Stacy Cowley is CNNMoney's tech editor. She's in a complicated relationship with her CSA and explores the odd vegetables that show up in her haul in CSI: CSA. Previously, she fell in love with the weirdness of kohlrabi.
I have a zucchini the size of a baseball bat lurking on my fridge’s bottom shelf. It has a pack of cousins jammed into the veggie drawer, and my freezer is stuffed with roughly seventeen zillion pounds of squash creations.
It’s the problem every CSA subscriber or veggie gardener faces all summer long: The zucchini explosion.
These things are the rabbits of the plant world. During a long, dry July stretch when practically nothing else was coming up at my CSA’s farm, the zucchini merrily ran rampant. We got massive hauls of it each week; the leftover squash took to leaping off the vines and accosting those who wandered past. I’ve known home gardeners who become like drug pushers: “Oh, you have to take some of my zucchini home with you! No really, take some damn zucchini.”
By July, it was clear that my battle plan needed escalation. Zucchini soup became a biweekly occurrence: I alternate between rosemary-and-potato and saffron-and-cream versions, with occasional forays into basil, curry and other spices.
Next came daily rations of zucchini bread. The recipe I use makes one loaf; I double it every time and make muffins as well. That lets me blow through a solid pound of squash at once (the leftovers freeze well).
But for every zucchini I successfully kill off, I swear four more appear. They spawn; it’s the only explanation.
I’m not the only one with a produce problem. There’s an entire blog devoted to combating the zucchini invasion - from which I first learned about National Sneak Some Zucchini onto your Neighbor's Porch Day - and a Pinterest page devoted to All Things Squashy.
Sure, there’s the obvious things to do with zucchini - fritters, fritattas, bread-and-bake, or toss chunks in pasta sauces and stir frys– but it’s the wackier ideas that intrigue me. Zucchini can stand in for potatoes in baked chips, tater tots, “fries” and latkes. Long ribbons tossed with parmesan and pine nuts make a tasty no-cook salad. You can sneak zucchini into cookies, fake apple pie, mock “crab” cakes, and even cheesecake.
I figure deploying five or six of those recipes at once might finally make a dent in my stash. Next year, I’m heading this problem off at the start: I’m eating nothing but zucchini blossoms for the entire month of June. I think of it as culling the herd.
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