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Planet  |  Food

How to Not Get Sick of Zucchini on a 10-Mile Diet

Sometimes, local eating means getting very creative.

When Tricia Beckner asked me to eat only what she can produce on her CSA farm-ette for a month, just to see what happens, I was game. As you’ll see, we’ve widened the circle a little to include food produced 10 miles from my home on Whidbey Island, with exceptions made for 4 essentials: oil, salt (+5 other spices), caffeine, and lemons (until I can find local apple cider vinegar). Read more.

Zucchini, photo by Food Thinkers

Photo by Food Thinkers

I’m here eating some zookies while I write this post before bed. I had zackers earlier today with some goat cheese, but I felt like a bit of sweetness tonight.

Say what?

In my search for crunch I learned that you could dehydrate zucchini and have something like a chip, or as much like a chip as I am going to get during my month of 10-mile eating.

I pulled out the dehydrating racks for my convention oven and started a zucchini chip factory. I call them zackers: zucchini crackers. Of course, you already got it that zookies are the same thing, only made with honey rather than butter.

Zackers not only provide crunch (when done perfectly), but they are perfect for the one that got away—as in the zucchini that hid and got away with growing to the size of a baseball bat before being apprehended.

Zucchini Wars
by Barbara Kingsolver
Barbara Kingsolver and family, photo by Hank Daniel

"I come from a proud line of folks who know how to deal with squash."

Making the chips is simple. Slice zucchinis about 1/4 inch thick, lay on racks, and dehydrate at about 125-145 degrees until crisp but not brittle. Put the whole batch in a covered jar for a day or so to even out texture. That is, unless you eat them all within a day.

Zuke bats seem to be growing in everyone's gardens right now, so my friends Raven and Karen had a zucchini party to see what creativity our community might muster. They came up with a clever recipe for zucchini ganoush.

But I'm looking to fill my bread vacuum, so I'll try the recipe Tricia sent instead (so I won't have to set the hairdryer on some wheat chaff next time I want a pancake):

Zucchini Pancakes:
makes approximately 9 – 2×2 inch pancakes

3 small zucchinis, or about 1 1/2 cup grated
1 small carrot, grated
1 small tomato, chopped
2 eggs

Mix grated zucchini and carrot in a bowl. Stir in salt, and let sit for 10 minutes. The salt will pull some of the extra water out of the vegetables and make them better pancakes. Next, squeeze out the excess water, transferring the zucchini mixture it to a dry bowl. Add eggs and tomato, stir. Heat a cast iron pan on medium heat, like you would for pancakes. Wait until it is hot to add some butter, then spoon in the zuke mixture, making the pancakes about 2 inches by 2 inches, or to your desired size. Cook until they are easy to turn over, but not burned. It is a subtle art, but if you make good pancakes, it will be a breeze!

For the Garlic & Onion Lovers: You can also add garlic and onions to the pancakes, just chop them very small.

Zucchini as big as baseball bats seems funny now in the late summer, but I am also aware, as I slice and dehydrate (with a lot of electricity) these big bats, that I would have to process 100 zukes to have enough for a month's worth of chips and stews and fritters and soups in the winter. Feeding oneself for a year, not a month, is no joke.

And with that sobering thought I’ll have one more zacker (butter and salt) and then off to bed. Nicely full—and thankful for it.


Vicki Robin is blogging for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions, about her experiment with a 10-mile diet on Whidbey Island, Wa. The coauthor of Your Money or Your Life, Vicki teaches classes about frugal, creative, and self-sufficient living (see www.yourmoneyoryourlife.org). 

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