thick slices of zucchini in my dehydrator. They're a nice replacement for potato chips and are great with hummus.

We started calling the

By Larry M

We started calling the sneaking of produce on neighbors porch "Amish Drive Byes". Have been doing it for years. Also do the food pantry thing and they are always happy to see me. I live in S.E. Iowa and even with our severe drought conditions we are blessed with a good well and have been doing alright with the garden.

I eat a lot of

By Robert Garson

I eat a lot of vegetables,mostly stir fried. Zuchini can be added to any stir fry and replace other vegetables. Also great in tomato sauces. It absorbs all the flavours of the other herbs, vegetables, and sauces. I have some friends who are waiting for any excess but don't really have that problem.

I have also used zucchini is

By Sherry Kaestner, Burlington, IA

I have also used zucchini is relish by substituting it for cucumbers. Never had a problem with it and we love the relish.

We make zucchini relish.

By Anonomous

We make zucchini relish.

We shred it, measure it up

By Sheryl G

We shred it, measure it up for recipes and add the oil from the recipe to it, then put in freezer bags and freeze it. Makes it easy to pull out for cakes or breads or casseroles during the winter.

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