December 14th, 2023
I am quite certain zucchini (courgette) plants have some magical powers. One minute the fruits are small and not quite big enough to harvest, turn away for a moment and they have tripled in size!
It can be all too easy to make that common mistake of planting too many zucchini plants. When the plants are just a few small leaves in punnets it is difficult to imagine the monstrous plants they will become and the number of fruit they will produce. I try to set a limit to four plants, but once I take into account varieties of different shapes and colours one of each doesn’t quite seem enough.
For zucchini options, I am partial to the heirloom varieties. Romanesco (pictured below) is my go-to for flavour with the bonus that the plant produces an abundance of male flowers which are a culinary delicacy when stuffed – find the recipe here. Black beauty and yellow scallopini are others I grow, which are best picked small as the bitter flavour can increase with size. While Romanesco can be picked on the bigger side without too much effect on flavour.
With a continual harvest of zucchini to cook over the summer, I get creative with ways to use them. Sliced into rounds or wedges, seasoned with salt and pepper and barbecued is a firm favourite. Pickled to store the excess (recipe below), and my zucchini-adverse children don’t seem to mind it in sweet recipes (funny that) – links to recipes follow. Because let’s face it, I am not going to stop overcommitting to my zucchini plants anytime soon so I need to find as many ways as possible to use them in the kitchen.
The Zucchini Pickle recipe below is from my 2024 recipe calendar*. When I asked on social media which recipe from the calendar you would like me to share this recipe and the cover star – Flourless Chocolate Prune Cake – came in equal (when counted across both Instagram and Facebook). So I am sharing both to be enjoyed by all. Find the Chocolate Prune Cake recipe here.
*I am down to the last 20 calendars so get in quick if you would like a copy.
More Zucchini (courgette) Recipes on Homegrown Kitchen
- Stuffed Zucchini Flowers + Spiced Fritters
- Chocolate Zucchini Slice
- Zucchini & Mozzarella Bake
- Oat & Zucchini Pantry Cookies
Pickled Zucchini with Dill & Chilli
- 3-4 medium-sized zucchini, about 700g
- 1 medium red onion (150g), thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2-3 sprigs of fresh dill, chopped (or use 2 teaspoons dried)
- 1 red chilli, sliced
- 350 ml white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup (50g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- Thinly slice the zucchini into rounds or ribbons using a mandolin or sharp knife. Aim for 1-2mm thickness. Place into a colander as you go.
- Add the sliced red onion to the colander then sprinkle over the salt, tossing well to combine. Place a plate over the vegetables to weigh them lightly then set the colander over a bowl to catch the liquid released from the zucchini. Place in a cool place, or the fridge if you have space, to drain for 3-4 hours or overnight.
- Sterilise two 600ml jars and lids using your preferred method (oven, boiling or dishwasher) and keep warm.
- Add the dill and chilli to the zucchini, tossing to combine.
- In a small non-reactive saucepan add the vinegar, sugar and caraway seeds. Bring to a gentle simmer, then remove from the heat.
- Pack the produce into the still-warm sterilised jars, pressing down as you go to firmly pack. Pour over the pickling liquid to cover the produce. Use a knife to remove any air bubbles and top up with pickling liquid as needed. Secure the lids and leave the jars to cool on a wooden board.
- Once cool, check the lids have vacuum sealed (inverting into the jar), name and date and store in a cool dark place for up to 3 months. Once opened, store in the fridge and use within 3 weeks.
How to use Pickled Zucchini
- As a side - we always have some homemade condiments on the dinner table, this pickle is no exception and is delicious with barbecue meats, fish or grilled halloumi.
- Use in an open/closed sandwich - great with ham, hummus and sprouts, or sliced tomatoes and feta. Can also take a jar to a potluck to share.
- Make a dressing - once the pickled produce is finished use the vinegary liquid to make a salad dressing. Top up the jar with an equal quantity of olive oil and add 1 teaspoon mustard to emulsify. Shake to combine and drizzle over summer salads.
Christmas Giving – Books, Bread Bannetons and Calendars.
I have a limited number of signed copies of my latest cookbook, The Homemade Table, plus lined bread bannetons available on my website. If you are interested in receiving gifts in time for Christmas the cut-off for the courier is Wednesday 20th December, OR Monday 18th for rural addresses and large packages. Calendars that are sent via NZ Post also need to be ordered by Monday 18th December. Follow the links to order: