I'm not crazy about zucchini, particularly cooked, but we're working it out. Raw or lightly cooked, it has such a mild flavor that it's relatively unobtrusive. We've been making zucchini hummus and zucchini pancakes (I shredded carrot, powdered garlic and onion, and chopped bacon. The bacon really makes the dish!). I made zucchini "noodles" by shaving thin strips, which I mixed into a curry. Tonight I'm making this soup (roughly, anyways). (Edit: The soup turned out awesome. It's a cream soup with no cream! LemurGirl even asked for seconds.)
For surprising uses... it works well as an ice cream base.
- Zucchini-Cantaloupe Ice Cream
- 1/2 cantaloupe (ours was one the small side, and the flavor was noticeable, but not particularly strong. Half a normal-sized cantaloupe would probably work well.)
- 1 normal-sized zucchini
- 1 cup shredded coconut (not strictly necessary - I used the leftover pulp from making coconut milk)
- Coconut milk (just enough so that everything else will blend)
Cut cantaloupe and zucchini into chunks. Put in blender with coconut, and blend until smooth, adding just enough coconut milk to allow it to blend. Put mixture in ice cream maker, or freeze into ice cubes then blend in a high-power blender or food processor. The blender method didn't work particularly well for us. We usually use the ice cream maker, but LemurBoy desperately wanted to try the blender method, so I decided to give it a shot, but the blades just didn't get an adequate grip on the cubes. I ended up dumping it in the food processor to finish, as I feared burning out the motor on the blender.
Both kids ate it happily. Neither realized the secret ingredient without being told. LemurGirl declared this the best ice cream ever. I didn't add any sweetener, but our tastebuds are pretty adapted to lower sugar. If yours aren't, and your melon isn't super-ripe, you may want to add a little something.
If a green tinge is an aesthetic or pickiness problem, just shave off the peel.
I actually found myself saying, "Gee, I wish we had more zucchini" today. The two medium ones were used for zucchini pancakes for lunch, the large one is earmarked for the soup, and I wanted to try a new ice cream idea, too.
So I went out and looked, and another good-sized one had magically appeared in the two hours since I picked the zucchinis for lunch.
- Mint Chocolate Chip Zucchini Ice Cream
- 2 zucchinis (on the smallish side of medium will give you the most neutral taste)
- mint jelly (or mint extract + sweetener, or maybe even raw mint + sweetener) to taste
- enough coconut milk to allow it to blend
- A tablespoonful of coconut oil (probably not strict necessary. I just felt like throwing it in)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Chocolate chips, or 1-2 tablespoons cocoa powder if you don't have them (as we didn't), but that ruins the all-natural bright green color of the ice cream!
Chop zucchini into chunks to facilitate blending. Blend all ingredients except chocolate chips in the blender. Pour into ice cream maker and use as directed. Stir in chocolate chips if using.
We used homemade mint jelly/syrup made from the mint running rampant in our orchard.
The texture of these ice creams is kind of more like ice milk - using a higher proportion of coconut milk (or real cream) would probably make it creamier. But regardless, still tasty, cold, and kid and adult-approved.
More garden pictures:
Baby in the squash patch
LemurBoy picking leeks for the soup
Chickens in the corn
A friend is getting goats, and asked about what we feed ours. I wrote that we feed them lots of a certain type of weed that grows in our yard, then realized that I should probably check to make sure it's actually safe before I recommended it. I looked in a local weed identification guide, and discovered the weed is called Kochia, and that it's actually wonderful - it has a higher nutritional value than alfalfa hay, and is actually cultivated for animal feed in some areas.
We have literally an acre of this stuff growing. We weed it daily to feed to the goats, but it's impossible to keep up.
Our kochia crop, with large dogs for perspective. The whole yard looks similar. As does the side yard. And the area by the driveway.
Thank goodness we haven't got around to mowing it down! If we can get it cut, dried, and stored appropriately, it should save us some money in animal feed over the winter.