Growing Celery

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Growing celery seems to be something that many gardeners just don’t bother with. It’s fussy about water, takes a long time to mature and is readily available at the grocery. But home-grown celery, like many kitchen garden plants, is worth the effort.

The celery plant has a long history, first as a medicinal mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey, circa 850 BC. It was developed from a plant native to the marshy areas in the Mediterranean called smallage. Smallage had a much stronger flavor than the modern version and the stalks were smaller and shorter. It was used primarily as a flavoring agent until the 17th century, when gardeners and plant breeders began working to improve the wild plant. In addition, there is a root form of the plant called celeriac and leaf celery – similar to smallage – that is used as a flavoring agent.

Growing Celery in My Garden

Celery was once one of the few plants I didn’t try to grow. I thought it was too hot in my area. In this case my biases got in the way of my gardening, since it turns out I can grow celery. If I’m growing celery from seed, I start really early, as in about three months before the last frost. Seeds can take up to two weeks to germinate (which is one reason I failed at celery in the past – no patience!). Those plants are usually out of the ground before the heat really gets going. Even if they’re not, as long as I keep it well-watered and grow it in a shady bed, I can have summer celery.

I can also get a second planting from each celery head: cut off the base and keep it in about an inch of water for 10 days, then plant out in the garden when roots appear. This is much more my style than the seedling routine, as it means celery in about two months instead of four or five. Finally, I can start some seeds about July and let them develop in the cooler fall.

Celery will also winter over quite nicely, although it will go to seed the second year. If you want celery that’s more like the grocery variety, blanch it for about two weeks prior to harvest by wrapping it with strips of cloth, cardboard or something similar. Unblanched celery has a stronger flavor (sometimes even a little bitter), and in my experience the stalks are also smaller. However, unblanched celery has more nutrients, and the stronger flavor is fine for soups and stews.

Celery Nutrition

Celery has anti-inflammatory effects, which makes it a good choice for anybody with a condition like arthritis. The plant provides riboflavin, vitamin, A, C, K and B6, pantothenic acid, calcium, magnesium, folate, potassium and manganese and phosphorus, and has lots of fiber. It’s also relatively high in sodium, which gives dietitians the collywobbles because they think we should limit sodium in the diet. I say ignore the dietitians and eat the celery.

Storing Celery

William Woys Weaver notes that before the days of reliable refrigeration, celery was still stored through the winter. The plants were dug before frost, roots trimmed and green tops cut off. Then the plants were packed in dry sand and kept in a cool, dry place. If your winter temperatures run in the 30s and 40s, you can dig the plants and trench them in an unheated greenhouse. In mild climates you can also try overwintering celery. Come spring, these plants will develop seed stalks. At that point the celery is very strong and tends to be stringy. Harvest the seed for next year’s crop or for seasoning, and pull the plants for the chickens or pigs. I also like to dry the leaves to make celery salt or an herbal salt blend.

Celery Varieties

  • Golden Self-Blanching is an heirloom variety introduced in 1886. It’s a good celery for storage, and as the name implies, doesn’t need to be blanched (for color purposes, anyway; blanching may make it sweeter). It’s a good one for fall harvest.
  • Pascal Giant/Giant Pascal was introduced in 1890. It was developed in France and is a descendant of Golden Self-Blanching, with good, thick, light green stems. All celery varieties need plenty of water, but this one in particular is sensitive to lack of moisture and will quickly become hollow-stemmed. Best as an early fall crop.
  • Utah was released in 1953 by Ferry Morse; it’s a typical celery. It had probably been grown for a much longer period, as the American Fork area of Utah was settled in 1850. Celery and sugar beets were the two major crops in the area. By the 1930s, celery became dominant as soil nematodes caused havoc in sugar beet crops. These varieties don’t need to be blanched and will be sweet if grown correctly (which usually means grown as a fall crop). Tall Utah is a more recent selection, but very similar.
  • Tendercrisp is another modern though open-pollinated variety. Bred by Ferry-Morse, it was released in 1969. It has more resistance to boron and magnesium deficiencies than most celery and is also tolerant of western celery mosaic virus.
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Preserving Summer Squash

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Preserving summer squash is easy. And since they are so productive, you can put a lot of food on the pantry shelf from just a few plants. Summer squash are full of water. That means they don’t freeze or can well, because they turn to mush. the extra water content does help make them easy to use in relish. Surprisingly, they dehydrate quite well, and zucchini chips are pretty tasty. Grated summer squash, on the other hand, freezes very well and can also be dehydrated.

