Courgette (Zucchini) Soup; and Inherited Pack Rat Tendencies

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I'm a pack rat.  I save things, in case I might need it some day.  I like to have a full pantry and a full freezer.  I don't like to throw things out. 

It's not my fault, though.  It's genetic.  My father was a pack rat. 

He loved working with wood in his spare time; building book cases, small tables, corner shelves…. His garage was always filled with scraps of wood; bits of this and that.  In order to get into the car on 'his' side one had to carefully walk on the pile of boards.  My mother's 'side' was kept clear.

The only big fight I remember my parents having was when my mother decided to clean my father's garage. 

In retrospect I can't believe she had the audacity to do it, but she did. And I don't remember HOW she did it.  She didn't drive, and we didn't have a second car.  We kids were in school so we couldn't bear witness to the deed.  I just remember getting home from school and seeing an immaculate garage: the floor clean, tools neatly hung up on the walls, my father's workbench tidied up, and not a scrap of precious wood anywhere.

Frankly, I'm surprised both parents survived the incident.  My father was surely at risk of heart failure from the incredible anger he felt at having all of his stored wood summarily dispatched to who knows where, not to mention being devastated from having his sanctuary so violated.  My mother, well, 'nuff said on why SHE was at risk…

To be fair, she had been asking him to 'straighten it out' for, oh, I don't know, 5 years?  10 years?

My father was a laid back, gentle soul who didn't let little things like climbing over boards to get in the car bother him.  And he would spend hours in his garage creating useful and beautiful things out of his 'scraps'.

My mother was a 'no nonsense, a place for everything and everything in it's place sort'; all unnecessary or unused items quickly disposed of, either to charity or the dump.

I feel both of them, at odds in me: my desire for a neat, orderly house warring with the urge to keep it 'in case I might need it/have use for it' someday.

So, I guess I'm a neat pack rat.

One of the things that happens every year, chez moi, is that I carefully fill my freezer with courgette, pumpkin, tomatoes, beans, herbs, etc. all summer and fall.  By the end of the season my vegetable freezer is full to bursting with the summer's bounty. 

Then I don't use it. I save it.

To be fair, it's nice to take a break; to buy local winter vegetables; cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, sunchokes; things I don't grow.

Now it's February, time to start working seriously on the freezer.  Everything always gets eaten before it's time to start filling it again.  It usually stands empty for all of June. But mon mari has been, er, reminding me…

Courgette (zucchini) is one of the most freezer friendly (after tomatoes) vegetables I grow. 
To use as a vegetable: simply shred it and pop it into freezer bags: 1 1/2 cups frozen yields 1 cup usable. (It releases a lot of water on thawing.) 
To use I toss into soups, stir-fries, casseroles or just quickly sauté  with shallots or onions.

I also freeze it for soup: cut it into chunks and heat it with a bit of chicken or vegetable stock, just until boiling.  Cool and freeze in 2 cup containers.

I used to think that there was nothing worthy in zucchini; no health benefits at all; probably because everyone was always trying to get rid of them.  I mean, If they were good for you people would eat them, right?  Rather than leave them on the neighbor's doorstep in the middle of the night?

I was wrong (Whew, glad I got that over for the year- my annual mistake)

The lovely green monster is loaded with vitamins, especially the B's, and minerals, even iron!

So: it's easy to grow, easy to freeze and healthy to boot!  Let's hear it for Courgette!! And summer!

This Weekend Herb Blogging, the fantastic event founded by Kalyn, of Kalyn's Kitchen, is being hosted by my friend Ulrike, of Kuchenlatein.  Visit her blog on Monday for veggie-centric recipes from around the world.

Courgette (Zucchini) Soup

2 cups chopped zucchini, un-peeled (or one container of frozen-for-soup)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 – 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tbs butter
1 tsp thyme
2 tbs (1 oz, 30 ml) Crème fraiche or Greek yogurt for garnish

Chop onion and zucchini. In medium saucepan sauté onion in butter until transparent. Add zucchini, thyme and just enough chicken stock to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Puree solids, adding enough of the stock to get the consistency for the soup that you like – we like it thick. Serve, either hot or cold, with a dollop of crème fraiche in the center (draw a knife through it to make fancy patterns if you are feeling creative).

Summer: For chilled soup make at least 2 hours or up to 1 day in advance. Garnish with freshly snipped chives or a dollop of homemade pesto.

