I can't stop buying produce. Faced with a sea of bright and shiny veggies, my self-control falters, and I buy more than RC and I can possibly consume. As you might expect, they lose some of their luster sitting idly in the fridge for seven days. And no matter how hard I try, I continue to find wilted kale and withered zucchini forgotten on the floor of my fridge.
I’m not usually a food waster (re: ruthless veggie killer). If I don’t think I’ll use something before it’s set to expire, I’ll throw it in the freezer. Sadly, this method doesn’t always work with squash-types. They tend to get a little weird in the freezer. Well, technically they get weird when you take them out of the freezer to thaw, but you get the point. Anyway, as a result of my veggie-wasting shame, I’ve been on the hunt for ways I can use and/or store all of the beautiful vegetables I can’t seem to stop accumulating. Naturally, I consulted a pro.
I know I’ve mentioned her impressive gardening skills in a previous post, but my mother (aka Michelle) has truly outdone herself this year (we’re talking three-kinds-of-beets outdone). She is the queen of veggies, using most, if not all, before they languish – an impressive feat considering how many zucchini plants she has.
If you’ve never been around zucchini plants before, it can be difficult to appreciate how bountiful they are. The typical zucchini plant produces between six and ten pounds of zucchini per season. On average, a pound is equal to three medium zucchini. They also tend to produce cyclically, meaning that you may be harvesting multiple pounds of zucchini at one time. It can be overwhelming.
Growing up we almost always had zucchini plants, and as a result, almost always had a loaf of zucchini bread on the counter (though it never seemed to last very long). Even still, we continued to have more zucchini than we knew what to do with.
Last year, in a stroke of genius, Michelle mastered the art of freezing zucchini, which I had clearly forgotten about until a few days ago, hence the rotten squash. The secret to freezing zucchini is to grate it before placing it into freezer-safe plastic bags in the freezer. When you are ready to use it, place the grated zucchini in a bowl to thaw. Once it has thawed, wrap it in paper towels and squeeze the excess moisture out. With fresh paper towels, pat the wrung-out zucchini to ensure it is as dry as possible. Et voilà, on-demand fresh zucchini!
Since I’ve been grating zucchini all week long, I figured I should whip up a batch of zucchini-somethings. These brown butter zucchini “cloud” muffins are pillow-soft, completely delectable, and a true taste of zummer (ha!).
Brown Butter Zucchini Muffins
(Makes 12 muffins)
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup zucchini, finely grated
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup butter, browned and cooled
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a muffin tin with paper liners or grease.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, lemon zest, and sugar.
- Stir in the grated zucchini until it is evenly distributed.
- In a smaller mixing bowl, beat together the egg, vanilla extract, buttermilk, and brown butter.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just incorporated. The batter should still be a bit lumpy.
- Fill each muffin cavity 2/3rds of the way full with batter.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. If you press on the top of the muffin it should be firm and spring back.
- Enjoy! These are best served same-day but can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days. Make sure to toast them back up in the oven after the first day for added freshness.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour's Self-Rising Soft and Tender Breakfast Muffins.