I came home from a week away to find 2 small marrows (they had definitely outgrown zucchini/courgette status but were quite petite for the marrow category) sitting on the freezer. There were several zucchini sitting in the fridge, and when i went out to the garden next morning i discovered 2 more little marrows and 4 zucchini that required immediate picking in order to prevent a serious marrow problem.
The husband tends to feel somewhat overwhelmed by the task of "staying on top of the zucchini situation" when i go away, as not only does it require frequent checking of the plants, but also a large commitment to eating curcubits when you are home alone. As he suggested to me, perhaps he should just dispose of the evidence of his failure by feeding the excess to the cattle. I agreed that as long as i had no knowledge of him actually doing so, this would be a satisfactory solution.
In the meantime, i have been doing my best to alleviate the marrow situation. I've had steamed marrow drizzled with olive oil and chopped herbs for breakfast several days in a row (since marrows are mostly water i find i can get through most of a small specimen per breakfast).
I also felt a responsibility to do something about the fast-growing pile of zucchini in the fridge. Luckily
I had recently had a recipe for zucchini bread and butter pickles land in my in-box, courtesy of NZ Life and Leisure magazine. I'd registered its presence, but when i went back to find it, it was gone. However a quick google of bread-and-butter pickle recipes brings up plenty of options. They are all pretty similar; involving vinegar (some used cider vinegar, some used malt vinegar, some used white vinegar, so just use what you have available), sugar (white or brown or a mix of the two), turmeric (for the yellow colouring), mustard seed and celery seed. Some included other pickling spices; i had no celery seed, so omitted that and used peppercorns, dill seed and a couple of cloves for the pickling spice. Bernadette's recipe (below) also included a quarter teaspoon of dried chilli flakes, but since i have grown some beautiful large red chillies this year i have been substituting fresh chilli for any recipe that calls for dried chilli.
ZUCCHINNI BREAD and BUTTER PICKLES
By Bernadette Hogg
4 cups thinly sliced zucchini, gherkins or small cucumbers
1 tablespoon salt
good handful of ice cubes
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon pickling spices
1/4 to 1/2 a large red chilli, deseeded and chopped very small
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Place zucchini in a large sieve or colander over a bowl and toss through salt and ice cubes. Leave for an hour then wash off salt with cold water and drain well.
Into a large saucepan or preserving pan place vinegar, sugar and all the seeds and spices. Bring to the boil and immediately add all the sliced vegetables. Cover, return to the boil then lower to a simmer and cook 4 minutes, stirring once or twice. Take off the heat, transfer to hot sterilised jars and seal. Leave for a week before consuming.
Pickles will keep at least 6 months in a cool, dark cupboard. Store in fridge once opened.