Zucchini, zucchini, zucchini

Okay folks, this is getting serious.  I am pleased that the plants are still producing more zucchini and yellow summer squash, but we haven’t even eaten a fraction of the zucchini we have harvested already this year.   😉

too much zucchini

The zucchini is literally spilling of our fridge! 🙂

The vegetable crisper is full of zucchini and yellow summer squash, and so is the meat drawer!  Then I have a few more in a basket on the bottom shelf!

Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE zucchini and yellow squash!  It’s just that I wish I could get a few each week – not every day!

So far I have made zucchini muffins (see recipe here), zucchini boats (zucchini hollowed out with pizza sauce, ground hamburger then cheese, then bake at 350 degrees until cheese is bubbly), zucchini bread, zucchini lasagna (substitute 1/4 inch slices for some of the lasagna noodles, alternating noodles and zucchini) and this new yummy recipe, Sautéed Garlic and Parmesan Squash.  It has become a family favorite!  I adapted this recipe from several others that I have seen online here and there.  Here is my version:

Garlic and Parmesan Squash

Julienne two medium-sized squash. You can use either zucchini or yellow summer squash, or both!  Whatever makes you grin!  🙂

julienned squash

Melt in a saucepan about 2 tablespoons of butter and about 1 teaspoon of garlic powder or granulated garlic. About 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper once the butter and garlic are melted together.  One of the original recipes called for olive oil instead of butter.  I have tried both and I like it either way, but my son was over tonight and he likes the butter version.  Also, almost all of the original recipes called for adding salt.  I don’t.  There is enough salt in the Parmesan/Romano/Asiago cheese already, and sometimes also in the butter.  Prevent high blood pressure and skip the salt in this one.

cooking zucchini and yellow squash with garlic

Then just saute the julienned zucchini strips on medium heat until desired doneness.  I like mine to be a little al dente, if you can say that for squash.  Then take the pan off the heat and sprinkle some (however much floats your boat – I use about 1/4 cup) Parmesan, Romano or Asiago cheese on top (or live it up and use all three together!), place a lid on top for a minute or two to let the cheese melt, and there you have it!  Done!  Yummmmm………

I wanted to show a picture of what it looked like after it was all cooked, but I didn’t get it in time………..

Oops - not fast enough to get a picture!

Oops – not fast enough to get a picture!

The other thing I have been doing  with the excess zucchini is to shred and then freeze one or two cups at a time in my sucky machine (aka Food Saver)

Food Saver Frozen Zucchini

Here is two cups of shredded, frozen zucchini in the vacuum sealed freezer bag.

I decided to freeze the shredded squash in one or two cup amounts because that is perfect for making either zucchini bread or zucchini muffins!  Now I can have the goodness of summer in the winter!

Next I want to try making dehydrated zucchini chips!  I hear they are wonderful – but that’s another post to come!

If you have any more recipes using summer squash, please let me know!  While my poor plants are dying from the squash mosaic virus, they are nonetheless pumping out more and more squash!

 

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Vegetable Garden Lessons

🙂     🙂     Holy cow!  The garden is going absolutely nuts!     🙂     🙂

Baby corn cob

You can see here on this corn stalk a little baby corn cob starting to form! I’m not sure how long before we will actually be able to harvest, but my mouth is watering already!

The corn must be over 8 feet high and is already starting to get little cornlets!  Unfortunately, I guess I wasn’t thinking when I planted them all in neat little rows at the same time!  I should have staggered the planting so that we could have an extended season of fresh corn on the cob. I think at this point I will have to freeze a lot of corn! Lesson Number One:  Don’t plant all the corn for the year in one day!

Yellow summer squash

The zucchini and yellow summer squash all seem to be doing well, despite their potential problem with mosaic virus. So far we have harvested at least 20 pounds of squash and the squash just keeps on coming!

