I grew up with a hippie mother and have yet another bit of evidence: The album by Mary Lu Walker called Middle Age Middle Class Mama Songs filled our house in Delano, California every summer as we put up our feet up after working long days in a 1/3 acre herb garden. (When I say “we worked long days,” I do mean “mom worked long days and I helped a bit or watched.”) Our favorite song on Mary Lu Walker’s album was her ode to zucchini. To get a sense of the times and Walker’s zucchini mania, here is a clip of the song. It is an absolute classic in this household with memorable lyrics:
“Zucchini! Zucchini! Nature’s own Xerox machine. An Italian delight that grows in the night, tender and juice and green….” “So you search every day and you’re sure that you’ve found every zucchini in sight. Next morning you’ll find ten or twelve on the vine that sneakily grew in the night.”
Mary Lu Walker captured the essence of zucchini: How exciting! We get to eat all of this zucchini! Oh my gosh! What will we do with all of this zucchini? As we acknowledge the awesomeness of Mary Lu Walker, we offer you help as your garden’s Xerox machine spits out zucchini after zucchini. We begin with Mary Lu Walker and some of her dining suggestions:
“Zucchini for breakfast, zucchini for lunch, zucchini for snacks in between. I have cooked it for days in thousands of ways in dishes unheard of or dreamed. Boiled or scalloped, French fried or stuffed. It’s turning my fingernails green!”
Zucchini for Breakfast
For breakfast, do not overlook the simple: sauteed zucchini in a scrambled egg dish. Of course, even more fun is zucchini pancakes using frozen zucchini. Top your pancakes with zucchini jam from the Hillbilly Housewife. (I have the sense that Mary Lu Walker would love that handle…)
Zucchini for Lunch
When we are overloaded with zucchini, our go-to method is to saute a large skillet full first thing in the morning, add it to the scrambled eggs at breakfast, and then eat it again as a side dish throughout the day. However, your side dish options are endless:
- Roast them along with your other produce to create a platter of roasted vegetables.
- Create a medley of steamed vegetables with cheese.
- Pickle them in vinegar following this recipe at 101 Cookbooks.
- Use a traditional brine fermentation method to make a cultured zucchini pickle.
- Grill your zucchini sticks on your barbecue grill.
- Batter and fry your zucchini sticks. Tempura zucchini is an excellent option.
- Make a zucchini cornbread.
Zucchini makes an excellent main dish as well. Here are two of our favorite zucchini-based dishes: zucchini and pepper saute and zucchini casseroles. Our go-to summertime soup is the zucchini-rich albondigas. Consider a zucchini quiche. You can even harvest your squash blossoms, stuff them with cheese, batter them, and fry them. You can read more about squash blossoms if that idea strikes your fancy. End your meal with a chocolate zucchini cake or even zucchini cookies. Some people enjoy it candied or even candied and dehydrated to make “zucc-raisins” (what we believe may be an original concept from this website).
Zucchini for Snacks in Between
Zucchini bread is the classic zucchini snack food, but consider dehydrated and spiced zucchini chips. Roast some zucchini seeds while you are at it and mix the seeds with your favorite nuts and dried fruit for a never-before eaten trail mix. You can also hydrate and nourish yourself with a zucchini juice if you have a juice extractor. The flavor is mild. Mix in your favorite juicing fruits for a refreshing treat.
If I See Another I’ll Scream!
Zucchini! Zucchini! If I see another I’ll scream. An Italian delight that grows in the night, tender and juicy and green.