Grow Your Own: Zucchini

May 14, 2016

Zucchini is a wonderful vegetable to grow in the home garden. It's prolific (yes, we have all heard the stories of ninja bags of zucchini left on doorsteps) but if you have a plan, there is no such thing as too much zucchini. 

Growing it truly is simple as long as you can get water to the plant regularly. I start with plants early in the spring, but it grows quickly enough that you can grow it from seed-even in short seasons. When you plant zucchini, pile up a hill of soil, so that it can stay warm and well drained, although moist. Zucchini does love attention and the better care you take of the plants, the more they will produce. The plants can get quite large, but there are bush varieties that will stay in one place if you have a smaller size garden space. Any way you look at it, zucchini should be in your top 5 vegetables to grow this summer. 

Zucchini produces huge, yellow blossoms before the vegetable, so pluck a few of these blossoms to become stuffed and deep fried. Here is that recipe. There will be plenty more blossoms to turn into the vegetable. Pick the first few batches of zucchini before they are 6 inches long for the most tender dishes. Then, as they get larger than that, zucchini is the perfect size for stuffing. Here is that recipe: 

Stuffed Zucchini

6-8 zucchini (depending on size)
12 cloves garlic, sliced, divided
1- 28 oz can tomato puree
2 large carrots, peeled and very finely chopped in a food processor
1 lb bulk sausage (no casing)
1 large shallot, small dice
6 Italian cheese blend (I use Bordens brand)
olive oil
Preparation
 
1 Oven at 375 degrees.
2 Lets start by making the simple sauce. In a saucepan, over medium heat, add in enough olive oil to coat bottom, half the garlic and the finely chopped carrots. Cook until slightly softened.
3 Add in the can of tomato puree. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer on low for 1 hour.
4 To prep the zucchini, lay it on its side so it doesn't wobble. Cut off each end and cut horizontally to take off just enough to expose the inside on the zucchini. Using a spoon, remove some of the "meat" of the zucchini and set it aside. You want to make sure to leave enough so the zucchini still has structure to it.

5 Rough chop half the "meat" you removed and set aside. 

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