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Organic Gardening

Get dirty, have fun and grow more food with great gardening tips from real-life gardeners.

Uses for Over-Sized Zucchini

Zucchini plants in your garden can be generous producers, but they can also create zucchini overload. Zucchini seem to grow overnight. Are you wondering what to do with your oversized zucchini? With a few zukes growing to size every couple days, things can get crazy quickly. Pick your zucchini every other day and you will have delicate little zukes that grill up beautifully. Grow too many plants, and you will inevitably miss a few and grow some very nice baseball bats along the way. 

You’ve heard all the niceties about zucchini’s prolific nature. You can sit and watch them grow. Shut your windows and lock your doors when you visit our farm during zucchini season, or you may take home a load. That makes people happy at first. Until they have a few too many plants of their own. Then they will definitely lock their doors. You feel like your refrigerator will fill to busting with zucchini. It can reach emergency proportions.

At our farm, we have a lot of zucchini plants to supply our CSA community. We can’t always manage the every other day picking regime, but the zucchini never stop growing. They won’t let you take a vacation or a break at all. Sometimes you just can’t be there. Longer than three days, they grow tough and thick-skinned. And the ones you missed by accident, the ones hiding from you on purpose, get REALLY big. Those are the baseball bats, large enough to do damage. Even the most fastidious picker will miss a few. So, I offer to you, 13 things to do with an oversized zucchini:

1. Oversized zucchini make great farm signs or birthday cards. Carve into the skin.

2. Make zucchini-crusted pizza.

3. Play baseball. Consider a beet or turnip as a ball.

4. Zucchini bread. Of course. Freezes well too.

5. Clonking war. Just pretend!

6. Zucchini chunkin contest. Can you make a zuke shooter?


7. Make baked stuffed zucchini, as you would a stuffed pepper. It’s a stuffed zucchini boat. I got this inspiration from my cousin, Val, who grew up with this dish at home in Russia, and always a garden in the yard.

8. While you are at it, actually carve out a boat and float it downstream at the creek. Why not?? A bird will enjoy the treat.

9. Carve it like a jack-o-lantern. A zuke-a-lantern. Cut one in half long ways and hollow it out, leaving an inch of flesh and skin. Make designs in the skin. No promises about the candle. 

10. Freeze shredded zucchini in recipe size portions. Label. Four cups will squish down to a cup when defrosted, but just squish the water out and still count it as the original portion—four cups. Cut out foamy seed part in the middle. I do not bother peeling them.

11. If you can prop them up, you’ve got bowling pins.

12. Feed them to the chickens. Bust em first so the hens have access to the good stuff inside.

13. Donate them to a food pantry. They may not be tender, but they cook down fine, especially when shredded and baked, and they make a lot of food. But I’m telling you from experience, even the food bank will turn down zucchini overloads during peak season.

See another blog I wrote about zucchini overload.

Ilene White Freedman operates House in the Woods organic CSA farm with her husband, Phil, in Frederick, Maryland. The Freedmans are one of six 2013 Mother Earth News Homesteaders of the Year. Ilene blogs about making things from scratch, putting up the harvest, gardening and farm life at Mother Earth News and House in the Woods, easy to follow from our Facebook Page. For more about the farm, go to House in the Woods.

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