Joel In The Garden

Gad-zukes! Pick ripe zucchini - before it's too late

Gad-zukes! Pick ripe zucchini - before it's too late
Duck, duck, zuke!

Watch Joel in the Garden on KMTR NewsSource 16 Thursdays at 6 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

EUGENE, Ore. — The late summer harvest is on, and while gardeners wait for their tomatoes to turn red before they pick them off the vine, other veggies are better picked while they're young.

Here's a pretty good example of why you shouldn't go on vacation without first checking your garden, especially if you planted zucchini: You could return and find gourds that're two feet long or bigger.

And while that seems like a good problem to have, a better question is, what do you plan to do with all of that?

“A large zucchini, when they swell up to that size, they kind of get a foamy texture,” chef Kieran Greaney said. “They get a large seed core in the middle and the bulk of it is really unusable.”

But Greaney, the head chef at the Pizza Research Institute, uses every bit of these young zucchini, slicing them thin in seconds on a mandolin.

“We do a roasted zucchini with olive oil and some herbs and top that with smoked cheddar and fresh mushrooms,” Greaney said.

The Pizza Research Institute, which is in the Whiteaker neighborhood of Eugene, combines unorthodox vegetables into creative pizza recipes.

“It really adds that fresh burst of flavor. You can really kind of taste the Oregon rain and you can taste a little bit of everything. It brings a real brightness to the pizza,” Greaney said.

Zucchini are a good source of both potassium and B-vitamins.