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Fending Off the Zucchini Glut

zucchini glut

There is a Marge Piercy poem that I think perfectly sums up zucchini called Attack of the Squash People.  I think of it every year around this time.  I learned some time ago to plant just a couple of zucchini seeds at a time, but then I discovered tromboncino.

Tromboncino substitutes for zucchini in pretty well any recipe. I like it a bit better – the texture is a bit firmer and it doesn’t have that edge of bitterness that larger zucchinis get.  But then, I like that bit of bitterness too, and bitterness in vegetables is often a sign of antioxidant phytochemicals that are very good for you.  Not always, alkaloids that do nasty things to your liver also taste bitter, which is probably why we omnivore humans have evolved to enjoy a bit of bitterness as adults, with full grown livers and a bit of education about what is safe to eat, but reject it as children.

Tromboncino fits better into my late summer garden. It is a rampant climber, like a very vigorous climbing cucumber in growth habits – a nifty trick that keeps it up off the ground conserving ground space and protecting it from mildew diseases.  It lasts a long time – I’ve had tromboncinos overwinter and bear right through into the next spring.  And if you think zucchini are prolific…

So this is my dilemma. A nice sequence of zucchini plants, so there is zucchini if I want it.  For rattatouille for instance, that I think needs that bitterness.  A nice range of tromboncino plants, so I can save seed without it being inbred.  And not too many of either. A Gordian Knot.

I give a lot away, I have an extensive repertoire of recipes, I feed overgrown ones to the chooks, and still the kitchen bench at almost any time has more zucchini and trombies on it than it needs. Ah summer.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Juanita February 21, 2016, 3:01 pm

    Hi Linda – it’s great to see you “posting” again. Thank you for all your wonderful recipes & deep well of knowledge! I too am from northern NSW & whenever I’m looking for inspiration for my glut or want to understand what’s happening in my garden, l go to The Witches Kitchen.I know you’ll have the same glut & will have shared some insight on your experience with “that” veg or fruit. Thank you. Am going to try out your trombo patties with holoumi for tonight’s dinner! 🙂

  • Heather Leckie February 21, 2016, 5:59 pm

    Lucky you! We’ve had so much rain on the Far South coast of NSW this summer that our zucchini glut never eventuated & the plants all prematurely succumbed to mildew. We even had to buy some zuccs the other day…very sad!

  • Lynn February 21, 2016, 6:45 pm

    How timely, as your post arrived, in walked my husband with some monster zucchini that were thriving in secret. I too give them to my chooks and sometimes cut them lengthways, pop them into the freezer so on hot days they have zucchini icypoles, which they devour. The trombocini take most people by surprise down here (Far South Coast NSW) but they are fabulous and don’t contain as much water as the zucchini. One funky one had twisted itself to represent an elegant swan! And I am scouring your recipes for tomorrow nights dinner – I think homemade haloumi and trombo patties might be the go.

  • Peggy February 22, 2016, 4:07 pm

    Squash gluts are always an issue. I really can only use the fruits of one plant, but what if it die? So I’m stuck planting two.

    Lynn, I love the zucchini icy pole idea for chickens, thanks!

    Grated, lightly salted and well wrung, like you do with your muthia recipe uses up a lot more of them. I do this for most zucchini recipes and use the liquid as water when making stocks and soups. The liquid is also good for thinning down kefir to make it more refreshing in hot weather. I like the slightly astringent quality this imparts, but understand that raw zucchini or it’s liquid isn’t something everyone enjoys.

    An idea I got from reading Carole Deppe was to dehydrate slices of squashes for snack food. Some varieties are tastier than others; some are really excellent. If you take a bowl of zucchini chips and a bowl of dip to a gathering of people, I’ll bet that even the zucchini sated will enjoy them in this different guise. A sneaky way to offload them on people who are trying to get rid of their own!

  • Liz February 22, 2016, 9:15 pm

    I loved this post – especially the poem!
    Thank you!

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