Cultured Zucchini Relish

  • 2 medium small zucchini, grated
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1/2 sweet red pepper, chopped fine
  • 1 medium-sized red onion, chopped fine
  • 1 daikon radish, halved lengthwise and then chopped in 1/8 inch slices, optional
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 grape or oak leaf to maintain crispness (optional)

Mix all ingredients except the leaf in a bowl. Let sit 5 minutes. Press the vegetables for 5 minutes or so by pressing down with a potato masher to assist with release of liquid from the vegetables; there should be a fair amount of liquid in the bowl. The liquid must cover the vegetables once placed in the jar so be sure not to skip this step. Place the leaf in the bottom of a glass quart-sized mason jar (wide-mouth jar is best so that the weight fits in). Spoon vegetable mix into the jar and be sure to pour all liquid into the jar also. Use another smaller jar that fits inside the quart mason jar to act as a weight and keep the vegetables down beneath the liquid. Be sure to leave at least an inch of air space at the top of the jar so that as the veggies ferment and bubble out gases the liquid doesn’t overflow the jar–press the weight down every day to help release the gas bubbles. Put a lid loosely on the jar or cover it with a towel held in place with a rubber band. Leave at room temperature for 3 to 5 days. Depending on how warm it is, the fermentation time will vary so taste the mixture every day. It is ready when it has a tangy taste and smell. At that point move to the refrigerator for long-term storage.

Lacto-Fermented Dilled Zucchini Relish

  • 3 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • Handful of fresh dill, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • Oak, grape, or mesquite leaves, optional

Combine all ingredients except the leaves in a medium bowl and gently pound with potato masher for a few minutes, until a brine begins to form. Transfer all ingredients to a quart jar and press down to allow brine to come up above vegetables, leaving 1-1/2 inches of headspace. Place leaves on top of vegetables followed by a weight to keep the vegetables submerged. Place lid on quart jar, followed by airlock if using. Allow to ferment for 3 to 10 days at room temperature. If not using an airlock, “burp” jar every day for the first few days to allow gases to escape. Transfer to cold storage once it is tangy and bubbly to suit your taste.

Fermented Zucchini Relish

  • 6 cups grated zucchini
  • ½ of a red or white onion, thinly sliced or diced
  • 1 Tbsp fine salt or 1.5 Tbsp coarse salt
  • 1-2 tbsp pickling spice
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 grated carrots
  • Optional: hot peppers like jalapenos

Prep vegetables as noted above, adding to a large bowl to mix. Add salt and spices, gently tossing to combine. Stuff into clean jars, leaving an inch or more of head space at the top. Clean the rim of the jar and weigh down the veggies with a smaller jar, pressing down so that the brine covers the grated veggies. Cover with clean cloth and secure with rubber band. Leave this semi-open vessel on the countertop. Ambient room temps are fine, if it is quite hot in your kitchen move the jars to ferment in a cooler space. The jars may bubble over the next few days, so check them and skim any foam that appears. This helps prevent mold formation. You can check the relish by tasting it at any time, just replace the weight. Within 4-7 days, it will be as tangy as you like it. Then you can put a lid on it and refrigerate.

Canned Zucchini Relish

  • 2 cups shredded or chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup sweet green pepper
  • 1/2 cup sweet red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

Chop the peppers and onions. Shred the zucchini. Place the vegetables in a very large bowl. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of salt. Fill the bowl with cool water until the vegetables are completely covered. Let stand 2 hours. Drain the vegetables and rinse thoroughly with water. Combine the sugar, celery seed, mustard seed, and vinegar in a large saucepan or stockpot. Add the chopped vegetables. Bring all ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Ladle the hot zucchini relish into jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace at the top of the jar. Process the jars of canned zucchini relish in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Makes four half-pints. This canning recipe may easily be doubled, tripled or quadrupled.

