Did you know that the zucchini variety of summer squash is native to Italy? The word zucchini comes from the Italian zucchino, meaning a small squash. It was brought over to America in the 1920s, where it was often referred to as the “green Italian squash” and was not recognizable.
Boy have things changed! Today, zucchini is a very popular vegetable due to its versatility. It can be eaten as a vegetable, turned into spaghetti, and used in breads and desserts.
Zucchini has become so popular, especially in breads, that there is now a day to celebrate it! National Zucchini Bread Day is tomorrow, April 25th and it’s the perfect day to enjoy some homemade zucchini bread!
Before I delve into making zucchini bread, l just want to note some of zucchini’s nutritional content and fun facts. Zucchini packs quite the nutritional punch. It is rich in folate, potassium, fiber, and vitamins A & C. It is also an excellent source of copper and manganese.
When it comes to zucchini, bigger is NOT always better! The most flavorful zucchinis are small- to medium-sized. Their skin color can also be yellow, but is usually found in grocery stores with its traditional green color. Also, the flower of the zucchini plant is also edible.
Have you ever had zucchini bread before? Or, do you shy away from bread made with vegetables? If the thought of making bread using zucchini scares you a little, I can promise you that you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The zucchini has a high water content, which keeps the bread moist and flavorful.
If this is your first time making zucchini bread, keep these 4 tips in mind:
- Use small to medium-sized zucchini. Like I said earlier, the smaller-sized zucchinis have more sweetness and moisture – which is what you want in your bread. The larger zucchini are too dry and bitter.
- Peeling is not necessary. It can be tempting to remove zucchini’s skin, but that is only necessary if you really don’t want to see some green specks in your bread. The zucchini should actually melt into the bread as it cooks, so the green specks should
- Grate, don’t chop zucchini. Grating the zucchini before adding to your batter will give you a pile of squash that will mix well and avoid making the batter too chunky.
- Cooking time varies. The amount of time the batter needs to stay in the oven varies based on how many zucchinis you use. Since zucchini is treated like a wet ingredient (for its high water content), the more you add, the wetter your batter is, and the longer it’ll take to bake. So keep that in mind!
If you want to be adventurous, you can add more ingredients to your bread for more flavor. Walnuts and carrots compliment zucchini very well, but you can also add mini dark chocolate chips, shredded coconut, or raisins. Just try to avoid overdoing it! You can also replace 1 cup of all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour to make it healthier, without changing the flavor too much.
BRG Zucchini Carrot Bread recipe – Serves 20
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 egg whites
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
- 2 medium zucchinis, peeled and grated
- ½ cup sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a medium bowl, combine flours, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
- In a separate bowl, combine egg whites, applesauce, grated carrots, grated zucchini and sugar; mix well. Add to flour mixture and mix well.
- Pour batter into two 9 x 5 x 2 ¾ -inch loaf pans sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 1 hour.
If you want to learn about more ways you can incorporate more zucchini into your meals, check out my blog on National Zucchini Day!
Your turn to take action: Make your own homemade zucchini bread this week and let me know how it goes in the comments below!