Abandoned Zucchini Bread with Marmalade Thyme Butter

Lock your cars and sun porches, it’s zucchini season here in Vermont!

It’s long been a joke that the only time anyone around here locks the car is during zucchini season. They grow really fast, especially if there’s been a lot of rain, and it always seems like these fruits go from tender little treasures to baseball-bat size in the blink of an eye. No matter how religiously you think you’ve harvested, you will often find them hiding under the abundant leaves!

I have a friend who used to impale a large zucchini on the post of her garden, as an example, to deter other zucchinis who might want to grow so large. It didn’t work

Although full of seeds and sporting a much thicker skin than immature fruit, large zucchini are still perfectly edible. The texture is not as uniform as when small, and the flavor is muted as well. However, they make lovely pureed soups and can still be used to make “zoodles” those spiral zucchini noodles that are so popular.

When life hands you a zucchini, make bread

But my favorite use of these abandoned oversized fruits is zucchini bread. Grated, the fresh flesh makes a moist and delicious quick bread that has no real flavor of vegetable. Often loaded with cinnamon and other warm spices as well as nuts and dried fruits, they make lovely gifts and holiday treats. You can also grate those monsters and freeze them for baking later in the year. When my sister gave up her kitchen garden, she would ask me to save a large zucchini for just that purpose.

If you don’t have a garden or have not been targeted for a drop-off, many farm stands sell them for pennies!

Pass it along

The two giants I received this week (thanks Amie!) were destined for bread. I handed off one of these abandoned fruits to my sister, and set to work grating the other for myself. Starting with my sister’s recipe, and keeping it simple, I added just cinnamon this time around, but you could add a bit of nutmeg or ginger as well. I used no nuts or dried fruits, but in the past have used a variety, and once in a while, chocolate chips!

A little whole grain, and a little less sugar

I swapped out most of the white flour with white whole wheat flour, and reduced the sugar from two cups to a total of one, adding some brown sugar to the mix. I did not peel the zucchini, so there were green specks in the finished product. If you wish to disguise the vegetable, peel it before grating.

Because zucchini has so much water, it is important to let it drain and squeeze out excess moisture before adding it to the batter, even then it will still add lots of moisture to the bread. This loaf was moist, delicious, and didn’t need a thing, well, except for a little smear of marmalade butter, below! I made one large loaf and eight muffins from the recipe. You could make two slightly smaller loaves if you wish.

Abandoned Zucchini Bread

  • 1 large zucchini, shredded, four cups or so
  • 260 g. white whole wheat flour, a bit more than two cups
  • 120 g. unbleached white all-purpose flour, about a cup
  • 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla paste
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Optional: 1 cup of chopped nuts, raisins, etc., or a mix of whatever

            Cut your massive zucchini lengthwise into quarters. Scoop out the seeds. Grate, either with or without the peeling; if you use the peeling, there will be green flecks in the bread. Place 4 cups in a colander. Salt lightly, and let drain for about a half hour. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8-inch loaf pan, and muffin tin, or two loaf pans.

Place drained zucchini in a kitchen towel and squeeze out all the moisture. A lot will come out. Set aside.

            Sift together flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. If you are using nuts or dried fruits, add them now.

This makes lovely muffins as well.

            In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and zest, and add the zucchini. Gently combine with the dry ingredients, mixing only until there are no pockets of flour. If you plan to use nuts or dried fruits, add to the dry ingredients and coat them well.

            Divide the batter into two 8″ loaves or one loaf and muffins. I made eight this time, but a few of them were really large, so it probably makes 10.

            Set the timer for 30 minutes and turn the pans around for even browning. Bake for another 10 or 15 minutes and check to see if they are done. A toothpick inserted in the thickest middle will come out clean, visually the top will be nicely browned, and a gentle touch will reveal a firm loaf. It will also smell wonderful in your kitchen. 

            Let cool in the pan for five minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool. Serve warm, with a beautiful butter, such as the marmalade butter below! 

Marmalade & Thyme Butter

  • 1 stick of softened butter or vegan butter
  • ½ cup good quality, bitter marmalade
  • ½ tsp. fresh thyme leaves, minced

Mix together with a wire whisk until smooth, and enjoy! You can freeze this for several months, and it makes a lovely gift.

Riley is obviously in control of the situation…

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70 Comments Add yours

  1. Suzassippi says:

    Love the doggies! I love zucchini bread, too. Maybe when my new kitchen is done, I will try this in my new double oven range. 🙂

    1. A perfect and quick bake to break ins your new oven! When will your kitchen be done?

      1. Suzassippi says:

        Installation of cabinets and flooring is set for August 16, and counter top will take another 4 weeks before it is done. Sigh.

      2. Everything is taking forever these days!

  2. capost2k says:

    Zucchini bread takes me back tot he loaves my Mother used to bake when Dad has his huge garden in Kansas City, KS. From his growing up in Paradise, Kansas, Mother would say, “You can take the farmer off the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the farmer.” 😁

  3. Amie read says:

    It’s delicious! I’m visiting and just had some!

  4. Haha!! Its zucchini invasion over here too!! I love the detering future zucchinis not working at your friend’s home. 2 feet long zucchinis in my daughter’s garden and we are all wondering how to use it all LOL

    1. Good luck! My daughter has been away from home for a week, so she’s planning some drive-by zucchini drop-offs…

  5. BERNADETTE says:

    Laughed my way through your writing today. But, I do seriously think the recipe looks too good not to make. Have a wonderful weekend Dorothy.