Lemon Dill Zucchini Chips

  • 3-4 medium zucchini
  • ½ to 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 2 lemons (juiced)
  • ¼ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt (or to taste)

Slice zucchini very thinly by hand or with a mandoline. Put the sliced zucchini into a bowl and add the dill, lemon juice and himalayan pink salt. Toss until all zucchini slices are covered with the lemon juice mixture. Spread the zucchini out evenly on a mesh tray in a dehydrator. Dehydrate at 115° F for 10 – 12 hours or until crispy.

Zucchini Garlic Chips

  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat an oven to 200°F. Use a mandoline to thinly slice zucchinis into 1/8 inch slices. If cutting by hand, try to ensure slices are the same width. In a large bowl, toss sliced zucchini with all other ingredients. Use your hands to press dill/vinegar mixture onto each individual slice. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly spray with cooking spray and add zucchini chips individually spaced. You may need 2 baking sheets. Add to preheated oven and bake for 2-2.5 hours, or until crisp and very lightly gold in spots. If cutting zucchini by hand, make sure to watch the oven closely towards the end as some slices may need to be removed from the oven before others.

Zucchini and Lemon Jam

  • 2 ¼ pounds zucchini, topped and tailed, and cut into ¼ inch dice
  • 2 ¼ pounds granulated sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp finely shredded lemon verbena leaves (optional)

Put the zucchini into a preserving pan with the sugar and lemon zest. Stir and leave overnight to macerate. Pour in 1 cup water and warm over medium heat, stirring until any remaining sugar crystals have dissolved. Pour in the lemon juice, stir and bring to the boil. Boil until the setting point is reached, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in lemon verbena if using and cool for 10 minutes, then pour into jars and store in refrigerator. You can also preserve by canning as you would any other jam, but the flavor won’t be anywhere near as good.

Super Easy and Delicious Zucchini Butter

  • 2 pounds zucchini, more or less
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or butter, if you prefer
  • 2 minced shallots, garlic, or combination of both
  • Salt and pepper

Coarsely grate the zucchini. Let it drain in a colander for 3 to 4 minutes or until you are ready to begin cooking. To hasten cooking time, squeeze the water out of the zucchini by wringing it in a clean cloth towel. In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil/butter. Sauté the shallots briefly. Add the zucchini and toss. Cook and stir over medium to medium-high heat until the zucchini reaches a spreadable consistency. If you scorch the bottom, turn the flame down! (And scrape those delicious bits into the marmalade for added flavor.) The zucchini will hold its bright green color and slowly caramelize into a nice vegetable jam. Store in the refrigerator. Enjoy on toast or as a side dish all summer long!

Frozen Summer Squash

  • Harvest summer squash, any size. Even the three-footers – don’t be embarrassed, it happens to all of us.
  • Wash well in clear cold water. I like to use a vegetable scrubbing brush.
  • Set up the food processor with the large grater blade.
  • Cut off the ends of the squash and cut crosswise into chunks about 4 or 5 inches long.
  • Cut the squash chunks lengthwise in quarters, sixths, eights or whatever is a good size to fit in the feed tube of your food processor. Don’t bother to remove seeds unless the squash is truly huge and the seeds have started to get hard.
  • Shove them in until the bowl is full. Sometimes I mix yellows and greens, sometimes I keep them separate.
  • Stop the food processor and fill plastic Ziplock freezer bags (or whatever your preferred container is) with two cups each of processed squash. I like the bags because it’s easy to compress the air out and stuff multiple bags in a bigger Ziplock freezer bag, which protects them from freezer burn and means I don’t have to search for lots of small bags in the depths of the freezer. It also means I only have to label one bag, the big one. Two cups is a good size for most recipes, but if you’re only cooking for one, you can use one cup per bag. I don’t generally use plastic anything for food storage, but this is one occasion when I make an exception. Glass jars don’t work well because by the time the squash defrosts enough to get it out, it’s turned to mush. The other thing is that grated veggies like these are particularly prone to freezer burn. Being able to get all the air out improves the keeping qualities, so this is one of the few things I freeze in Ziplock bags.
  • Repeat until you run out of squash.Put them in the freezer. They’ll keep for at least 12 months.
  • To use frozen summer squash: Take the bag out of the freezer and let the squash defrost at room temperature (don’t microwave). Pour off and save the water until you’re done with your recipe. You may want to add a little if a batter or dough looks dry. If you’re making soup, just add it to the soup.
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More Summer Squash Recipes

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Grandmother Sandrock’s Zucchini Soufflé

  • 1 lbs zucchini
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 well-beaten egg

Boil, drain and mash zucchini. Cook onion and garlic in oil until softened. Mix all ingredients with eggs and cheese. Place in greased casserole dish, sprinkle with more Parmesan and bake at 350 for 40 minutes (or until set).