Winter: Serve hot, garnished with some freshly ground pepper……. Not necessary to wield a
3 foot tall pepper grinder at the table, however.

Computer tip of the day: (a bit of unsolicited, unpaid for, information)  If you like music while you're on the computer, have you tried Radio 365?  I found this about a year ago, when the actual radio station I was listening to discovered  I was in France and cut me off.  It's free and they have about a gazillion 'stations' that play whatever you want…  I've had it on my computer for over a year with no problems.

Back to the food… Don't forget: Monday, Kuchenlatein.

Oh, and my father?  Six months later his garage was comfortably back to normal; his tools strewn about where he could find them; a pile of lumber slowly growing along one wall.  My mother never cleaned it again.

Détente was established.

Bon Weekend!
 

27 thoughts on “Courgette (Zucchini) Soup; and Inherited Pack Rat Tendencies”

  1. I’ve never made zucchini soup, can you believe it? I’m sure it’s delicious. It sounds delicious with pesto, or even a bit of parmesan cheese!
    I’m laughing because I’m also a neat pack rat. Recently I realized my collection of plastic refrigerator containers is out of control. (I keep changing my mind about what size I want.) I’m trying to figure out who I can give some to, since I can’t bear to just throw them away.

  2. I think you’ve described me as well: a neat packrat. I loathe having things in the fridge I don’t have an immediate use for and I want it put away/put to use ASAP, but I can’t part with any of it, since I might need it. Like towards the end of the cranberry season, I had to buy a few extra bags because SOON THEY WOULD BE GONE! So now I have a few bags in the freezer. Waiting. 😉
    I’ve never had zucchini soup but it sure looks good!
    Also, about the internet radio thing, another good one you may or may not have heard of: http://www.pandora.com. Its not good for finding specific stuff that you like, but it is very good at helping to expose you to things that it thinks you will like (it plays something, you give it thumbs up/down, and it adjusts what it plays next, and so on, learning all the while. Pretty neat!)

  3. I tried out a zucchini soup for the first time last year and I was suprised by the all the flavour it had…no doubt your soup was much enjoyed by the family.

  4. Ah, isn’t this the story in most homes? I’m at a stage where I’m trying to throw out everything I don’t need, and the Spouse is quite the opposite. However much I try, there are little piles of bills and books all over the place! And even then, I can’t say it’s all the Spouse’s doing.

  5. I’ve tried to save stuff for later, but usually ended up having a feng shui attack and throwing/giving it all away.

  6. I’m a neat-ish freak, married to a pack rat. In an unspoken way, we’ve divided our territory — neat pantry, messy barn and half of the cellar to each of us. The freezer is entirely my terrain, and it’s also filled with things I made in summer to last through the winter. Time to stop saving and start eating!

  7. Betty, Mustard! What a good idea…I’m surprised I didn’t think of it, as I tend to put mustard in just about everything…
    Thanks, Ulrike – and thanks for hosting 😉
    Kalyn, don’t even talk to me about plastic containers… and don’t get mon mari started either… Try the soup – it’s great cold in the summer!
    Mike, Pandora WAS great – but they cut off all of us Eurpeans last fall! I got in such a habit of stocking up when we lived in Andorra – they would have, say, Teriyaki sauce once, and then not again for 2 years. So we all got in the habit of buying up everything in sight…Bad inventory control As to the cranberries…guilty! I found them for the first time in 10 years… You can guess the rest…
    Peter, it is a bit surprising as one doesnt’ usually think of zucchini as being that flavorful..
    Sra, mon mari through out my sewing machine… but that’s another story…
    Colleen, maybe that’s what I need, an attack of something…as long as it doesn’t hurt!
    Lydia, I just have to convince mon mari not to mess with MY stuff…it hasn’t been easy (not above reference to sewing machine)

  8. Don’t you think it’s interesting how many couples, and successful couples at that, have those areas of polar opposition. Glad to hear Détente was re-established.
    Sounds like yummy soup. I’ll have to try that freezer trick with the zuc.

