Well, I told myself I wasn’t going to let this happen, this year. I really thought I was going to succeed in this area of gardening, but, alas, it’s happened again. I really do need to be more diligent. I need to pay far more attention to what’s going on, out there, so that I don’t keep ending up with this…
…zucchini the size of baseball bats!
I mean, I’m the one who’s always preaching about “never turn your back on a zucchini!”, and “pick them a day before you think you should, or deal with the consequences!” Do I listen to my own advice? No. So, this is what I get: mutant squash, twice the size of my foot — and I wear a women’s size 11!
What’s so bad about this giant squash, you ask? Well, besides getting too seedy and tough, they can really sap the strength from the parent plant, making it difficult for the younger fruit to develop, and, if left too long on the vine, may cause the plant to slow down and/or stop the plant from producing altogether (I’ve seen this happen). The ideal time for picking this type of summer squash (Which, by the way is a golden zucchini) is when the fruit is less than two inches around and about six to eight inches in length. This is when the fruit is tender, sweet, and meaty. The ones in the picture are at least twice that size. I absolutely should have picked them much earlier.
So,what can be done with these monsters now? A lot of gardening sites say that they just need to be fed to the compost pile. It’s not a total waste there, I suppose (in fact, I’ve had some of my best squash plants grow right out of the unfinished compost that I’ve tossed into the garden).
A friend just asked me whether squash this big still tastes good. In my opinion, while giant zucchini are not the best for sauteeing and frying, they can still be used in baked dishes, like my family’s favorite: vegan chocolate zucchini bread.
I think they are also great when stuffed, and I recently even read about a blogger who begs her neighbors to save the “big guns” for her, so that she can bake them into a faux “Apple” pie!
So, even though I’m not doing as well as I’d hoped, this year, in keeping up with picking summer squash while they are still young, small,and tender, all is not a total loss! I can still make up for it by baking up lots of yummy goodies for my family and I to enjoy, and if one or two of them get fed to the compost piles, perhaps they’ll reward me by coming back, next year, on their own, and giving me another chance to attempt picking them at just the right time.
P.S. I am so looking forward to trying out that Faux Apple pie recipe!
Do you grow summer squash? What do you do with the giant-sized ones?