Squash any thoughts you might have about giving away a garden’s worth of zucchini today. Turn it into a sweet, savory dessert instead: April 25 is National Zucchini Bread Day!
Similar to banana bread, zucchini bread is considered a “quick bread.” These bread types don’t use yeast as a leavening agent and require no fermentation, so the dough can be baked immediately. Quick breads originated in the United States in the 18th century with the discovery of pearlash, a leavening agent that produces carbon dioxide gas in dough. They became a favorite during the Civil War when food was scarce and a loaf of bread could be whipped up quickly to feed the soldiers, hence the name. Zucchini itself is the result of a squash plant, native to America, that was brought back to Italy and mutated. Which is not to say it grew teeth and started eating people ala Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors, though that would make for a rather interesting history. Zucchini grow rapidly and can become quite large, exceeding 3′ in length. They are usually picked when they’re smaller, as the flavor is better and gardeners won’t break their backs hauling them into the kitchen that way. Because they are so easy to grow, they have a reputation for overabundance. Stories persist of people waking up to bags full of zucchini on their front porches, left there in the dead of night by gardeners seeking to rid themselves of excess squash. That’s never happened to me, though I did find a steaming bag of something else on the front porch once. Zucchini bread is the result of home cooks trying to come up with something, anything, to do with all that damn zucchini. The first time I heard of it I though, eww, even though I love zucchini. It didn’t sound very appealing in a bread – but it’s actually very good that way.
For today’s challenge, Tara baked up a loaf of zucchini bread ourselves. It turned out delicious!