  9. I was a serious pack rat also when we lived in Ohio. There were just the two of us and we had a hugh 4 bedroom house with a full basement, extra large double size garage and a fairly nice barn. Talk about stuff! My hubby was just as much a pack rat as I with his workshop. Most of my pack rat stuff was related to the kitchen in one way or another. But when we move to Key West to a very small 2 bedroom home with no basement or garage and a very small lot, the word in our vocabulary was DOWN SIZE! It took me quite some time to get over giving away most of my stuff, but it was farmed out to family and friends. So that made me feel better!
    Your soup looks and sounds wonderful. I remember the abundence of zucchini that would show up on doorsteps when we lived north. Too funny! They would even show up in our mailboxes!

  10. I like it that you’re a “neat pack rat”. I come from a “throw away family”. I find it hard to recycle a lot of things and reuse them…thank goodbness for the Blue Box and their recycling program 😀 The zucchini soup sounds so comforting on a day like this…although the sun is shining today…a rare occasion in the valley in the winter “D

  11. I admire that you save all of your veggies and freeze them. I would like to so when I get out “more on my own”.
    This sounds so creamy and light. I love the garnish with Greek yogurt. I LOVE Greek yogurt-so creamy and tangy. So good for sweet and savory applications.

  12. My wife is a pack rat. The fridge is always full, freezer too. All around the apartment are boxes filled with this and that, everytime I try to get things out she says she needs everything. I’ve tried the 12 month rule, you know, where if you don’t use or touch something for 12 months…out it goes, but nothing ever leaves, our apartment is like a big, black hole, sucking in everything from the universe, no frozen zucchinis though, I’m not even going to tell her they can be frozen, it’s zucchini season here right now.

  13. What’s wrong with saving things in the freezer? I have a whole collection of things in there. I’m sure they will be worth a lot of money someday! 🙂
    Beautiful soup!!! I’m going to make it and store some of it in the freezer.

  14. Lovely looking soup. Have never made zuccini soup before. The recipe sounds very tempting. I love the garnish with Greek yogurt. I love the use of Greek yogurt-so creamy and tangy.

  15. I am a recovered pack rat so I understand both sides. It is a really hard habit to break, but there is a freedom to it, really. In any case, I love storing veggies for later use, and I am sure I would do the same as you if I had a garden of my own. But the farmer’s market will have to do for me! That soup looks really beautiful with its rich green color!

  16. I’m also a Pack Rat, Katie. My garage is full of things I will probably never ever use again, but I cannot throw all that stuff away… just in case, one day I need or I can let it to someone. I still have my school books and notebooks! This Zuchini soup is lovely, easy and quick. Thanks!

  17. I have the same genetic background, except less in the tidy department. My parents keep their marriage happy by the happy expedient of a whole separate room for my father in the basement. Tools, wood, camping gear, paint. If you need it, he can find it. Just don’t try to find it yourself!

  18. Tanna, it freezes really well – and then you delay the trip to the compost pile by at least 6 months!
    Deb, we’re still working on the down-sizing part. We get rid of a bit more with each move… but never enough.
    Val, I think I’ve gotten worse since we are no longer gainfully employed. I used to have the attitude that ‘throw it out, if I need it I’ll buy another’, Now I’m just the opposite. Have to work on that ‘happy medium’ thing!
    Emiline, gardens are great – so is Greek Yogurt. But, I’ve always wanted to live in a city – never have…
    Neil, I told her – beware the green invasion of the freezer… I’m also going to send her some of my plastic containers. I don’t mind getting rid of them if I know they’ll be in a good hole, I mean, home.
    Sher, that’s what e-bay is for, right?
    Archana, I never had either, but if you plant the green monsters, you have to get creative.
    JennDZ, one can RECOVER? There’s hope!
    Georgetta, that’s what freezers are for!
    Oh, Nuria, I still have MY schoolbooks… One never knows when a refresher in trigonometry will be needed.
    Lynn, and I bet your mother will never clean it….smart woman!

  19. Tigerfish, I didn’t know that until after I finished the post…serendipity…
    Heidi, it’s a great deal ….with some pretty bazarre stations…

  20. When my father died it took us several long days cleaning out his garage (no car only junk) and his many shed but we had lots of laughs and memories as we turfed everything out.
    I didn’t know you could freeze courgettes I thought they just turned to water. Thanks for the hint. They are cheap now being summer.
    Once again an interesting post..love them Katie

  21. Wow, that soup looks yummy.
    Its funny I was just talking with my friend the other day and she was adamant that you could not freeze zuccini. I’m glad she is WRONG! We love zuccini and are always trying figure out what to do with it all.

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