Grandma’s Zucchini Bread
What a weird summer season we’ve had here in the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania. August alone, which is typically a month of brown lawns and shriveled leaves on trees that are too thirsty, has dumped more than 10 inches of rain on our already sopping wet and ungrateful heads! I’ve always thought of rain in summer as the best gift you could give a gardener. Now I know that there is indeed such a thing as too much of a good thing.
Thanks to the abundance of moisture this summer, my vegetable garden has been a flop, literally. Every plant has flopped over in submission to the routine deluges that pour from cloud-infested skies. My tomatoes were long ago ripped out, the victims of the insipid late blight. The bunnies beat me to my beans once the plants started splaying themselves out at perfect bunny nibbling height. Moles took refuge in the broken down rhubarb leaves – massive thanks to the tropical moisture levels – and have made a mess of my alpine strawberry patch. And, alas, the vine crops – namely summer squash, zucchini, and cucumbers – have all literally split open their stems, unable to cope with the sheer volume of water in the soil.
Needless to say, it’s been a challenging summer. All of these crops are among my favorites and as we have unceremoniously rounded the corner into September this week, I find myself in a state of shock that somehow summer never really “happened” this year and it’s not going to at this point. A summer without sun-warmed vine-ripened yellow tomatoes alone is one that just doesn’t make sense in my homegrown obsessed brain.
Fortunately, before my zucchini plants gave up the ghost, they did yield a bagful of long green fruits. Contrary to many folks’ experiences, even my own in childhood, zucchini is not proving to be a prolific producer in my garden in recent years. I have funny memories as a kid of neighbors trying to con other neighbors into taking their surplus zucchini, even though everyone in my small hometown was growing the stuff. We probably could have collectively baked a million loaves of Zucchini Bread and sent them to some poor hungry nation on the other side of the globe to ease world hunger. Really, we had that much surplus! In more recent memory, in travels up through New England’s back roads, I’ve seen big boxes of zucchini along the roadside with an honor payment system – “5 for a $1”. If only I were lucky enough to get that many anymore!
With the harvest that I got this summer, there was only one thing to make from them. My grandma always put her surplus zucchini in a delicious and moist quick bread that had us kids fooled for quite some time, not realizing we were being tricked into eating this icky green vegetable! Just like Chocolate Beet Cake, Zucchini Bread packs a lot of healthy vegetable into a tasty sweet treat. As my grandma journeys through her golden years, I’m trying to make a point of collecting my favorite of her recipes and get them perfected while I still have her experienced hand to guide me. And, of course, I love sharing them with you! These are the kinds of recipes you don’t see in your ordinary cookbook, right?
My Grandma’s Zucchini Bread
2 C. sugar
1 C. vegetable oil
2 C. grated zucchini
3 t. vanilla
3 C. flour
1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1 T. cinnamon
Spray a large loaf pan with nonstick spray and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Mix together eggs, sugar, oil, zucchini and vanilla together and set aside. In another bowl or a ziplock bag, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, mixing just until everything is evenly moist.
Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown on top and springy to the touch. Let cool before cutting. If desired, loaves freeze very well to keeping. Just wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag.
(makes 1 large loaf)