Posts Tagged ‘zucchini’

The nights are getting cooler, the leaves are starting to turn, and my garden is starting to look a lot more brown than green.

It is time for the fall harvest.

After another two frosty evenings in a row, some plants in the garden are finished for good.

I went out in the garden and harvested all of our tomatoes.

Red – Northern Delight and a few Beefsteak, destined for salsa, bruschetta, and BLT sandwiches (where the “B” stands for Basil – yum!)  I already canned the bulk of them as salsa and stewed tomatoes. 

Green – not even enough to make green tomato mincemeat!  I might try to half (or quarter!) the recipe and at least make a small batch for winter desserts.

I also harvested all of the Mystery Keeper tomatoes, which will keep us in garden-fresh tomatoes for at least the first few months of winter.

The green and yellow beans are finished, but I did manage to have a snack of fresh green peas while I was poking around the garden.  This is my absolute favourite way to eat peas, in fact, they rarely make it into the house (there’s local eating for you!)

Our soldier beans are not quite dry yet (and with the wet season we have had, many have rotted away), but I did collect a small bag of the first of the season.  These will be made into baked beans (Hubby’s favourite!) throughout the winter, as well as substituted for other varieties of beans in burritos, nachos, soups and stews. 

And what would a garden harvest be without a zucchini or two?  We almost missed out on these with our cucumber beetle attack, but one plant survived and I have been able to harvest enough for fresh eating on pizza, in omelettes, and stuffed, and have frozen some of the bigger specimens, pre-grated, ready to keep us in muffins (and more muffins!) for the next few months.   I also discovered a wonderful recipe for zucchini waffles which I made yesterday and loved!  Kind of like a waffle version of zucchini bread.  I added orange juice along with the milk in mine for extra flavour. 

I pulled out the pepper plants which are no longer producing, and harvested jalapenos for salsa and jalapeno cheese sauce.  I like to cut them in half, seed them, and then freeze them for later.

The carrots, squash, lettuce, spinach, chard, and potatoes are still growing nicely.  The onions are curing on our deck, although I must admit I have already started cooking with some of them, I just couldn’t resist!

Most of the herbs are still flourishing, except for the basil which I pulled out by the roots yesterday and incorporated every leaf  into making pesto, which I also freeze for later, some in ice cube trays and some in small glass jars.  I of course saved a few plants to go with the delicious tomatoes all over my counter, but their season is almost done. 

I must admit I have a certain satisfaction in knowing that our freezer and store room are starting to fill up with the food that will take us through the winter.  Food that started as just a tiny seed in the ground only a few months ago.  Growing your own food is a wonderful thing! 

What are you harvesting from your garden?

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Zucchini and peaches and blueberries, oh my!  What’s a girl to do?  Make a batch of summer harvest muffins, of course!

Although we lost all but one of our zucchini plants to cucumber beetles this year, we returned from vacation to find this big boy waiting for us:

And with peaches ripening on the counter, and blueberries in abundance, inspiration hit and I made these yummy zucchini muffins with peach pieces throughout and a big blueberry on top. 

Aren’t they pretty?

I used the recipe for “Kitchen Sink Zucchini Muffins” but added 3/4 cup of finely chopped fresh peach instead of the other add-ins, grated a little extra nutmeg into the batter, and then topped each with a plump blueberry before putting them in the oven. 

Would you like a bite? 🙂

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We have been very lucky with our gardens the past few years that we have not had a lot of trouble with insects on our favourite crops.

Not so this year.

Not too long after they sprouted, the leaves of our squash, cucumber, and zucchini plants started to get holes in their leaves.  I must admit that, at the time, I was too busy trying to get all the gardens cleaned out and planted that I didn’t think much of it at the time. 

But yesterday, while I was weeding, I discovered that our plants were looking pretty poor, and also that they were covered in these little yellow and black striped bugs.

