You Put Zucchini in What?!

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In the twenty-five years she’d lived in Three Pines she’d never, ever heard of a crime. The only reason doors were locked was to prevent neighbors from dropping off baskets of zucchini at harvest time.   (Still Life, Louise Penny)

The poor maligned zucchini. They are so plentiful that no one much appreciates them. That, combined with the fact that there are only so many ways you can use them, means, I suspect, that a lot of zucchini goes to waste.

If you’ve received the gift of many zucchinis and have made all the zucchini bread you can handle, it’s time to take a walk on the wild side.

How about trying some zucchini frozen yogurt?

WAIT! Before you just scream “ICK!!” and click on someone else’s blog, hear me out!

I have had this recipe for years—it seems to have come from a 1997 issue of Country Living magazine. It sounded so bizarre and intriguing, I decided to give it a try. We were having company for dinner, the kind of friends who I knew would forgive me if this ended up being just a really, really bad idea.

But I loved it! And they said they did, too! (Of course, they are also the kind of friends who wouldn’t want to hurt my feelings . . .) The flavor is not that of zucchini, which we all know has very little flavor. What you taste is the lemon and the tartness of the yogurt, a very refreshing combination. The zucchini mostly adds texture and a little crunch to the frozen yogurt. (Full disclosure: my husband, who is not afraid of hurting my feelings, doesn’t love this and says the zucchini is stringy. You decide.)

You need to try this at least once:

  1. it’s good—even if you don’t love it, you won’t hate it
  2. it’s fun—let people taste it and then spring it on them what it’s made of!
  3. it’s healthy—almost no fat and, really, how many desserts provide you with one of those elusive 5 servings of vegetables you’re supposed to eat?
  4. it’ll use up some zucchini

Zucchini Frozen Yogurt

Makes about 10 ½-cup servings

  • 8 ounces of zucchini, coarsely shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 14-ounce can fat-free sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk; I used regular sweetened condensed milk because it’s what I had on hand)
  • 16 ounces plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  1. In a 1-quart saucepan, heat grated zucchini, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest to boiling over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.zucchini yogurt-1zucchini yogurt-2
  2. Boil zucchini mixture for 1 minute.
  3. Remove from heat and, in larger bowl, combine zucchini and sweetened condensed milk; stir until well mixed.
  4. Stir in yogurt and lemon extract until no lumps of yogurt remain. Cover and refrigerate zucchini mixture until cold.
  5. Freeze mixture in ice-cream maker following manufacturer’s directions.
  6. Spoon soft frozen yogurt into airtight container; cover and freeze until firm enough to scoop, 2 hours to overnight.

zucchini yogurt-4I served this with oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, just in case the yogurt was gross. I liked the combination of the refreshing lemony yogurt and the robust cookies.

So, I hope you’ll give this a try and let me know what you think!

PS: The zucchini quote from the top of the page is from the book Still Life, the first in a series of great mysteries by Louise Penny. If you like well-written mysteries and haven’t found Penny yet, give her a try!

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