 

 

The squash, despite possibly having the squash mosaic virus, has been giving hubby and I an overabundance (hello neighbors) of zucchini and yellow summer squash.  Wait – it isn’t even summer yet!  Holy Cannoli!  Lesson Number Two:  Plant the squash further apart and plant only two of each kind!

Caden’s Sunflowers are getting ready to bloom!  I can’t believe how tall all of the sunflowers have become!  Isn’t it a miracle how it seems we can get something out of nothing.  I mean, it’s just dirt, water and sunshine and look what happens!  The only problem is that the squash plants are so big that I can’t get to the sunflowers (please refer to lesson number 2).  However, it doesn’t look like they need me right now.

Pepper Plants

The Anaheim Chile Peppers are a bit behind because I couldn’t get any to grow from seed! They seem to be coming along nicely now and each plant has a few blossoms on it.

 

The peppers are coming along slowly but surely.  Each plant has at least a couple of blooms but I don’t see any peppers forming yet.  I’m sure that will come in time, but it’s hard to wait for my BBQ pepper poppers (see the bottom of this post for the recipe) Lesson Number Three:  learn how to germinate pepper seedlings and get an earlier start!

 

Zinnia buds and blooms

I think these Zinnia are going to be really pretty! At first I planted them to use as cut flowers, but I don’t think I have the heart to cut them now!

Also, the zinnia are starting to flower.  You can just see a little bit of color peeking out of the center of the bud.  I intended to use these as cut flowers for inside, but I planted them just at the edge of the garden where they will be pretty.  I think I should have planted a whole bunch more flowers to make the whole garden prettier.  From what I have read, they also attract the bad pests away from the vegetable plants (think aphids) and yet bring in the good ones (honey bees).  I also read that Marigolds impart a kind of bug resistance to some vegetables.  Lesson Number Four:  plant more flowers in and around the vegetable garden next year.

Black Beans

The black turtle beans with their beautiful pinkish-purple flowers are already loaded with beans! I can’t wait to try out these beans when they are dried!

 

The green pole beans and the black turtle beans are also going crazy!  I can’t believe I already have some little black turtle beans on the vine.  The beautiful purplish hued flowers of the black turtle beans are plentiful, which tells me that I should have quite a lot of beans to harvest. Lesson Number Five:  beans are very easy to grow! Grow more next year.

 

Fingerling Potatoes

These were grown from one purple fingerling potato that I cut in half as an experiment. I guess the experiment worked!

The purple fingerling potatoes are growing like gangbusters!  If you remember back, I planted two halves of a small purple fingerling into a 20 gallon (I think that’s how big it is) bag as an experiment.  I don’t know how many potatoes I will get just yet – if any – but at least the plant is doing well.  I have soil almost to the top and the plant has pushed the sides down and has almost engulfed the entire bag!   Lesson Number Six:  get bigger potato growing bags!

Water Lillies

The water plants in our little pond (there is a huge goldfish in there somewhere) seem very happy! Unfortunately, I think they may be crowding out the lilies.

 

Even the water plants in the pond are blooming!  Does anyone know what kind of water plant this is? I don’t, but they seem to grow more beautiful every year even though the pond is severely neglected.  Lesson Number Seven:  beautiful things happen despite our shortcomings in the garden!

 

We are truly blessed!

 

 

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Squash Mosaic Virus

Oh no.  I think I have a virus – squash mosaic virus!  I went out to the garden a couple of days ago and found the squash on the left hand side of the picture below.

Squash Mosaic Virus
Nuts! It looks like the squash on the left has squash mosaic virus, which is supposed to be fatal for the plant. But, the two squash on the right were harvested two days later and look okay! Does anybody know what is going on?

