Invasion of the Zucchini

(sorry I’m late this morning! I’m in slow…motion….)

We are four weeks into our CSA and I have to say, I’m sold.

Maybe my mind will change when it’s August and we are inundated with tomatoes, but for the time being, I’m really loving this. Husband gives it a thumbs-up, too. In short, if you eat….try a CSA.

In our home, I’ve made a concerted effort to watch the food that we buy and prepare. Did you know that the average person throws away about 1 pound of food a day and about 1/3 of all their edibles that they buy? Overall, that translates to about 30 BILLION pounds of food a year that the citizens of the United States are simply pitching. And that’s not to say that it’s all rotten food either. Some of it is food that just went forgotten in the dark corners of the fridge. Ok. That’s horrifying, especially when I just saw an ad for childhood hunger on the boob tube the other day. We need to fix this.

I’ll never forget the first Thanksgiving that my husband (then boyfriend, aka fellow accomplice to “living in sin”) and I shared in our first apartment in Chicago. I was so excited to cook…anything I want on the menu! in my own kitchen! I scoured cookbooks and for dessert settled on  a great recipe for bread pudding with bourbon sauce. So there I was cooking away, just charging through the recipe…and when I put it all together I realized that I had made a bread pudding that served TWENTY. There were two of us in attendance for that dinner.


As a person can only eat so much bread pudding, that holiday we did contribute rather significantly to the nation’s waste. It was delicious, though. Lesson learned: read the WHOLE recipe through first.

Over the years, I’ve honed my cooking skills, learned to read recipes better and tried to keep up with the ever-changing needs of my growing family (“you ate how many bowls of cereal this morning??” ” I just bought that box yesterday”. Sigh), which with two kiddos is pretty tricky sometimes. There are days when they eat everything that isn’t nailed down and then other nights it’s pick, pick, pick. Can we just please choose one? Work with me here, people!

So at the moment, from our CSA haul this week I have nine zucchini and six summer squash sitting on my counter. Honestly, it looks somewhat obscene. And, as I explained to my husband, I feel ultra-compelled to use every item that arrives each week from the farm. Somehow, since we went out of our way to join, I have a different vision of our purchases. Maybe it’s because we met the farmer and see how she sweated her butt off to pick these beautiful bunches of kale for us. Or maybe it’s because we know that we are getting the freshest of the fresh and we’d be idiots not to take advantage of that. Who knows what it is exactly, but there’s certainly a tad of pressure here to Cook It All.

It’s a funny little rat race of sort, but it puts your culinary mettle to the test. How can I cook fourteen (that’s where I started on Monday) zucchini this week and not do it in a way that leaves my family feeling like they never want to see another zucchini for as long as they live?

A delicate balance.

So far, four were used for Zucchanoes (zucchini canoes filled with beef and rice-yum) and one monster one went to a zucchini bread that somehow turned into an epic fail and YET AGAIN I contributed to the nation’s garbage problem. I supposed the birds could have enjoyed it but: 1. my husband or any visitor to our home would have been a bit puzzled to see a zucchini bread out in the lawn and 2. I don’t think the birds would have liked it…it was that much of a fail. Why bring down the aesthetics of the neighborhood and poison local foul when you can just pitch it in the bin under the sink? Hmm.

This weekend, I will attempt to not add to the waste AND use the nine remaining zucchini. Report on Monday. Wish me luck.

6 thoughts on “Invasion of the Zucchini

  1. Hi April! I’m loving the blog. Since we have a vegetable garden, I can totally relate to your zucchini problem. One thing to consider if you get overwhelmed, is to just give things away. I’m sure I’d probably not be so inclined to do it if I was paying for a CSA, but it’s amazing how much people really appreciate a free zucchini or cucumber (want one or thirty?). Also, blanching and freezing green beans, broccoli, kale (great in soups) and tomatoes is the BEST. If you don’t have it (I bet you do though), buy a vacuum sealer.

    I have a good zucchini bread recipe if you want it. Also, I’d love your cold sesame noodle recipe. It sounds so good! Keep up the great blog! K

    1. Hi Kayley! So happy to hear that you are enjoying the blog. I’m really enjoying writing it! 🙂 Funny you should mention giving the zucchini away, as I gave some friends a big bag of them! Almost felt a touch guilty saddling them with “here, cook 10 zucchini!”, but they loved them. I’ll swap you your zucchini recipe for the sesame noodle recipe (i’ll have to look at past posts and see which day I posted that). We will both have wonderful things to savor in the coming days…

      1. It’s a plan. I’ll message you on FB with the recipe sometime this weekend. Pillsbury also has a good Italian zucchini pie recipe that you can find online. Congratulations on finding a new home for your surplus zucchini. Have a great weekend!

  2. Food waste is a huge problem and while the average person does toss a lot, the average food market and restaurant toss even more. We could end hunger if we eliminated the waste stream. My vegetable challenge at the moment is okra. I have a couple of recipes that I like but none that my kids will eat. Last year I ended up dehydrating a lot of it which was good to have for soups and stews throughout the year.

    1. I hear you…amazing (and so unbelievably frustrating) to think that we *have* the food for everyone..but somehow it doesn’t get spread around properly. ARGG! As for okra, I adore okra. Have you tried baking it like zucchini fries? I usually just chop it into little rounds and saute it gently with a little olive oil and sea salt. Stir constantly and don’t overcook…let it stay nice, bright green. Somehow, it doesn’t get gluey and my youngest daughter gobbles it up!

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