Monday, October 31, 2011

Attack of the Monster Zucchini!!!!

This is somewhat of an outdated story.  It should have occurred at the same time as my taking down my garden for the fall, but I just didn't have time to get it typed up.  Live with it.

I have the same issue every year.  I'm out picking zucchini, and at some point I stumble across the LARGEST ZUCCHINI IN THE HISTORY OF EVER.  It wasn't there the previous day.  I looked.  There's no way that I could have missed a zucchini this big, or even a zucchini one day less that big. And then I grumble to myself and pick it.

And then, I stop dead in my tracks and curse.  I should have let it grow!  It's already too big to use; I should have just let it keep growing and see what happens.  Maybe I could actually grow the largest zucchini in the history of ever and go on to win a prize and get put in the Guinness Book of World Records and go on TV talk shows and pimp out my blog.  It would be awesome!

And, this year, I actually accomplished it.  No, not the actual biggest zucchini in the history of ever, or any of the other stuff above, but the general foresight to not pick the big ass zucchini.  It's something.


According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the longest zucchini ever grown was 7 feet 10.3 inches, and the heaviest zucchini ever grown was 64 pounds, 8 oz.  I did not come close to this.  My zucchini was thee feet nine inches, and weighed about 16 pounds.  Still big, though.

The biggest surprise, in my opinion, was when I went to cut into it.  I had to cut into it to weigh it, because my kitchen scale only goes up to 7 lbs, and it was rock hard!  Rock hard like a winter squash.  I immediately assumed that the inside was going to be terrible, and even went so far as to throw some of it into the compost bin after cutting it up.  But the more I cut, the more I felt like I was cutting up some sort of hard winter squash.  Even the inside was kind of orange and squash like.  The seeds had hardened like a pumpkin, and the inside part was even starting to get stringy like a winter squash.



So I decided to treat it like one.

I peeled off the skin with a sharp knife, scooped out the guts in the center, and cubed up the remaining squash.  I popped a small bit in my mouth and it tasted like butternut squash.

I threw it in a pot, covered it with water, added a little bit of salt, and boiled it until soft:



Then I mashed it.  I used about half of it to make bread.  The other half I froze.  I'll probably use it to make more bread.  Or cake.

The bread itself tasted like a very mild pumpkin bread.  It was very subtle, but the flavor was definitely there.  I'm not sure if this is a GOOD use for zucchini, and I have a feeling that leaving this one courgette on the vine all year dramatically reduced my zucchini production - but if you end up with a hard ass zucchini at the end of the year, you don't have to throw it away.  I made several loves of this bread, and froze all but one.

Old Zucchini Bread (the zucchini is old... not the bread...)
  • 2 (.25 ounces) packages active dry yeast (I don't use packages.  I have a jar.  It said on the back of the jar how much equaled two packages... but I don't remember what that amount was.  If you don't use packages, there should be a conversion on whatever you do have...)
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees) (L)
  • 1 1/4 cup mashed, cooked old hardened zucchini (or substitute any winter squash) (L*)
  • 1 cup warm milk (110 to 115 degrees) (L)
  • 2 eggs, beaten (L)
  • 1/3 cup melted butter (L)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7 cups flour (L)
In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Add squash, milk, eggs, butter, sugar and salt.  Mix well.  Gradually add 3 and 1/2 cups flour and beat until smooth.  Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.  Turn on to a floured surface and kneed until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about one hour.  Punch dough down.  Shape into 3 loaves, place into greased 8x4x2 inch loaf pans.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.  bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until tops are golden.  Remove from pans to cool on a wire rack.

2 comments:

  1. My seven-year-old son decided we should leave a monster on the plant this year to enter in the fair. Unfortunately, it seems to have stalled in size. Looks like it won't make a big splash at the fair, so we might try to make bread with it. :)

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  2. My giant zucchini are edible. I have been cooking them in 100s of recipes. At what point do they become hard?

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