Part of Mt. Zucchini here on The Little Farm
(Yeah! We got a new camera - for free!)
Day Four of Zucchini Week and Farmer Ron harvested three more of the weapons, I mean beauties, out of the garden. Do you know what this means? It's time to start shredding zucchini.
When the zucs started coming fast and furious around the Little Farm, we eat lots of zucchini in lots of different ways - soups, pasta, salads, muffins, desserts - as soon as its harvested. But there is no way we can eat all of them. That would be as impossible as trying to keep myself from eating the bar of Lindt Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt hiding from my family in the cupboard. It just isn't going to happen.
Nope, when we start to get buried under a mountain of zucchini, we get out the food processor and shred the things. You can shred them with a hand grater, too, and I did for years before my good friend the food processor arrived. After shredding them, I put them into Ziploc bags in 4 cup portions and off to the deep freeze in the basement they go. Last summer, we ended up with 180 cups of shredded zucchini down there. That's a lot of zucchini. Guess what? There is none left now! Yep, we went through it all.
Lots of the shredded zucs ended up in the muffins we ate over the winter, but a good deal of it was snuck into various other foods to give them just a bit more nutrition and bulk. Saucy Italian dishes and soups are the other places the shredded zucchini end up the most. No one guessed they were having a little zucchini in their lasagna, spaghetti sauce or chicken soup. He he he! (That's my evil Mom laugh.)
A warning about shredded zucchini that's been frozen...it gets really mushy and VERY watery. If you're using it in a soup or sauce and need some extra liquid, just dump the whole bag in. If you don't need more liquid or you're using the zucchini in muffins or cake, you HAVE to drain off the water before you use it. Draining it is easy, just open a smallish hole in the Ziploc bag and squeeze. You'll be amazed how small the amount of zucchini in the bag is once all the water is gone.
Sometimes the shredded zucchini doesn't head to the freezer. Last year, I used some of it to make Mock Zucchini Apricot Preserves. Turns out Mock Zucchini Apricot Preserves is just another way of saying, "delicious!" I loved it on wheat toast. Mmmmmm.
Mock Zucchini Apricot Preserves
from "Meals of Grace," a cookbook by the lovely ladies of First Baptist Church in Merced, CA
makes 4 pints
6 c. shredded zucchini
1 c. water
6 c. sugar
1 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple
2 T. lemon juice
1 6 oz. package of apricot jello
Wash, peel and shred zucchini. Put into a large pot, add water and boil for 6 minutes. Add sugar, pineapple and lemon juice and boil for 6 more minutes. Add apricot jello and boil for 6 more minutes. Pour into jars and seal. If you are going to eat the preserves soon, you can just keep them in the fridge. If not, process these in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
Tomorrow we get to the good stuff - Chocolate Zucchini Cake and more!