Aug 30, 2017
By Kelly Smith
This is the time of year, if you are not careful you might find your neighbors dropping off Zucchini on your doorstep. We often find zucchini as well as summer squash to be everywhere at the farmers' markets in September. Last year Krout's Sunset Ranch from Sebastopol left me a doozy of a zucchini in my car without my knowledge as I was packing up the farmers' market for the day. I don't know how he snuck it in there without me noticing but it sure gave me a giggle when I got home. These large ones are great for baking with but not always great for savory dishes. You can use the larger ones to stuff with delicious local sausage or rice and other vegetables.
Interesting enough, less than thirty years ago, the zucchini, formerly regularly referred to as green Italian squash, was hardly recognized in the United States. Today, it is a favorite to grow for various reasons including it's versatility in savory and sweet recipes. Zucchini is a member of the cucumber and melon family. Inhabitants of Central and South America have been eating zucchini for several thousand years, but the zucchini we know today is a variety of summer squash developed in Italy. The word zucchini comes from the Italian zucchino, meaning a small squash. The term squash comes from the Indian skutasquash meaning "green thing eaten green." Christopher Columbus originally brought seeds to the Mediterranean region and Africa.
When used for food, zucchini are usually picked when under 8" in length, when the seeds are still soft and immature. Mature zucchini can be as large as a baseball bat. The larger ones are often fibrous. A zucchini with the flowers attached is a sign of a truly fresh and immature fruit, and it is especially sought after for its sweeter flavor. In a culinary context, zucchini is treated as a vegetable; it is usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment. Botanically, zucchinis are fruits, a type of botanical berry called a "pepo", being the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower.
Speaking of extremely large zucchinis, this year's Agrarian Games on September 16th at the Petaluma Fairgrounds you will be able to bring your largest zucchini and compete for the gold medal. Visit www.thefarmersguild.org or www.communityfarmersmarkets.com for more information.
Combine all ingredients except flour in a bowl, then add enough flour to make a thick fritter batter (it may take closer to 2 cups). Heat ½ to 1 inch of oil in a nonstick skillet and drop batter into hot oil by the tablespoonfuls. Fry until brown, turn and cook until browned on the other side. Drain on paper towels and season with salt while hot. Serve with yogurt mint dipping sauce if desired.
If the batter sits too long while you are frying off the fritters, the tomatoes and zucchini will release water and the batter becomes to wet. Just add a little more flour to keep the consistency as you go.