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It’s zucchini time! Yep, you’ve got too much. Now what?

Original source: https://pennstatehershey.netreturns.biz/HealthInfo/Story.aspx?StoryId=10ff8a47-63de-4e1f-afc9-91cdd8440822#.WYm4_neGNBw

If you planted any zucchini at all last spring, right about now your situation looks like this: You have more zucchini on your hands than you probably know what to do with. That’s a good problem to have.

Summer-fresh zucchini is at its peak flavor. And zucchini is always good for you and edible in a variety of ways. Right about now, it’s also abundant at farmer’s markets (and grocery stores all year). So even if you didn’t grow your own zucchini, you can enjoy the bountiful harvest.

Zero in on the best

Whether you pick or buy them, the best zucchinis are slender, firm and free of wrinkles or bruises. To keep zucchini fresh, store it in the fridge in a plastic bag for up to a week. Don’t wash it until you’re ready to use it, since moisture will hasten spoilage.

Nutritious and delicious

Like most veggies, zucchini is naturally low in calories. It also supplies vital vitamins as well as fiber (if you leave the skin on). And eating fruits and veggies every day may even help reduce your risk of some chronic diseases.

Solutions for your spare squash

You might give the neighbors some of your excess zucchini. And you could turn some into home-baked bread. But with a little creativity, you can find interesting ways to use more of your zucchini in your own kitchen. Here are seven ideas to inspire you:

1. Flip it. For an omelet, sauté zucchini and your other favorite veggies in a bit of olive oil. Add eggs and a little low-fat cheese.

2. Substitute it. You can use zucchini instead of meat in many dishes. For example, you might pair it with brown rice or a veggie stew. Have fun experimenting with your favorite plant-powered recipes.

3. Dip it. Raw zucchini is a cool, mid-summer snack. Dip some sticks in your favorite light dressing.

4. Grill it. Cut zucchini into thick slices and lightly brush them with olive oil before grilling along with other veggies such as asparagus, onions and mushrooms.

5. Stuff it. To make zucchini boats, halve a zucchini and scoop out the seeds. Fill it with a mixture of lean ground meat, veggies and seasoning. Sprinkle the top with low-fat cheese and bake.

6. Stir it. Stir-fry thin zucchini strips, onions, mushrooms and peppers in a bit of olive oil.

7. Toss it. Toss garlic-sautéed zucchini with cooked, whole-wheat pasta. Or layer zucchini into a baked lasagna.

8. Build it. To build a zucchini burger, grate and form zucchini into patties—just like you would with potato cakes. Lightly brown each side with olive oil.

For more delicious ideas and recipes, check out the Produce for Better Health Foundation online.

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