August 28, 2011

GARDEN POST #3: Zucchini Prep!

Posted by Ethne~

Thrifty Nana’s (my mom) garden is going nuts, as is the case in August each year.  I went over to help her pick the ripe fruits (she’s got awesome raspberry bushes) and vegetables (zucchini, peppers and tomatoes) and herbs (tarragon, basil and dill) today, so last night I had to process the huge zucchini I had already to make room for what we’d pick today.

HUGE zucchini

The zucchini were so big, there’s no way the four of us would be able to eat them all, plus we prefer slightly smaller zucchini and these grew a little too big (the seeds get bigger in them).  With these guys, I am planning to preserve them just on their own.  I didn’t have any tomatoes to roast with them, so I did two zucchini-only methods.

First, I got out my food processor with the shredding blade attachment and shredded about half of the zucchini (raw, not cooked).  It made so much!  Since the best chocolate cake in the whole wide world takes 2 cups of zucchini, so that’s how I divided it up.  I took regular sandwich bags, filled each one with 2 cups of zucchini shreds, and then froze them all.  Half of the zucchinis I had made 7 bags, which equals 14 cups of shredded zucchini.  That’s a lot of chocolate cakes, though the shreds can certainly be used in other ways such as in chili, soup, zucchini bread and so on.

Shred Central Station
Easy Mac eating zucchini shreds
straight from the bag!
2 cups of shreds make this OUTRAGEOUS cake

This took care of only half of the zucchini.  For the other half, I plan on making puree (remember this post where I talk about making homemade baby food and Jessica Seinfeld’s book Deceptively Delicious?).

a WOM must

I got out my Ziploc steamer bags and put about 2-inch or so cubes of the raw zucchini up to the bag’s fill line.  The bag instructs that for zucchini you cook a full bag for just 3 minutes.  Fine by me!  While the first bag of zucchini was steaming in the microwave, I replaced the shredding blade with the regular blade in my food processor.  When the 3 minutes of cooking were up, I dumped the cooked chunks into the machine and hit go for about 2 minutes, stopping once to scrape down the sides.

another WOM must

I repeated this process until all the remaining zucchini were cooked and pureed.  I put all the puree into a large stainless steel bowl and left it alone for an hour or two so it could cool.  When cooled, I put 2 ladle-fulls (equivalent of 1 cup) into sandwich bags and sealed those up.  This made up 7 more 2-cup bags of puree, meaning 14 cups.  This puree can be used for soups, sauces, cookies and so on.  I have a great oatmeal cookie recipe from Jessica Seinfeld’s cookbook using zucchini puree, and I CAN’T WAIT to throw this puree into chili on football Sundays.

lots of zucchini puree!  what to do with it all?

The outcome: 14 cups of shreds and 14 cups of puree.  28 total cups of zucchini from those I had on my countertop.  Isn’t that CRAZY??  And totally awesome??  I will surely have to give some of these away because our freezer is nowhere big enough to hold it all.

I got straight to work and made Jessica Seinfeld's
oatmeal raisin cookies...
...which contain the trifecta of mashed
bananas, pureed zucchini and raisins... well as oatmeal and whole wheat flour.  Yum.O.
They taste kinda like banana/zucchini bread crossed
with oatmeal raisin cookies
Shaun requested Nestle tollhouse chocolate chip cookies
and those are on the bottom.  Lucky family!

So now onto processing today’s garden loot.  I’m feeling like a BLT and fried green tomatoes are on the horizon.  Two of Lori’s favorites.  How I wish she was here to eat them with me.  I'll post for you on the ways we make these two dishes to perfection.

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