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I long for a courgette/zucchini glut

Courgettes (zucchini)

I used to agree with Gilbert. Courgettes just didn’t appeal. Perhaps it was an overdose of badly cooked ratatouille back in the seventies – the new craze in the UK at the time.
“It’s the French method for vegetables.” The hostess would chortle.
Back then I was certain that the French would be enraged that this concoction could be claimed to be a cross channel influence. It was vile. Almost enough to put off a vegetarian from being vegetarian.

A similar experience forced Gilbert to ban courgettes, along with their beefier relations – The Marrow Family.
“That nasty watery mush will never darken my table again.”
And I had to agree until I started growing them myself.

The first spring that I tried growing vegetables I soon got caught up in that wild ‘Imusttrygrowingeverything’ surge. I invested in one courgette plant. The small plump ultra fresh courgettes were a revelation – they were sweeter and crisper than the commercially grown ones. They had zroom and loads of elan.  Great raw in a salad, crisped in a frying pan – I didn’t try the dreaded ratatouille but with roasted veg they were a revelation.

Later on I discovered that if they were grated they could be added to slow cooked casseroles and sauces to give them bulk and sweetness. Courgettes take on the flavour of the other ingredients and cook right down. They thicken a sauce and not even a skilled courgette hating detective would never know that they are there.

Even Gilbert has purred.
“This sauce is delicious. Tomatoey yet soft and delicious. What’s the trick? Sugar?”
His wife’s steely gaze stopped any chance of a confession.  I have given Marjorie courgettes in a plain brown wrapper loads of times in the past. 
Although I grow hundreds of courgettes each year I never have a glut.
“Why? How?” I hear you gasp. “I can’t give them away! They are great at first but then we tire of them.”
A well tended plant can become a bit like a miracle courgette production machine. They love water and the occasional feed. I lavish mine with both.

Let me share my secret. There is no need to cosy up to the vicar or dumkp them on doorsteps after dark. At the cottage any courgettes that are not destined for immediate use are grated and popped into bags in the freezer. There’s no need to blanch them. During the winter they are pulled out, spread over pizza bases or added to casseroles, soups and sauces. They could of course be dehydrated and stored for later. Just add them to a slow cooked meal in the slow cooker/crock pot for at least two hours.

Courgettes are a great source of folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C.

Indulge your courgette plants and they will give you a harvest and if you freeze or dry them you’ll welcome them back again and again all year.

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  1. My breakfast of champions is sauteed or steamed zucchini with a poached egg and a little hot sauce. This combination gives me so much energy in the morning.

  2. I have been searching for a recipe for courgettes/zucchini that I found on the internet a long time ago…like 5 years. It had courgettes, tomatoes, 6 eggs, cream and I think it had cheese on top. Does anyone have anything similar?

  3. When I was at University we had a big paper bag filled with courgettes/zucchini left in our lobby with “For starving students” written on the bag. We lived off them all week.

    I have an excellent recipe for a sweet zucchini bread (cake) that is a very good way to win friends and influence people. I’ll post it to the forum under desserts if I can figure out how.

  4. Fran Murray

    Zucchini slice is a great Australian classic for using up the inevitable excess- kind of a quiche without the crust (with cheat’s flour to make sure it all sets) Good picnic food, warm or cold.

    5 eggs
    150g (1 cup) self-raising flour, sifted
    375g zucchini, grated
    1 large onion, finely chopped
    200g rindless bacon, chopped
    1 cup grated cheddar cheese
    60ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil

    Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 30 x 20cm pan. (I sometimes use a ceramic quiche dish)

    Beat the eggs in a large bowl until combined. Add the flour and beat until smooth, then add zucchini, onion, bacon, cheese and oil and stir to combine. I generally save a bit of cheese to sprinkle on top. Pour into the prepared pan and bake in oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through.

    Once you’ve made it a few times, you can confidently ring the changes- add grated carrot, tomato slices, omit the bacon and stir in a small tin of salmon….

  5. janerowena

    I have made ones similar to those too, Veronica. They are heavier and denser, the fritters are lighter. They are both good in their own way.

    I made the fritters last night and added parmesan – that was very good.

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