Ask the Past: courgette glut

I planted a couple of courgette plants this summer, and they are both producing like mad. That would be too many courgettes just on its own, but now my veggie box is including them, and I don't know what to do. They are piling up on my countertop, and I am sick of the sight of them. Can you suggest some ways to use them up?

Unfortunately, judging from most of the recipe books I checked, it seems that the old fashioned way to deal with too many courgettes was to avoid eating them in the first place. I can find very few recipes for courgettes (or zucchini, for that matter). However, if you just leave them to grow up into marrows, then suddenly it's a different story. Here is a recipe for Marrow Cream from Farmhouse Fare (1946) that will use up a few of those marrows:

2 lbs. marrow; 2 lbs. lump sugar; 1/4 lb. butter; 2 lemons

Peel the marrow and boil until it is quite soft; strain well and beat to a pulp. Then put into a saucepan with the sugar, butter, and the juice and grated rind of the lemons. Boil slowly all together for 3/4 hour. This makes a filling equally as nice as lemon cheese.

From Mrs S. Mills, Warwickshire

In case you've never heard of lemon cheese, or if you want to make it as well just to test Mrs S. Mills' assertion that marrow jam is just as good, Farmhouse Fare includes a recipe for that:

2 eggs; 2 lemons; 8 ozs. sugar; 5 ozs. butter

Peel the lemons as thinly as possible, and squeeze out the juice. Put both the rind and the juice in the saucepan with the sugar and butter and dissolve very slowly. Beat up the eggs, then stir the lemon etc., onto them. Strain, return to the pan, and stir over a low burner until the mixture comes to a boil and is thick and creamy. The cheese may be made most satisfactorily in a double saucepan. The steaming ensures the slow melting of the sugar and butter which is so essential. I find this recipe most useful as a means of using up cracked eggs.

From Mrs. E Beveridge, Fifeshire

If for any reason you don't want to take sides in the marrow cream/lemon cheese debate, Lady Hackett's Household Guide (1940) has a simple recipe for Vegetable Marrow:

Take the marrow, wipe and peel thinly; cut in four from end to end, remove the seeds, and cut in neat pieces. Place in the boiling salted water, and boil gently till tender. Drain, dish on toast, and coat with the melted butter.

For a complete marrow meal, you could follow Lady Hackett's recipe with this recipe for Vegetable Marrow Pudding, from British Everyday Cookery (1910):

1 small Marrow; 2 oz. Butter; 1 teacup Breadcrumbs; 3 Eggs; 2 tablespoons Flour; 2 oz. Sugar; 1 Lemon.

Boil the marrow, peeled and cut in pieces, with a little salt. When tender drain and press through a sieve. Mix with flour and crumbs. Add the butter and sugar beaten to a cream, the grated rind and juice of a lemon (if a small one). Pour into a well-buttered mould, and bake (or it may be steamed) for 1 1/2 hours.

I'm sure that will help.

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