Squash and Zucchini Cakes

  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 3 medium yellow squash
  • 1 cup toasted bread crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup minced sweet onion
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • Marinara sauce, 1 to 2 cups

Grate zucchini and squash with a fine grater. Press between paper towels to remove excess moisture. In a medium bowl, combine grated zucchini and squash and next 7 ingredients. Shape mixture into 2-inch patties, pressing together firmly. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Cook squash and zucchini cakes 3 to 4 minutes per side or until lightly browned. Place onto serving platter and serve with marinara sauce.

Zucchini Blossom Fritters

  • 7-8 squash blossoms
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Coconut oil or lard for frying

Prepare the squash blossoms by inspecting each flower for dirt, or bugs. Give them a gentle rinse with water and dry with paper towels. Remove the pistil from inside each flower; cut a slit alongside the length of each flower to make removal easier. Remove the little green spikes from around the stem of the flowers. Saute the blossoms with the garlic and olive oil over medium high heat until softened and lightly browned. Remove from the skillet and chop coarsely. Transfer to a bowl and add in the chopped basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, egg and milk. Use a fork to gently beat the ingredients together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl and stir to combine. The mixture should be slightly thicker than a pancake batter. If needed, add in a bit more milk. Pour enough oil or lard into a skillet to coat the bottom by about 1/4″; heat over medium high heat. Scoop the batter by the heaping tablespoonful and drop into the hot oil. Use the back of a spoon to flatten each fritter slightly. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the fritter over and brown the other side. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle lightly with some coarse salt, and chopped fresh basil. Serve while hot.

Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Zucchini, Sweet Corn and Chèvre

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing the blossoms
  • 1 large fresh or cured shallot or spring onion, diced
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • kernels from 1 ear of corn
  • 4 ounces fresh chèvre (goat cheese)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 16 – 18 squash blossoms, free of bugs, stamen snapped off
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the arugula
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 cups baby arugula
  • lemon juice

Heat the oil in a wide skillet over a medium flame. When the oil shimmers, add the shallot. Cook for about 10 minutes, until translucent and tender. Add the zucchini and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 minutes. Add the corn and cook for 1 minute longer. In a medium bowl, stir together the cooked veggies with the chèvre and basil. Set aside. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Prepare a medium bowl full of ice water. Drop the blossoms into the boiling water a few at a time and cook for 10 seconds. Lift them out and drop them into the ice water. Preheat the oven to 350º. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil. With the blossoms still submerged (the petals are easier to separate under water), carefully open up one of the blossoms and drape the petals over your hand, then lift it out of the water, tilting it to drain. Place 1 tablespoon of the chèvre mixture inside the blossom, then close the petals around it, and place it on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining blossoms. (The blossoms can be covered and refrigerated for up to 8 hours at this point.) Brush the blossoms with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt. Bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes, until heated through. Meanwhile, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook, tossing, until warm and beginning to release some of their juices, a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the arugula in a medium bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and salt and pepper. When the blossoms are hot, divide the arugula among 4 to 6 plates. Top with 3-4 blossoms, then spoon the warm cherry tomatoes over the blossoms.

