With the advent of gardening season comes the problem of how to handle the superabundance of fresh vegetables. What a fantastic problem to have. Here in South Georgia, we simply freeze or can most of it, but some things don’t freeze or can well. Who ever heard of canned zucchini or frozen eggplant?
Every year I hear stories of gardeners producing so many zucchini that they can give them away only under cover of night. If neighbors see them coming with yet another plastic sack of those huge green squash, they hide in their closets and pretend not to be home. So the crafty gardeners dress in black, don their ski masks, and head out around midnight with black plastic bags stuffed with succulent vegetables of the squash variety. Neighbors awake the next morning to find gifts on their porches. Oh, the joy. Just like a visit from a summer Santa.
Zucchini are prolific and present a problem for me because I don’t know what to do with the excess.
The first ones of the season are welcome. Just this week a friend sent me a bag of zucchini, summer squash, and cucumbers. Ours aren’t quite ready yet, so I was delighted to get them. We’ve been eating on them all week. Today I browsed the internet for zucchini bread recipes and compared various recipes. When I checked with Paula Dean, I went to the right place. I didn’t even have to break out the mixer. I grated the 2 cups of zucchini and threw them in with 4 eggs, a cup of oil and the other ingredients. Within ten minutes of putting the pans in the oven, the house smelled wonderful. When the timer sounded, we were standing at the oven door with plates and forks in our hands.
Zucchini fries, casseroles, and bread—where does the list end? Thousands of recipes exist, but a human cannot eat zucchini at every meal. At least, this human can’t.
And then consider the lowly eggplant. Two years ago we made a bumper crop, and I scrounged for good recipes. Larry doesn’t care for the most common of the eggplant dishes, like eggplant parmesan, so I have to dig deeper into my files. I did find one recipe that the whole family liked and asked for often. It’s Eggplant Croquettes and the recipe can be found at Allrecipes.com. Even my grandchildren asked for eggplant, so that speaks well for the recipe.
With the six inches of rain we’ve gotten this week in Pine Grove, everything in the garden is green and thriving, including the grass and weeds, but Larry will take care of that as soon as he can get in there to do so. It was nice and clean before the rains came. What a timely soaking it was. We were already watering quite a bit, but that just doesn’t work as well as good old-fashioned raindrops falling from above. Only God knows why that is, but I’m thankful for this rain.
You can almost see the summer squash growing. They seem to double in size overnight. For the next couple of weeks, I’ll be restocking the freezer’s supply of squash. I cook them completely, ready to serve, and then freeze them. Later, all we have to do is thaw, heat, and eat—no problem at all in this age of microwaves. My grandchildren will be happy about that. Their steady supply during the winter comes directly from Grandma’s freezer, too. There’s just something about fresh vegetables from your own garden or back yard. Grocery store vegetables cannot even begin to compare.
I don’t mind the work of freezing and canning because it’s gratifying to see the products of my labor. But in the meantime, if you have good eggplant and zucchini recipes, send them my way. I need all the help I can get.