Zillions of Zucchini

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Summer is here and so are the zucchini! We were recently gone for a couple of days and when we came home, we found several zucchinis that had miraculously appeared. My husband said he had picked everything before we left, but somehow, he missed a few that were very obvious upon our return.

According to the Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition, zucchini is the most popular summer squash in the United States. Summer squash have a tender, light colored inside and are picked while still immature, so the outside shell is also soft. Winter squash are not harvested until mature, so the outside is hard, and the inside is darker and firmer.

Zucchini seem to have a magical way of growing to the point of being too large overnight. The big ones work well to grate and use in zucchini bread. The small ones are most tender and are my favorite to use in recipes. When shopping for zucchini, select the size you prefer and look for those that are glossy with no signs of shriveling, nicks or bruising.

Store summer squash in the refrigerator. Place fruits and vegetables in separate, perforated plastic bags and store in different produce drawers. Make your own perforated plastic bags by using scissors to cut holes in a food grade storage bag. Separating fruits and vegetables will reduce the decaying effects of ethylene produces by the fruits on the vegetables. Use squash within 1-3 days for maximum flavor and freshness. Always keep produce separate from raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Rinse produce under running tap water immediately prior to use, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. There is no need to use detergent or bleach which is meant for non-porous dishes and surfaces, not food. Refrigerate all cut, peeled, or cooked fruits and vegetables within 2 hours.

Growing up, most of the zucchini we has was fried or made into loaves of quick bread. Through the years I have learned there are endless recipes which use zucchini. Try this muffin recipe and enjoy some zucchini today.

Sources: UC Davis Postharvest Technology and The Wellness Encylopedia of Food and Nutrition

Zucchini Carrot Cake Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg. carrot cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, egg, applesauce and oil; mix well. Stir in the zucchini, raisins and pecans. Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean. Makes: 16–18 muffins.