The garden has been steadily making a come-back after the recent heavy hail damage and hundred plus degree temps of the last two weeks. I've been picking okra, tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers and Japanese eggplant every few days. The sugar snap peas have finally fizzled out due to the heat. Sadly, the zucchini and yellow squash may not last much longer either. But prior to the hail and heatwave, we harvested a whole bunch of zucchini!
We were able to capitalize on this bumper crop by making A zucchini puree that we freeze and use as a soup base throughout the winter. This is a wonderful recipe, particularly for utilizing those giant zucchini (almost as big as my head) that tend to be tougher and more seedy.
FROZEN ZUCCHINI PUREE
To make the most of a boutiful garen, preserve zucchini by freezing them in a puree with onion, green or bell pepper and herbs. They retain fresh garden flavors and nutrients for months in the freezer and are convenient for making hot or cold soups or a simple casserole.
Wash but don't peel about 6 pounds of zucchini. Cut in thin slices (we use a mandolin slicer). Add 2 green or bell peppers, sliced, and 3 thinly sliced large onions and 3 cloves of minced garlic. In a large pan over medium heat, melt 6 tbsp. of butter, saute onion. Add 1/4 cup of water, stir in zucchini, pepper, garlic, 2 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Cover and cook for 3 mins; then turn heat to med-high. Continue cooking covered, stirring often, until tender. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup parsley sprigs and 1 cup fresh basil leaves. Let cool somewhat and then puree in blender. Cool to room temp and pack in freezer containers. This amount will fill about 6 pint-size containers.
For our hardy winter soups, we defrost a container of the puree and add 1/2 cup of milk or cream, cheddar or Parmesan cheese, canned chicken (including the juice), a squeeze of fresh lemon and sometimes dill weed or tarragon.
To make a casserole, beat 2 eggs, stir in zucchini puree, and pour into a greased, shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.