When life gives you apples and zucchini...

Make zucchini apple bread! (Good recipe -- it's sweet but not too sweet; moist but not soggy. I did, however, wring out the shredded [rather than chopped] zucchini and apple in a bit of cheesecloth [a kitchen towel should work, too] before adding them to the mix. I drank the apple juice and froze the zucchini juice for future soup use. Used about 1/4 whole wheat flour because I ran out of white. Made a double recipe of the dough and came out with three jumbo loaves.)

I discovered a foot-long zucchini in our zucchini bed on Monday morning. I had sworn I was not going to let them get that large, but this one had been hiding. The weathermen had been warning of a new heatwave this week, but Oxnard, being a costal community, was pleasantly overcast, which made it cool enough not to fret about heating up the kitchen. So I decided that some zucchini-based baking was in order.

I consulted my new copy of 101 Things to do with Zucchini, purchased on faith a month ago when our four zucchini plants had produced between them a single two-inch long squash, for a zucchini chocolate cake recipe, even though I knew this would involve a trip down to the grocery store because, if there is any cocoa in this house, it's teenaged cocoa, with which I want nothing to do. On the way I found a Zucchini Apple Cake recipe, which sounded ideal -- except that it called for AN ENTIRE CUP of oil. Bleh. So, off to the internet for something less oily, and voila! A way to cut into our bumper crop of apples and eliminate the overgrown zucchini at the same time.

Other things we have done with surplus apples:

  • Give them away -- to neighbors, to family, to my small group
  • Eat them for breakfast; eat them for lunch; eat them while waiting for dinner to finish cooking. (Well, this is what GrandDad does. They are very good apples, but I would OD if I were getting my five daily servings of fruits & vegetables from the apple tree alone.)
  • Chop and freeze in large batches -- we'll have the makings of apple crisps, cobblers, strudels, pies, cakes, and breads for the rest of the year and then some.
  • Apples in stuffing.
  • Apples in chicken salad.
  • Apple hummus: add a couple chopped apples to a regular batch of hummus; season with salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper, believe it or not, instead of garlic and whatever other mediterranean-type seasonings you usually use. Substitute lemon juice and water for the olive oil. Good on apple slices.
I'm also experimenting with apple cider -- although, not being committed enough to the project to invest in the requisite equipment, I'm having to make up for my stinginess with creativity, time, and elbow grease. Time will tell whether I judge it to be worth the hassle. That little bit of fresh-squeezed apple juice that was a by-product of the bread was really good, though. Here are some handy tips for the small-batch cider maker without their own apple press.

Next up, applesauce. Should be considerably more manageable than apple cider, and expand the possibilities of apple-related eating. I may even give that zucchini-apple cake a whirl, having been reminded of the trick of substituting applesauce for oil in baking.

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