The Great Zucchini Glut
A few weeks of fine weather and our zucchinis (courgettes) are growing at a rate that is almost visible. The collection featured in the photo above are today's harvest from three plants. I am aware that dealing with these prolific producers is a common problem for home gardeners and eating them every day becomes tedious.
There are heaps of delicious online recipes involving zucchinis being baked, fried, grilled, boiled, barbequed or shredded and eaten raw. We have tried all of the above but have three favourite ways of using them.
1) Shredded and frozen. My wife found this is a quick and easy way of processing the vegetable and having an out of season supply for soups and baking.
2) Zucchini Fritters. This is a recipe from Alison and Simon Holst's Meals Without Meat (1990). The original included a red pepper puree, but we just tend to use our own plum or gooseberry sauce or eat them just as they are.
2 free range eggs
1 large garlic clove
3 cups of shredded zucchini (firmly packed)
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of self-raising flour (approx)
(for 4 main servings)
In a medium bowl beat the eggs to combine white and yolks. Crush garlic and add to the eggs. Mix again.
Add the three cups of shredded zucchini and the parmesan cheese, then stir in enough of the self-raising flour to make a batter of fritter consistency.
The Holsts recommend making then into small cakes and cooking them in oil 5 mm deep until they are golden brown and the centres firm. We don't tend to use as much oil and often make them larger, but cook them a little longer. I guess how you normally cook fritters would work.
3) The Best Zucchini Cake. We have tried a number of zucchini cakes including a Holst chocolate one, which is nice, but my favourite has been adapted from one that I found online and where a community of bakers had already adjusted quantities to make it work better.
I have found it is a very forgiving recipe (it has never disappointed) and is very versatile as I use raw sugar rather than refined, wholemeal flour and throw in whatever dried fruit I feel like at the time (chopped apricot, raisins, sultanas...) and sometimes a cup of coconut. You can apply a cream cheese icing like a carrot cake, but I generally don't bother as it tastes fine without adornment (especially if you have included dried fruit).
The other great thing about this recipe is that it uses three cups of zucchini and makes either three 9 inch (23 cm) diameter cakes or one big one. I just line a small roasting tin (34 by 26 cm) with baking paper and just make one.
3 cups of flour (I use wholemeal)
2 cups of raw sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
4 free range eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups grated zucchini
(Variations include adding combinations of dried fruit and coconut, and I have even swapped the cinnamon with cocoa)
Preheat the oven to 165 degrees C
In a medium/large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar and salt. Mix well.
In another smaller bowl beat eggs, oil and vanilla together. Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and mix well. Stir in the shredded zucchini. Pour into oiled cake tins or papered roasting tin.
Bake at 165 degrees C for around 25 minutes. We stick a knitting needle into the centre and ensure that it comes out clean before removing from the oven.