As my family gardened this week we noticed that we have an abundance of zucchini. It’s that time of year where everyone is getting more than they anticipated and they are trying to find ways to use it up, preserve it, or give it away.
When picking zucchini look for firm and wrinkle free zucchini that is about 6 to 8 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. If you are anything like me, you likely have zucchini in your garden that’s 12 inches long and 4 inches in diameter. The larger the zucchini the tougher it will be and it will also contain more seeds. These zucchini are best for baking. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, grate the zucchini and use in your favorite recipes.
Zucchini have a high water content which makes them lower in calories. They provide us with vitamin C, fiber, vitamin K, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, and potassium. This makes them a fantastic vegetable to eat. However, not all children are big vegetable eaters. If you are like me, you sneak them into things when they don’t notice. Zucchini bread is always a good option but if you have a picky eater like I do, the green flecks in the bread can quickly turn them away. Have you ever put it in your chocolate cake or finely shredded in spaghetti sauce? My kids don’t know it’s there and I get them to eat a vegetable! I count it as my mom super power! The below recipe is a great one to try from USDA’s Mixing Bowl recipe collection. You can also check out some of their other zucchini recipes.
The big zucchini that I picked from my garden will make a lot of Chocolate Squash cake. I won’t use all of my grated zucchini before it goes bad so I will be freezing my leftovers. For proper freezing procedures please check out these safe instructions by the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Make sure you blanch zucchini before freezing to ensure quality.
Eating the squash cake is not as healthy for you as eating the raw vegetable itself but we all have to start somewhere.
Aunt Barbara’s Chocolate Squash Cake
Makes: 12 Servings
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 package cake mix, dark chocolate
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup squash (shredded or finely chopped)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 10″ tube or bundt pan.
- In a large bowl, combine cake mix and cinnamon.
- Add eggs, water, and oil. Blend until combined, then beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes on medium speed.
- Fold in squash. Add nuts if you like.
- Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until cake springs back when lightly touched.
- Use a greased 9×13-inch pan. Bake for 45 minutes.
- To lighten cake, try 6 egg whites in place of whole egg.
- Replace 1/2 cup oil with 1/2 cup applesauce.
WRITTEN BY: Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County.
REVIEWED BY: Lisa Barlage , Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.