Zucchini: Taming the Great Green Beast

greenbeastWhy do we do this to ourselves every year?

Why do we each insist on growing multiple zucchini plants?

We know this fertility goddess will produce squashes of gigantic proportions and quantity far beyond reasonable use, creating squash chaos for all by the end of summer—yet we persist.

And why do we feel it’s our duty to see that every last zucchini that sprouts from Mother Earth gets used by someone in something?

A package of seeds costs about a buck. From that package you could potentially grow hundreds of zucchinis, making each squash worth a mere pittance. Yet we are willing to risk the trust of our families by sneaking zucchini into recipes for months, and alienate beloved friends and neighbors by becoming the zucchini equivalent of Amway reps, “Hey, we haven’t seen you guys in a while and we just wanted to come by and say hello. Oh, and share with you a great produce opportunity!”

I confess to contributing to the squash crisis.

My name is Kari, and I’m a multiple zucchini mound planter.

But I had a traumatic zucchini growing experience once, which justifies my behavior. One year, I decided to stop the madness and only planted one mound. Wouldn’t you know, after producing only one putrid shriveled squash, the sickly plant croaked.

Believe me, it’s pathetic being the neighborhood zucchini beggar.

First, everyone thinks you’re the ultimate black thumb if you can’t grow zucchini. Second, even if you try to keep your zucchini needs on the down low—whispering discretely to a few close neighbors—word spreads anyway and, oh the motherload that ends up on your porch, in your car, milk box, mailbox, and purse when you’re not looking. Or, if you decide to keep your dark green shame to yourself and actually buy zucchini at the store, everyone pities you because only a social leper would have to actually purchase zucchini.

I’m also guilty of zuch-duping food.

All summer, my children eat in terrified suspicion that they’ve been tricked into consuming a green vegetable against their will—from spaghetti with garden-variety marinara sauce and green-speckled meatballs, to dessert of frosted squash-olate cake.

I’ve even shredded and frozen it in freezer bags to use throughout the winter!

I can’t help myself!

I was taught in my youth it is a cardinal sin to waste food, especially food God’s green Earth granted you. You have to use every last morsel of it or you will be struck with a curse of famine and misfortune out of wasteful ingratitude.

But I have come up with a brilliant plan to end this scourge once and for all.

We will form neighborhood squash co-ops. Each year, one person in the neighborhood will be designated as the “Zuch Keeper” and grow the official neighborhood zucchini plant. This will rotate annually. Then when the plant’s vivacious virility goes berserk, each family will be issued a useful portion of its plentiful fruit.

Think how freeing this will be!

No more guilt of waste!

No more googling and Pinteresting for new zuch uses!

No more shameful anonymous squash dumping, or awkward squash begging if you’re a zuch-growing loser! (If this is you, ask to be excused from the rotation on grounds of allergies, political differences, or something.)

Organize your co-ops now! Let us tame the Great Green Beast once and for all.

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