A little Google detective work led me to discover that our garden has been attacked by the aptly named cucumber beetle.  They will eat the leaves, flowers,  and fruit of the plants, mate (and let me tell you, there was a lot of mating going on yesterday!), and each female will lay 1500 eggs in the soil at the bottom of the plant.  When the larvae hatch they will feast on the roots of the plant.  Yep.  Not a gardener’s best friend.

So now, how to get rid of the little beasts?

The “pick and squish” method of bug removal which has worked well for me with slugs and cabbage worms is not effective with these quick-moving and flying bugs (although they are an easy enough target when mating…) 

So yesterday I made a batch of some old-fashioned insecticidal soap (recipe below) and went bug hunting.  I have to admit, I did get a certain joy out of seeing the bugs falter under the spray of the soap, and the ants were happy as they dragged all of the carcasses away to their nests (homicidal clean-up: nature at its best)  But the fight is long from over.  The soap is only effective if the bugs get hit with it, so I missed any that flew away, or that were hiding.  I went hunting twice yesterday and found about the same number of bugs each time, and I am sure I will find more out there today.  But it’s a start in the right direction, and hopefully in time to rescue at least some of our plants. 

Next year, we are going to grow these plants under floating row covers so the beetles can’t get at them (an ounce of prevention….)

For this year, I think the squirt bottle and I are going to be good friends.

Make Your Own insecticidal Soap

To two cups of water add 1 tablespoon of liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s).   Mix and spray.

I also read somewhere yesterday that a little oil makes the soap more effective on hard-shelled bugs like these beetles.  So I added 1 tablespoon of olive oil to mine. 

Have you had difficulty with any garden pests this year?  How have you handled it?  Please share your ideas in the comments!

Happy growing!

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Zucchini is something that grows very well in our garden.  So well, that with only 3 plants we (or I…hubby won’t touch it) ate it all through the summer, shared some with neighbours, and stocked the freezer with bags of grated zucchini for baking.

For the last three years I have frozen enough zucchini to bake muffins and breads all through the winter.

And then I forget about it.

And much of it is still waiting for me when I go to freeze the next batch the following year.  (I know, I know, sometimes I think I’m hopeless too….)

But not so this year!   I made it my mission to test out new recipes this winter and to use up what was in my freezer BEFORE the first yellow zucchini blossoms appeared this summer.

And so it was that I have discovered my new favourite zucchini muffin recipe.  It’s based on one found in “Cook Once a Week: Eat Well Every Day”  by Theresa Albert-Ratchford, but adapted of course to my whole grain, skip the refined sugar, baking style.    They are moist and stay moist even a day or so after baking and freeze exceptionally well (and the double batch is perfect for freezing!) 

Favourite Zucchini Muffins

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup date palm sugar (this is what I had on hand, feel free to substitute whatever sugar works for you)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups whole white flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini (thawed and drained if frozen)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed

Beat the eggs, and add in the honey, sugar, applesauce, oil, butter, almond butter and vanilla. 

In a separate bowl combine the flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.

Add to sugar mixture with zucchini and stir until combined.

Fold in raisins and flaxseed.

Spoon into greased muffin tins and bake at 350 for 15 – 20 minutes. 



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I call these kitchen sink muffins because they seem to have a little bit of everything in them, and they also lend themselves well to substitutions.  The recipe began as a simple muffin recipe which has now been adapted so many times it has become something completely different (and even after all of the recipe testing, my freezer is still full of zucchini!)   They are very moist, very delicious, and shall I dare to say that they are pretty healthy too?

Kitchen Sink Zucchini Muffins

  • 2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 2 cup shredded zucchini (thawed and squeezed dry if frozen)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup add-ins (I used raisins and dried cranberries in this batch but any nut, seed, dried fruit or even chocolate or carob chips would be good)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 12-cup muffin pan. 

Combining the dry ingredients in a large bowl – flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt. 

Here’s a tip – use your own freshly grated nutmeg.  The taste difference is unbelievable, and it really takes no time at all to grate a little into your bowl (and then you’ll really feel like a chef!)  

