What to do with all that Zucchini!
Squash and Zucchini are piling up right about now! In fact, about this time every year, they are always piling up. If you garden, then you know what I mean. We are right in the middle of gardening and harvesting season. We are pulling baskets full of produce daily and of course we are planning, prepping, freezing, canning and dehydrating.
As prolific as most squash plants are, it doesn’t take many to have a really nice yield. Which is great…but then you’ve got to figure out what all you’re gonna do with them! While there are actually quite a few different things that a person can do with the various squashes, I have a particular ‘go-to’. When my kitchen begins to look like the procure section of the local grocery store, I have to make quick work of all of my produce prep.
I use zucchini in a variety of ways, but most of the recipes that I like require one of two preparations; grated zucchini for breads, brownies, etc (don’t tell my kids) and zucchini sticks for baking. The latter is my family’s fave! In fact, it seems to be the fave of anyone who dines with us, so I thought I’d give you guys a quick run-down of the process.
After rinsing my zucchini, I cut off both ends and slice it into sticks, approximately 1/2″ square sticks (kinda like French fries). Don’t worry if you turned your back one day and your zucchini got a little big, it’s ok. Just toss the seedy part into the compost and roll on.
I use this nifty little chopper thing that makes quick work of all of my fruit and veggie chopping. There’s certainly nothing wrong with cutting them by hand, by it would never end around our place.
To freeze or to munch…or both
From that point you can go in two different directions…or both. If you just want to freeze what you have for preparing another day, then all you need to do is drain the excess water off of them and bag them into freezer bags. It’s so quick and simple and it makes me feel like I’m really getting a lot done when I can begin to see my countertops again!
If you want something yummy to munch on, then save out some of the zucchini sticks for the following preparation.
I always give them another quick rinse and let them drain in the colander. While they are draining, I whisk up a couple of eggs on a plate and the ‘breading’ ingredients on another. I’ve seen several variations on this but I tend to use about a cup of Panko to 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese. Mix it together and you’re ready to go. Once the zucchini have drained, I add a little salt and pepper and start coating them in egg and then in the breading mix. Sometimes I coat them twice if I feel like a little more breading… It’s all up to you.
Lay them out in a single layer on a greased cookie sheet and bake them for about 20 minutes at 425. The breading will begin to get golden brown. It’s also a good idea to flip them over about halfway through the baking time. When they are done, we dip them in ranch; marinara works too. They make a terrific side dish, appetizer, snack or whatever. (But be sure to make plenty, as they tend to go very quickly!)