It’s that time of year again for our proliferate zucchini. Cucurbita pepo, a member of the cucumber/melon family, originated in Mexico; this was not only grown by Central and South Americans, but also by our own Native Americans, long before the Europeans arrived. Nonetheless, the version we know in the U.S. today is a variety of summer squash developed in Italy.
In actuality this is a fruit, not a vegetable, as it contains seeds. While usually the male and female counterparts are present in one plant, these components in this fruit exist in separate plants. In the biological world, the female produces ovules, the equivalent of eggs, while the male produces pollen, which is like sperm in the animal kingdom. Birds and especially bees transfer this pollen from the individual male to the female zucchini plants, producing abundant fruit, provided both these individual organisms reside together in any given garden.
I have a proven recipe to make use of this fertile squash, in which I suggest utilizing the health-promoting ingredients grapeseed oil and coconut sugar. Grapeseed, along with coconut and avocado oils, can be heated to high temperatures without producing carcinogens; it is mild in flavor; thus, it is ideal for baking.
Comparing refined with coconut sugar, we see very little difference in their nutritional profiles on the surface; their caloric and carbohydrate content is very similar. Such figures, however, don’t tell the hidden benefits of this healthier coconut sweetener which is barely processed; it is obtained by heating the sap of the coconut flower until most of the liquid is evaporated.
This alternative has a little more nutrition, as it contains small amounts of zinc, iron, calcium, and potassium, where the refined version holds empty calories. More importantly, coconut sugar possesses a much lower glycemic index; this greatly reduces any tendency to spike the blood sugar, making it a possible substitute for those dealing with milder forms of blood sugar problems. Always be sure to check with your healthcare specialist concerning your own personal diet!
I use this “healthy” substitute in both my zucchini and banana breads; see Banana Bread (2017/05/29). My larder perpetually boast of one or the other of these, both of which I make with fresh ground, organic, hard red spring wheat berries. These specific berries contain a variety of nutrients including vitamin E, calcium, B vitamins, folate, and potassium; one serving also provides 20% of the daily value of dietary fiber, 8% of needed iron, and the same amount of protein as found in an egg, or 6 grams. Breads last for lengthy periods of time, when made with this fresh ground flour.
To easily bake these perfect zucchini loaves in the off-season months, I encourage you to freeze plenty of this grated “fruit/vegetable” in 1-cup packages, while the abundance lasts.
Zucchini Bread Yields: 2 loaves. Total prep time: 1 1/2 hr/ active prep time: 30 min/ baking time: 1 hr.
3 c flour (Fresh-ground provides the highest quality; use 2 c organic, hard red spring wheat berries to make 3 c fresh ground flour; see photo.)
2 1/4 c sugar (Coconut sugar is best; always available at Trader’s and at times Costco.)
1 c oil (Grapeseed or avocado oil is important here; these may be heated to high temperatures without damage.)
3 tsp vanilla extract (Ask vacationers to bring a liter bottle back from Mexico; this is of the highest quality and dirt cheap.)
1 tsp salt (Himalayan, pink, or Real Salt is critical for optimum health; an inexpensive fine grind Himalayan salt is available at Costco.)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
4 tsp cinnamon (Our local Fred Meyer’s has an excellent, organic Korintje cinnamon in bulk inexpensively.)
2 c zucchini (If using frozen zucchini, remove 1 tbsp of liquid from each thawed 1c package; be sure to thaw in a dish to catch juices; it is best to freeze these ahead, while zucchini is available; see photo.)
1 c nuts, optional
Spray oil (Coconut spray oil is best; Pam is available in most supermarkets; our local Winco-brand, however, is far less expensive.)
Flour for dusting pans
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- If grinding fresh flour, do so now; see above photo.
- Beat eggs in a large bowl, add sugar, blend until creamy. Beat in oil and vanilla well.
- Place flour in a large bowl; stir in salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon with a fork vigorously, or shake all well in a sealed gallon-size storage bag.
- Mix flour mixture into egg/sugar/oil; when adding flour, do not over-beat, as this toughens the bread.
- Fold in zucchini and optional nuts. Note: if using frozen zucchini, remove 1 tbsp of liquid from each 1 c package, which have been thawed in a bowl to preserve juices.
- Spray and lightly flour two 8 x 4 inch loaf pans (coconut spray oil is important for quality and flavor); pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the loaf responds when pressed with finger; may also test with a toothpick, which will come out clean when done. Do not over-bake, as this will continue to cook some, while cooling for 15 minutes in the pan set on a rack; see photo.
- This is magnificent, health-giving bread!