A zucchini for your thoughts …
Taking Chris’ advice, we planted a garden. Never had a garden before. We rented a 20′ X 40′ plot in the “community garden” and started sowing seeds and transplanting on April 1, 2020. What a learning experience this has been!
So far, our most prolific crop has been zucchini. We planted 8 zucchini plants in total. To date, we have harvested in the neighborhood of 60-70 zucchinis. Holy cow, what do you do with so many zucchinis? Yesterday, after being out of town for 3 nights, we harvested around 25 zucchini’s…among other produce. We decided to share our zucchini with our friends …
So, we did a drive-around and made 9 surprise deliveries, mostly to closed-in community friends. We gave away grocery bags of zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers. They loved the visits. Of course, we social distanced and didn’t go into anybody’s home. But, we did stand outside and talk briefly. There are a lot of lonely people in our communities and a zucchini is a great conversation starter, lol.
What a great way to build our relationships with our community while learning about how to garden!
Although we can’t possibly eat all of this produce, we can use it to build our personal resilience by giving it away.
We are starting to explore how to preserve our produce, too. I bought some jars & lids and a water bath canner from Tractor Supply. That may be our next learning adventure for building our future resilience.
Now, I’m wondering what others in the PP tribe are doing with their harvests. A zucchini (penny) for your thoughts. Are you canning, preserving, freezing, selling, donating, etc? What are your thoughts? Share your ideas here please.
I have been gardening for as long as I can remember. I learned that diversity is the key: having many different plants that will be ready for harvest at different times. Also, having plants that thrive in cold and some that thrive in hot weather, since this becomes a somewhat unpredictable variable in the anthropocene. The extra, which cannot be eaten today like the 100th zucchini of the week, I donate some to friends and preserve the rest for the winter. Some of the produce is best preserved by canning, other by freezing, still other by dehydrating or fermenting. Not one method is suitable for all. Dehydrated beans do not taste good, but fermented dilly beans are delicious. It is a fun learning process. Enjoy!
Hi Steve – You brought back a great memory. My sister & b-law made Salt Lake City their 1st home circa 1976, and did the garden thing just as you are describing. Their solution with the over abundance of zucchini was to publish a homemade cookbook of all of the ways zucchini could be used. I at that time was a graphic designer so I helped. The books were printed, collated, and plastic spiral bound at a sheltered workshop and we came up with as many ideas as we could to distribute and sell the cute cookbooks. That project kept us busy on and off for at least a couple of years. There are so many things you can do with zucchini and my sister tested all of the recipes in the book. To this day, she’s a great and creative cook. I would encourage you to check out zucchini recipes online, etc. All these years later I am sure there are some wonderful new and improved, recipes to be found. A few of my favorites were lemon zucchini bread, zucchini in sour cream dill sauce, & chocolate zucchini cake. Bread recipes freeze well. My favorite all time cooking advice and recipe source is America’s Test Kitchen. They triple plus test all their recipes and share all their secrets. Angi
I have chickens, so I give extra eggs to my boss and sell some to friends. But not for much money.
Yes. Gardening almost always seems to lead directly to food skills development and community building!
Here in zone 5 there won’t be zucchini for another 6 weeks or so, but I might as well get my head around the onslaught to come!
– Dehydrated zucchini chips for snacks, lightly salted and herbed
– Dehydrated zuke slices or chunks for winter stews or soups (great with peppers, eggplants & tomatoes too)
– Zukes as a major ingredient in canned relishes. These are incredibly delicious and colorful in winter months if you like tangy and summery tastes. Can substitute zuke for cuke.
– Mystery marmalade for canning. I found this recipe tasted great, though very sweet, but lost color over time, so next batch will have a lot more grated orange peel or other color enhancer.
– Thick slices of zukes grilled with olive oil and herbs, plus cheese, wine and olives.
I started out with canning as my major tactic for food preservation but have really moved over to dehydration. Both are a lot of work, but canning involves hours and hours of high heat and though delicious, the product has been cooked to death. Dehydrated foods are still raw, and keep very well in jars. I use canning for treat and gift foods, and dehydration for real eating. Please become aware of botulism before canning if you are not already. In the anaerobic environment of canned foods the spoors of this terribly poisonous nerve toxin can multiply. The way to control for this is the acid balance and sugar content in recipes, so where the recipe comes from is important. Canning jar companies and university extension websites are good sources.
Anyway, wait until the tomatoes hit! But they are fantastic dehydrated.