Harvest Favorites: The Many Flavors Of Zucchini

IN THE KITCHEN

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Zucchini is a prolific plant to hear people talk. With my personal experience as a failed gardener, I cannot attest to that fact. But I take people's word for it.

So, here are some recipes for all that zucchini coming out of your gardens these days, including two different canning suggestions.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

6 medium zucchini squash (about 7 inches long)

Boiling salted water

1-1/2 pounds ground beef

1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled or diced, or use Muenster cheese

2 eggs, beaten

3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (or 1 tablespoon dried)

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Grease two 13x9-inch baking dishes; set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut all zucchini in half, lengthwise; cook in boiling salted water for about five minutes, or until tender, but firm. Drain and cool.

With tip of spoon, scoop out pulp and seeds; chop. Reserve enough pulp to equal about 1-1/4 cups. Set aside.

In large skillet over medium-high heat, cook beef until brown, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini pulp and cook five more minutes. Spoon off drippings. Remove from heat and stir in cheese (if using Muenster, add 1/2 teaspoon salt to meat mixture), eggs, mint and pepper. Brush cut side of each squash with melted butter or margarine and place in the baking dishes. Spoon meat mixture into squash, sprinkle with paprika.

Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until squash is fork tender.

Zucchini Casserole

6 cups sliced zucchini

1 small onion, diced

1 cup grated carrots

1/4 cup sour cream

1 8-ounce pkg. chicken-flavored Stove Top Stuffing

1/2 cup butter

Steam zucchini, onion and carrots for 10 minutes. Set aside. Combine stuffing mix with melted butter and sour cream. Spread half of stuffing mix in bottom of baking dish. Spread vegetables evenly over top, then spread remaining half of stuffing mix on top of vegetables. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes.

Zucchini Relish

10 cups ground zucchini

4 cups sliced onions

2 cups diced green bell peppers

Mix well, put in large glass bowl, cover top with ice and 3 teaspoons of salt. Let set for 3 hours.

In another pan, bring to boil:

4 cups sugar

2-1/2 cups white vinegar

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons cornstarch

Boil for 3 minutes, then add drained zucchini and bring to boil 10 minutes more and bottle.

Makes 10 pints. Pressure 15 minutes.

Zucchini Pineapple

2-3 large zucchini

1 46-ounce can unsweetened pineapple juice

1/2 cup lemon juice

1-1/2 cups sugar

Peel, seed and grind zucchini, not too coarse. Drain about 20 minutes. Mix together 6 cups zucchini pulp, unsweetened pineapple juice and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then add sugar. Boil gently for 20 minutes. Let set 5 minutes. Pour into sterilized pint jars and process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes. Makes 10 pints. Use like crushed pineapple.

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