They are supposed to be a yellow squash, but had all these weird green markings on them.  So I quickly decided to do a little research on the internet and what I found was very disheartening.  Apparently I have squash mosaic virus, which can be transferred by squash bugs or aphids, or it can apparently be in the seed.  Since I know there were a few aphids on the plants when they were young, I am betting that they were the culprit!  According to several of the articles I read on the internet, a plant cannot heal from the virus and will eventually die.  Boy, was I sad to read this.  But this morning when I went out to see if there was any squash to harvest, I found the ones on the right.  These look fine!  Go figure.  If I do have squash mosaic virus and it does kill the squash plants apparently it won’t be any time soon.  Besides, I already have a drawer full of them in my refrigerator.

The squash plants are getting huge and are still producing tons of squash, but I have noticed the leaves getting a bit off color and the edges getting kind of crinkled or even ruffled this past few days.  I sure hope it isn't the beginning of the end of my squash.  It isn't even officially summer yet!

The squash plants are getting huge and are still producing tons of squash, but I have noticed the leaves getting a bit off color and the edges getting kind of crinkled or even ruffled this past few days. I sure hope it isn’t the beginning of the end of my squash. It isn’t even officially summer yet!

The zucchini looks like it may be infected also, but those plants are also still producing like crazy!  In this picture you can see that the new leaves on the squash (zucchini on the left, yellow squash on the right) are looking a bit strange – a bit crinkled.  You might even call it ruffled.  However, take a look at one of the monsters that must have been hiding from me the last few days!  Without exaggeration I can tell you that from squash blossom to harvest time is only about four days!  If anyone knows more about the squash mosaic virus or has had this happen to their squash, please leave me some advice in the comment section below.

Zucchini gone wild

Uh-Oh. Big zucchini – BIG ZUCCHINI! This one was apparently hiding from me the last few days! “Zucchini gone wild” Oh well, it will still be good in muffins! See recipe below – it’s a good one.

I would like to know if that is definitely what is happening to my plants and, if so, if this virus can be overcome. I’m hoping that my plants are healthy enough to withstand the virus for at least another month!  Or, should I just bit the bullet, pull them out, and plant new ones that are resistant to the virus?  I think poor hubby is already a tad bit tired of squash, so I have been looking for new ways to fix it and came across a recipe for zucchini squash muffins!  I have already made them a couple of times and have tweaked the recipe a little bit.  Here is my version:

SHREDDED ZUCCHINI MUFFINS

1-1/2 cups of flour (I used 1 cup all purpose and 1/2 cup whole wheat)

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt (sea salt is best)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (we love cinnamon, so I used 1 tsp)

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (again, adjust to your taste)

In a bowl sift all these dry ingredients together.  Start heating your oven to 375 degrees.  Now, in another bowl, mix together:

2 eggs (beat them a bit first)

1-1/2 cups grated zucchini

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup olive oil (original recipe called for canola oil, but I stay away from that now)

Once all wet ingredients are mixed together, add the dry ingredients and gently stir together, just until moistened.  Careful!  If you stir muffins too much, they can become too rubbery!  Fill the muffin tins about 2/3 full.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until they are golden brown on the top.  You can eat as is, with butter, or with cream cheese frosting.  Yum!

shredded zucchini muffins

These muffins are absolutely fantastic! You can adjust the recipe a bit to suit your own taste. They are moist but not too dense and are really good straight out of the oven with a pat or two (or three) of butter.

The next recipe to try is a lasagna that uses zucchini squash sliced thinly lengthwise instead of pasta!  I also found a recipe for zucchini chips!  In the meantime, I am shredding my zucchini and freezing it in one cup bunches.  I am using my sucky machine (that’s what I call my Food Saver 🙂  lol) so that the frozen shredded zucchini will last longer without an off odor or freezer burn.  I will be able to make these muffins along with zucchini bread or even the zucchini lasagna (I will have to freeze some slices of zucchini) in the winter!  I know that frozen zucchini can sometimes be mushy when it thaws, but if you are baking it anyway – who cares!?  If anyone else has another great recipe for zucchini, please pass it along!  My hubby would be ever so grateful!

 

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