In a separate bowl or large measuring cup mix the remaining ingredients (except for the add-ins, leave those aside for now.) 

Pour the wet into the dry and gently begin to stir the two together.


While the batter is still undermixed, begin to fold in your add-in ingredients (raisins and cranberries in this batch!)

Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

Ta-da!  Muffin perfection.  They are particularly good while still steamy hot from the oven, yum!

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I am so thankful for all the wonderful comments that all of you leave on my blog.  I really enjoy getting to know you (or keeping in touch) and visiting your blogs, and it makes it feel a lot less like I am just typing into a big vast void.  

And I have learned a lot from you, too.  Like a few weeks ago when I wrote the post on Bruschetta-Stuffed Zucchini, and my friend Andrea (who I haven’t seen in 12 years but somehow we’ve been able to reconnect through the wonders of the internet) left a comment with a recipe for her own version of stuffed zucchini. 

I used my very last garden zucchini to make this dish on the week-end and after tasting it I am wishing that I had a fridge-full again so I could make more. (Someone please remind me of that in August when I start complaining that I can’t keep up with the production and start leaving them on doorsteps…of course left on a doorstep with this recipe attached it might be a fine gift!)  It was definitely too good to let the recipe  just sit in the comments where it might not be noticed.    Here is what she wrote:

I make stuffed zucchini all the time… I LOVE LOVE LOVE zucchini… I stuff mine with the inside of the zucchini sauteed with onion, garlic, peppers, tablespoon of tomato paste some parm cheese and a few seasoned bread crumbs.

Fill up the zucchinis and top with cheddar cheese.

I usually bake the bottom shells of the zucchinis drizzled in olive oil and seasoned with montreal steak spice while I sautee the veggies just to make the cooking process faster.

I made a few adjustments for what I had on hand – I left out peppers and parm and used my unseasoned sourdough bread crumbs of which I have an ever-increasing abundance.  I made a little more stuffing than I could stuff into the zucchini and I confess that I had no problems devouring  it right out of the pan.  Yum.  I am thinking I could use a similar concoction to stuff squash, too. 

Simple and delicious, who could ask for more?  Thanks, Andrea, for sharing!

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I love bruschetta.  I have made it myself and eaten it in many restaurants but my father definitely makes it best.  Chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic and olive oil, marinated for several hours to let the flavours blend, slightly warmed and served on perfectly toasted bread.  Yum.  It’s never quite as good when I make it, but still a favourite. 

So last week when the kitchen was overflowing with tomatoes it seemed like a good thing to make.  But I also had a lot of zucchini to eat up.  So I decided that instead of using bread, I would make the tomato topping and stuff it in the zukes with a little goat cheese and bake it in the oven.  Simple, quick, and a good way to make use of the garden produce.

Technically, by the Italian definition, this dish can no longer be referred to as bruschetta, because by my understanding the word refers to grilled bread with garlic and olive oil, and can include a number of different toppings.  However, in North America, the term is often used to indicate the tomato topping, whether or not it is currently residing on toast.  So, my recipe title makes sense to me, but if you are a stickler for proper language use feel free to call it Tomato-Garlic-Onion-Basil-and-Cheese stuffed Zucchini, or whatever variation you find suitable.

Enough semantics, on to the food!

Bruschetta-Stuffed Zucchini

Start with a nice fresh tomato, or a few handfuls of grape tomatoes.  Cut into small pieces and place into a glass bowl.


Finely chop a small onion (I used red, but any onion will do, even green onions) and add it to the bowl.  Mince as much garlic as you like (I used one, very large clove for lots of garlicky flavour).  Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and add some chopped basil leaves.  Set aside. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Take a medium zucchini, slice it lengthwise, and remove the seeds. 

Fill the zucchini with the tomato mixture.

Top with sliced goat cheese.  Freshly grated parmesan would also be nice if you don’t have any goat’s cheese. 

Bake for about 10 – 15 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender and the cheese melted. 


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