Zucchini Overload

By Connie Cook in Community, Food

This year, zucchini is my nemesis. I have added it to stir-fries, tucked it into muffins, and baked it into loaves. I have popped it into pancakes, slipped it into salads and slid it into stews. And I still have a pile of it frozen for winter.

“What’s this?” a family member asks, suspiciously, when I lay down a plate of buckwheat pancakes dripping with syrup. “It can’t be flakes of coconut in the middle…”

“Just using a few things up,” I shrug, but I know he is on to me.

Even though I only planted three hills, our garden has yielded more than I could’ve imagined. I can’t even give it away anymore.

“I don’t like zucchini,” my friend says, turning her nose up at the long, green fruit I hold before her. “My daughter might take one though.” One? I think. I would have gladly given her a clothes-basket full.

We were taught not to waste food in my day, so a certain someone’s suggestion to throw it on the burn pile cannot be the answer to my zucchini overload.

I call my son and his friend who are starting university in the city. “I’ll bring down some zucchini bread for you,” I offer. “It’s a good, fast breakfast when you have to rush to class.”

“We don’t really eat breakfast,” he says, his voice hesitant. “In fact, we’re hardly ever home. It would just get moldy.”

Hmmm….quick thinker, that boy. He knows I’m against throwing out food.

I sigh as I load bags and containers of zucchini into the freezer. Each time I go out to the garden, half a dozen more plants are saluting me in green, as if to say, “There’s more of us yet.”

Finally, the kitchen has been cleaned up, the food processor put to rest and the freezer is full of summer’s zucchini bounty.

I stroll out to the garden to have a look around. Carrots, potatoes and turnip await their harvest, all of which will go into the cold room to be stored for winter. No more zucchini.

A couple of orange spheres peek out at me from the edge of the garden, beside the grain field. I pull up a few leaves and spot one, two, three, four pumpkins. Two for each of my grandsons for Hallowe’en, as promised. I pull up more leaves and there are even more pumpkins peering at me like round, ochre soldiers. The tangle of vines curls around more and more pumpkins and out into the empty field. I sigh. Round two begins.