It’s zucchini season!!!! Which means our summer is about to get a whole lot heavier and the harvests are about to become a whole lot more constant.
Harvest season at our farm always begins rather slowly. We have so much to get planted in April and May, we have very intentionally made the decision not to begin harvesting much of anything from our fields (outside of those lovely perennial gifts of asparagus, rhubarb and chives) until early June.
June starts lightly, a little kale, a little lettuce, perhaps some spinach, and some other odds and ends. Things expand exponentially as we add the CSA harvests to our dockets in mid-June. Harvesting veggies for nearly 300 families is (at least) a whole day affair.
Our wholesale availability lists begin to expand in late June, and by early July we find ourselves in a brand new rhythm of 40+ hours of harvesting each week instead of 40+ hours of field maintenance. Hauling vegetables in from the fields becomes more of the priority than keeping them planted and maintained. Though there is still plenty of field work to be done, it’s no longer front of mind. The bounty has begun and we don’t want anything to go to waste.
Zucchini and cucumbers are the most demanding– requiring harvest every-other-day of the week, rain or shine, through heat waves and on weekends regardless of our exhaustion level. Skip a day of zucchini or cucumber harvest and the fruits grow monstrous and unusable. There’s just no point. So last week we began these harvests, hauling in a couple hundred pounds a day. With multiple plantings and favorable weather for these plentiful cucurbit crops, we only anticipate the yields increasing from here.
Alongside the abundant harvests comes an abundance of zucchini into my kitchen. In the past, it’s a crop I’ve largely ignored, leaving the seconds for everyone else to pick through. But this year, I feel inspired by these beautiful little fruits. We’ll be harvesting them for the next ten weeks. It feels wrong not to give them the proper focus in my kitchen.
We begin with a recipe inspired by one of our crew members. When our darling Peach headed out on the first zucchini harvest of the season two Wednesdays ago, she could hardly contain her enthusiasm for zucchini pancakes. She dreamed up a recipe right there in the field. She planned to add some of our beautiful chard, scallions and perhaps even green garlic to the batter. She talked of an herb yogurt sauce she would dollop on top.
It reminded me of one of my mom’s creations from her own garden: a savory zucchini potato pancake served with sour cream and ketchup. It became immediately apparent that a zucchini pancake needed to find its way to this blog. So here it is, a lovely recipe for zucchini pancakes inspired by two humans I adore. It uses a bunch of zucchini and makes a ton of pancakes which makes our busy farming bodies very happy! I hope you enjoy it and I hope you are just as excited as I am for the start of zucchini season!
ZUCCHINI & GREENS PANCAKES
Eight cups of shredded zucchini is a good amount of zucchini. It will be 4-6 small to medium zucchinis or 1-2 large ones. I recommend using a food processor for shredding (if you have one) as it will be way faster and way easier. I’m slow to use my food processor unless it’s a big batch. This is a big batch. It’s worth it.
Makes 20 (ish) pancakes
Takes 45 minutes
8 cups grated zucchini
1 bunch scallions
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch kale (or chard or collards), stems removed, finely chopped
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 small lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon hot suace
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh herbs (dill, chives, basil, mint, cilantro all work great), optional
- Lay out your shredded zucchini in a kitchen towel and squeeze to drain out some of the liquid. You can also do this by
- Combine zucchini, scallions, garlic, kale (or chard) in a (very) large bowl. The bowl of a stand mixer works great if you have one. Add eggs and stir until the veggies are well-coated with the eggs. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Again, stir until everything is well-coated. Finally, add the butter and stir to combine.
- Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil (or another neutral cooking oil). Add 1/4 cupfuls of zucchini pancake batter to the pan (as many as fit without crowding– for me that was three). Cook on each side until a dark brown, about 2 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining batter until you make all 20 (ish) of your pancakes, adding oil as needed.
- In a small bowl, combine yogurt, mayo, lime juice, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and then add in fresh herbs (if you’ve got them).
- Serve warm fritters with several dollops of herbed yogurt sauce.