Pasta with Corn, Zucchini, Squash Blossoms and Cheese

  • 8 ounces maltagliati, penne or rotini pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided plus more for garnish
  • 2 medium leeks, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into half moon shapes
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound baby zucchini trimmed and thinly sliced
  • Kernels from 2 corn cobs (about 2 cups)
  • About 12 fresh squash blossoms
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives or chervil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
  • 12 fresh basil leaves torn just before serving
  • 2 ounces ricotta salata cheese, thinly sliced

Cook pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes or according to the package directions. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the leeks, season with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and zucchini, plus 1 tablespoon of the oil and cook until the zucchini are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the corn and turn off the heat. Clean blossoms by gently twisting the pistils (often covered in pollen) from the center of the flowers until they come off. Pull off the leaves at the bottom of the blossoms, and remove the stems. Using a damp paper towel, remove any dirt from the petals. Tear the squash blossoms into strips and stir into leek mixture. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta water. Return pasta pot over the stove and add half of the pasta water with the butter. Cook over medium-high heat until reduced by 1/3 and emulsified. Stir in pasta and zucchini mixture and stir until coated — add more pasta water if necessary so that each noodle is well coated. Add herbs, stir briefly, taste and add more salt and pepper, as desired. To serve, place pasta in bowls, top with ricotta salata, drizzle with remaining olive oil, and serve immediately.

Squash Blossom Quesadillas

  • 12 squash blossoms
  • 6 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely shredded Cheddar or Jack cheese
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Carefully look over each squash blossom and brush off any dirt or small bugs you find. Carefully trim the stems and stamens. Resist the urge to wash the squash blossoms. They’re quite delicate and will easily tear and potentially fall apart. Warm a cast-iron skillet or other heavy pan over medium heat. Place 1 tortilla in the warm pan and heat, turning once, for about 15 seconds on each side to soften. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup cheese, 1/2 teaspoon cilantro, and some pepper on half the tortilla. Place 2 squash blossoms on top of the cheese, arranging the flower petals at the edge of the tortilla so they peek out slightly. Fold the tortilla in half and press down lightly with a spatula. Cook for about 1 minute, then flip and cook the other side for 1 minute more, until the tortilla is thoroughly warmed and the cheese has melted. Transfer the quesadilla to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat to make 5 more squash blossom quesadillas. Serve warm.

Stovetop Casserole

  • 1 pound sausage
  • 1 Tbs tallow or lard
  • 3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups canned stewed tomatoes, cut up if not already diced
  • 8 ounces cooked long grain brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat 5-7 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking into crumbles. Drain and remove sausage from pan. In same pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add zucchini and onion; cook and stir 5-7 minutes or until tender. Stir in sausage, tomatoes, rice, mustard, garlic salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Remove from heat; sprinkle with cheese. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Zucchini Freezer Casserole

  • 4 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 400°. Place zucchini in colander; sprinkle with salt. Let stand 10 minutes, then squeeze out moisture. Combine zucchini with eggs, Parmesan and half of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Press into a greased 13×9-in. or 3-qt. baking dish. Bake 20 minutes. Meanwhile cook beef and onion over medium heat, crumbling beef, until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add tomato sauce; spoon over zucchini mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; add red pepper. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes longer. Freeze option: Cool baked casserole; cover and freeze. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350° F. Unwrap casserole; reheat on a lower oven rack until heated through and a thermometer inserted in center reads 165° F.

Zucchini Almond Cake

  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups shredded zucchini

Whisk butter, sugar and salt. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flours, then zucchini. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan, line with parchment paper. Bake at 325° F until golden, about 40-45 minutes.

Zucchini Bread

This is the “Cook’s Illustrated” recipe, which I think is much better than the old classic made with vegetable oil. For some reason, the zucchini in this bread is really bright green, as opposed to the more subdued drab olive in the usual zucchini bread. It also makes good muffins.

  • 2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
  • 1 pound zucchini, washed and dried, ends and stem removed, cut in half lengthwise, and seeded if using large zucchini
  • 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 plain non-fat yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 ° F. Grease the bottoms and sides of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out the excess. Shred the halved zucchini on the large holes of a box grater or use a shredding attachment on a food processor. Toss zucchini in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Spread zucchini/sugar mix in a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl and allow to drain for 30 minutes. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl until combined. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk sugar, yogurt, eggs, lemon juice and melted butter until combined. Set aside. After the zucchini has drained, place the zucchini in a double-layer cheese cloth and squeeze it until as much water is drained out as possible. Stir the zucchini and the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture until combined. (The texture will be fairly thick.) Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 50-60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 1 hour before serving. The bread can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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