NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


| Share

What to do With Zucchini

What to Do With Zucchini

            A joke many of us can relate to is that the only time North Dakotans lock their cars is during zucchini season so their neighbors don’t leave the fast producing vegetable in the back seat. Zucchini is one of the easiest vegetables to cultivate in temperate climates such as ours. As such, it has a reputation among home gardeners for overwhelming production.

            The first records of zucchini in the United States date to the early 1920s. It was almost certainly brought over by Italian immigrants and probably was first cultivated in the United States in California. Zucchini is low in calories (approximately 15 food calories per 100 g fresh zucchini) and contains useful amounts of folate, potassium and vitamin A.

            Whether purchasing or picking zucchini -- choose firm, slender zucchini with a bright green color and free of wrinkled skin and soft spots. For best quality, harvest zucchini when it is young and tender, about 6 to 8 inches long and about 2 inches in diameter. As zucchini gets longer and bigger around, it becomes tougher and develops more seeds.


            The larger zucchini are perfect for grating and then baked into zucchini bread. To freeze zucchini, wash and grate or slice. Blanch (heat) slices in boiling water for three minutes. Grated zucchini should be steam-blanched in small amounts for about one minute. Cool the heated zucchini in ice water, drain and package in freezer containers. Leave about ½ inch of head space (the distance from the food to the lid) to allow for expansion. Drain the juice before using.


            Some quick tricks with zucchini:

  • Slice, marinate (try balsamic vinegar) and grill a variety of vegetables including zucchini, asparagus, green onions, eggplant, and mushrooms.
  • Cut up veggies like carrots, zucchini and potatoes. Add them to your favorite meatloaf or soup recipes.

  • Take your favorite lasagna recipe and try adding different combinations of your favorite vegetables between the layers: mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, carrots, zucchini, onions, or eggplant.
  • Add raw zucchini to lettuce and pasta salads.
  • Cut zucchini into sticks and serve with a dip.
  • Slice zucchini, sauté in oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes until tender crisp; toss into a heated pasta sauce for a veggie-packed pasta topping


Skillet Zucchini with Chopped Tomatoes


  • 1 teaspoon light vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 small (6-in/15cm) zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • freshly ground pepper

            In a large nonstick skillet, melt margarine over medium heat; add onions and cook, stirring until softened. Add zucchini and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until zucchini is tender-crisp. Season to taste with pepper.

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.