Zucchini are fantastic vegetables. Not only are they tasty and can be used in multiple ways, but they’re also easy to grow.
And therein lies the problem.
Because zucchini grows quickly and plentifully, it’s easy to lose track of them. And believe me, it seems to happen overnight. One day your zucchini looks fine and is a perfect size. The next day you have a monster in your yard.
If this has happened to you, you might be wondering whether these huge zucchini are still good to eat.
Oversized zucchini are still edible and can be used in several ways. However, a large zucchini is not as tasty as a smaller one and will not be suitable for all recipes. In addition, their skins are tougher and the insides less firm.
Read on to learn more about these giants of the garden and how they can be put to good use.
Overgrown Zucchini – Why It Happens and What to Do With Them
Whether large or small, zucchini are great vegetables that are full of nutrients. And, once they start growing, they grow fast and plentiful.
Depending on the care you give it, your zucchini plant can produce anywhere from 2 – 3 dozen zucchini. So, as you can imagine, it’s easy for zucchini to get away from you, especially if you have more than one plant.
I know this first hand.
And although still edible and usable, a bigger zucchini is not as tasty or versatile as a smaller zucchini. The insides can become too fibrous and watery, and the large seeds are more difficult to eat.
What Is the Average Size of a Zucchini?
Zucchini can range anywhere from 4” baby-sized lengths to 2 ft or longer giants.
But what’s the average size of a zucchini?
According to the University of Florida’s IFAS Extension office, smaller varieties average 5” – 6” in length and longer varieties 14” – 16”, with most varieties averaging about 3” – 4” in diameter.
Fun fact – According to the Guinness World Records, the longest zucchini recorded was 8 ft. 3.3 in!
But, I wouldn’t get too hung up on the “normal” size of a zucchini. Because, no matter what its size, you can always do something with your zucchini. Even if it’s just feeding your compost pile.
3 Reasons Why Zucchini Get So Large
Zucchini grow large for several reasons, which can include,
- The plant is getting lots of nutrients and water. This can be from extra healthy soil or because you’re providing fertilizer. Abundant nutrients encourage the fruit to grow quickly.
- The zucchini is left unattended and harvested late. This is the most common reason gardeners end up with oversized zucchini.
- You’re pruning your zucchini plant. This means more nutrients will feed the fruit instead of the leaves. And if you do this often, this can especially result in large zucchini.
What to Do With Your Large Zucchini
So what can you do with your massive zucchini? Besides, of course, tossing it onto the compost pile?
Luckily, there are a number of ways you can use your overgrown zucchini.
But first, let’s talk about how you don’t want to use a sizeable zucchini.
When you slice open an overgrown zucchini, you’ll often find on the inside, where the seeds are, the flesh is spongier and mushier than a younger zucchini. Too, the skin tends to be tougher and the seeds will be larger.
For these reasons, some zucchini preparations and recipes are not suitable for oversized zucchinis.
I love putting raw zucchini in my salads. Small zucchini, that is. Raw zucchini in a salad is not something you want to do with your large zucchini.
In fact, in general, you don’t want to use large zucchini raw in any recipe.
I also don’t recommend grilling large zucchini as a first choice. You can do it, but I find it’s not as tasty as smaller-sized zucchini. Plus the spongy inside doesn’t have the best texture.
So, what are the best ways to use a large zucchini?
You can use an overgrown zucchini by,
- Dicing the zucchini and putting it into a stew
- Scooping out the seeds and spongy inside, stuffing the zucchini, and then baking it.
- Roasting the zucchini.
- Shredding the zucchini and using it in a muffin, bread, or dessert recipe.
- Shredding the zucchini and freezing it for later use.
If you’d like some additional ways to prepare large zucchini, then take a look at this post from Staying Close To Home.
How to Prevent Your Zucchini from Becoming Overgrown
So, how do you stop your zucchini from becoming too big in the first place?
Zucchini plants are large plants with large leaves. It’s easy for a zucchini fruit to get lost under the foliage and not be spotted until it’s overgrown.
So, checking your zucchini plants regularly is the first key to preventing them from becoming too large.
By checking frequently, you can make sure to pick your fruit early and often. In general, you want to harvest your zucchini when they’re about 6” – 7” long.
- Huge zucchini are still edible.
- There are several ways you can use a large zucchini.
- Although edible, huge zucchinis are not suitable for all recipes as they’ll be tougher and have a spongier interior.
- Picking often and early is the key to preventing overgrown zucchini.
Head over to my beginner’s zucchini guide if you’d like to learn more about growing zucchini.
And if you enjoyed this article on huge zucchinis and whether they’re still good, feel free to share it.