Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Last Zucchini

I was doing some cellar maintenance earlier today. I noticed some mold on the stem end of the last zucchini - left to grow huge last summer, picked just before frost, and then stored. Usually they'll only hold until early January, so I'd been watching this last one - wondering how long it would keep. It looked like now its time was about up, so I brought it inside.

The rind had turned orange, and was almost as hard to cut as that of a winter squash. Inside, the flesh too had turned orange, and had gotten quite fibrous close to the seed cavity. I saved some of the seeds but since I also grow Delicata squash, another C. pepo variety, the two most-likely cross-pollinated. I might plant a few just to see what I get, depending on how much space I have out in the garden this summer.

Stored zucchini aren't cooked the same as summer-fresh ones, but they are good in baked goods. After scraping out the seed cavity and trimming off the hard peel, I had a nice bit of usable flesh (and a bucketful of scraps, which made for a very happy bunch of chickens). Shredded on the large holes of a box grater, I ended up with three tightly-packed cupfuls. One cup, and raisins, made a batch of oat bran muffins (there were twelve, before Aries wandered through). And the other two cups made a big panful of cake-like zucchini brownies (that piece is mine). Also in the photo above, a few more things up from the cellar today: the last of the fresh bell peppers, a bit shriveled with a bit of mold starting on the stems (still plenty more chopped pieces in the freezer though), some stored paste tomatoes (paste, or roma-type, tomatoes store much better than round ones - nowhere near the taste of summer ones, but still better than most supermarket ones), and apples (plenty of those yet, and still in fine shape). The Delicata squash I store inside the house.

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