What To Do With Late Season Monster Squash

There is perhaps nothing more tender and delicate than a zucchini. Except, perhaps, when the zucchini in question is a late season, enormous, oblong monster akin to something out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Anyone who’s ever grown zucchini knows that there comes a point, if your crop is successful, when you turn your head for a second and look back to find one of these mammoths pulling on the vine, half-hidden (creepily) between gigantic green leaves.

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There is perhaps nothing more tender and delicate than a zucchini. Except, perhaps, when the zucchini in question is a late season, enormous, oblong monster akin to something out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Anyone who’s ever grown zucchini knows that there comes a point, if your crop is successful, when you turn your head for a second and look back to find one of these mammoths pulling on the vine, half-hidden (creepily) between gigantic green leaves.

The other day while helping out at my kids’ school (Hayground School in Bridgehampton) where there is a vast edible garden, my son and his teacher Jon Snow rolled a cart over to me filled with green beasts formerly known as tender little zucchini. “Mom, you want one?” my son asked. “Take two, take as many as you want,” Jon urged. I instantly knew my answer.

While other parents screwed their faces up in confusion and disgust, I grabbed several, exclaiming, “Zucchini bread!”

Let me make this clear: I do not advocate slicing and sautéing large-sized, late season zucchini. I do, however, highly recommend shredding it. The trick is to slice the thing the long way down and de-seed it as one might other more hard-skinned squash or melon. Then, grate or shred it on a hand grater or by food processor, which will yield enough delicious meat for several zucchini breads that can be sliced up and frozen. Imagine how warm and tasty it will be one January morning for breakfast.

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With two of the squash my son picked, I made bread and also froze four additional bags of grated zucchini, each bag containing one and a half cups. I squeezed the air out of sandwich ziplock bags and popped them into the freezer to be used later for pasta sauces, casseroles, soups, and perhaps more zucchini bread or muffins. It’s like getting at least six delicious meals out of two seemingly unusable vegetables.

So this year, forget the compost bin or — heaven forbid — the trash. Get those huge zukes de-seeded and shredded, and get them into something delicious.

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Erica’s Tried and True Zucchini Bread (Inspired by Aunt Jane’s Recipe, Circa 1978)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease sides of two bread tins (note: long baguette tins take longer to cook in the middle) and cut parchment paper to fit bottom of pans.

Whisk together:
3 cups unbleached whole grain white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon allspice

Separately, whisk together:
4 eggs
1 cup organic raw granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar

Then fold into egg mixture:
3 cups shredded or grates zucchini
¼ cup apple juice
9 tablespoons melted butter

Mix wet ingredients with dry, stirring with wooden spoon until just mixed. Pour batter into bread tins, filling each about half way. Bake for 35 minutes at 400°F, then rotate and bake another 10 minutes at 300°F. Let cool before removing from pan. Slice and freeze or eat right away. This recipe can also be used for zucchini muffins (makes about 24).

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Erica-Lynn Huberty

Erica-Lynn Huberty grew up on the East End, and has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Sculpture Magazine and other publications. When not writing and making art, she can often be found in the garden growing good things to eat.