Last fall one of our neighbors brought over a large zucchini. Now, when I say large, I mean a gigantic, on steroids, larger than an eggplant monstrosity! It was so large that I had no clue what to do with it besides cut it up and throw it in the freezer.
Fast forward to this week. On Monday I looked at the bananas in my kitchen and decided it was time to do some banana bread. I opened my trusty Betty Crocker Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Cook Today, New Tenth Edition that was a gift a few years back to find the recipe. On the same page was a recipe for Zucchini Bread!
If you've read other posts that I have done, you know that I don't tend to do things small. In fact, I tend to drive my husband crazy because I do not like to do small batches or projects. Because of this particular character trait and another factor, I decided to triple the recipe. Honestly, it was fun!
Just in case you are curious, the Betty Crocker recipe is:
3 cups shredded zucchini
1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts
1/2 cup raisins, if desired
Put your oven rack so the tops of the pans will be in the center of the oven, pre-heat to 350 degrees, grease pans, mix ingredients (zucchini, sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs first) then pour into your pans.
The first step in this process was to prep the zucchini. I detest grating. The idea of grating all the zucchini was a horrible thought. Yet again, I was so grateful I have a juicer! I threw the gallon-sized bag of thawing zucchini in the juicer and in 5 minutes I had the pulp and juice mixed back together and ready to go. It made almost exactly 9 cups.
So I took all the ingredients and multiplied by three. I had my children there and I had them do the math "for" me. It was a nice little teaching moment. Do I get a good-job-momma gold star?
The kids helped me measure all the ingredients, mix the batter and generally make a huge mess. Once we had all the ingredients mixed together I realized that I was going to blog about this so here's the picture of the mess we made. Delightful isn't it?
While I was adding all the ingredients, I decided to use 6 cups of all-purpose flour and 3 cups of whole wheat flour. I have a large amount of wonderful wheat that I want to start integrating into our diet but I am slowly incorporating it to avoid tummy troubles.
I did hit one snafoo when adding ingredients. I could not find ground cloves. I had whole cloves so I pulled them out and looked at them closely. Did you know at the top of a clove there is a little ball? If you grab that in between your index finger and thumb, squeeze and twist slightly, it crumbles. I squeezed and twisted slightly for about 1/2 a teaspoon before I was tired of that option. I went and grabbed nutmeg and added 1 teaspoon to the batter. I think nutmeg and cloves smell similar and it wouldn't be a terrible substitution.
Once my batter was complete, I started filling pans. I didn't want all simple large loaves that you have to cut. I wanted easy to grab zucchini bread. I purchased a snazzy mini-loaf pan a week or two ago that makes 8 small loaves at a time. I also have 2 mini-muffin pans that make 24 muffins at a time. I started baking these suckers up and 2 hours later I had 2 regular loaves, 8 mini-loaves and approximately 100 mini muffins.
The mini-muffins cooked for 10 minutes, the mini-loaves cooked for 15 minutes and the loaves cooked for 50 minutes in my oven.
In case you are wondering what on earth I would do with so many, I took some to the farmer's market, I gave some away, I will freeze about half of this to pull out later, and I put the rest in the refrigerator. They will last about 2 weeks in the fridge but I'm sure we will eat them within a week.
Tonight while I was in town I went to Walmart and purchased another mini-loaf pan because I like the size they make, I have another gallon bag of frozen zucchini and I have bananas and strawberries waiting to become strawberry-banana bread. (Enough for a triple batch of course!)
For the important part, the cost was minimal. I used zucchini that I received for free from a neighbor, I used almost a whole bag of flour which is $3.00 at the store, I used about 1/4 of a #10 can of sugar which I can get for around $4.00, a dozen eggs which are about $1.25 and other miscellaneous items which total around a dollar. For $6.25 I made a lot of bread and to make it even better, I sold several muffins and received $3.00. All this food for $3.25? This is a GREAT day!