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?
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.