    1. Thanks Bernadette! Zucchinis are always a little funny!

  6. NativeNM says:

    One of the local farms just opened with their first harvest of zucchini and I picked up a couple to make bread also. Your zucchini bread looks divine and that marmalade thyme butter . . . oh my!!

    1. It’s such a wonderful time of year! Enjoy your beautiful bread!

  7. I can’t grow squash – too many pests take them out before I can pick them. I can almost taste this delicious looking bread. Hmm. I love zucchini bread.

    1. Ah, too bad! It has always been one of my favorites too, Judy!

  8. What a yummy coffee compliment! Reblog?

    1. Absolutely! Be my guest!

      1. YumMM! Thanks very much Dorothy! Have a splendid weekend!

  9. The bread looks so moist and tasty! Marmalade-thyme butter must be so good with it. 🙂

    1. Thank you Ronit. The zucchini always makes a moist bread or cake, and we really like this one. I like it with nuts, but we have nut allergies in our family.

  10. Veerle alias docV says:

    Lovely recipes

    1. Thank you! The bread is always a hit.

  11. sherry says:

    abandoned zucchini? that’s so funny. i used to make a chocolate zuke cake with olive oil – delish!

    1. Oh yes, zucchini is phenomenal in chocolate cake. I have a recipe from my friend Catherine, and it is amazing, and you’d never know there was a vegetable in it! https://vintagekitchen.org/2019/09/05/catherines-chocolate-zucchini-cake/

  12. Chef Mimi says:

    A lovely idea. I remember when I used to make quick breads how moist the zucchini made them. Instead, when I have a glut of zucchini, which I’m ready for any time now….. I make zucchini pancakes. Some people call them fritters, but I love them as a side dish, and you can really alter the add-ins. I’m just more of a savory gal.

    1. Oh yes, zucchini pancakes (or fritters) are absolutely delicious! Thanks for the reminder!

  13. Gail says:

    You are a marvel in the kitchen. Such delicious ideas with a plethora of zucchini. 🥒🍃🍊

    1. Thank you Gail! When life gives you a ton of zucchini, make zucchini bread…

  14. Angela says:

    That looks SO good, Dorothy. Thank you for sharing. I’ve no room for zucchini but often thought I’d grow it in a pot just for the blossoms. Still, good old-fashioned zucchini bread is always a treat that’s worth the time.

    1. Thank you Angela! I love the blossoms too! They are so pretty and delicious stuffed.

  15. Zucchini really is magical in baked goods and I love zucchini bread…the butter sounds really good!

    1. Thank you Jenna! The butter, and the bread, were big hits!

  16. Great recipe. I am just starting to get zucchini from my little garden…love the recipe. xo

    1. Thank you, and good luck with your little garden!!!!

  17. Sowmya says:

    Wonderful use of zuchini. Great preparation Dorothy

    1. Thank you! This doesn’t last long here!

      1. Sowmya says:


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  19. Julia says:

    A fun post with a great sounding recipe! I enjoyed the pictures of the dogs as well.

    1. Thank you Julia! It is a nice recipe, and the dogs provide comic relief while I’m cooking!

  20. Klausbernd says:

    Hi Dorothy,
    thanks for sharing your recipes. Looks absolute YUMMY! As we bake our own bread we’ll try out your recipe soon.
    All the best
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. Thank you Fab Four! Enjoy your bread on this lovely weekend.

  21. Oh yum! I love the sound of the marmalade thyme butter, especially on some squidgey zucchini bread – this is my kryptonite!

    1. I had a loaf on the counter and a full house. They kept walking by and cutting off “just a bit.” Didn’t last long. The marmalade butter didn’t last either!

  22. Nancy says:

    You gave me a giggle about your friend impaling one on a garden post! Love zucchini bread! And the zucchini are about to start showing up on our door steps! So zucchini bread is in our future here too.
    Happy August and try not to get in the zucchini throwing contest!

    1. You too, Nancy! better to use the zucchini as bats!

      1. Nancy says:

        You just gave me my morning smile! 🙂

      2. So glad! Have a lovely day!

  23. A perfect way to use those zucchini. I love them in so many ways but to my shame I never tried the zucchini bread! I can feel the smell with that touch of cinnamon and dried fruits 😋😋

    1. It’s one of those bakes that makes the house smell like home!

  24. Ally Bean says:

    I haven’t had zucchini bread, abandoned or intentionally found, in years. I like your marmalade thyme butter. I’ve never thought to mix those ingredients together, and it sounds delicious.

    1. Thanks Ally, everyone LOVED the marmalade thyme butter! It was one of those inspirations, I was making the butter and the thyme was sitting on the counter asking to be used!

  25. NancyC says:

    This looks like a wondeful loaf of zucchini bread! The Marmalade and Thyme butter sound wonderful too! 🙂

    1. Thank you Nancy! They were really delicious together!

  26. The bread looks scrumptious and I love the flavors in the butter.

    1. Thank you Jovina! It was delicious, and the butter really made it special.

  27. terrie gura says:

    Ooh, the marmalade and thyme butter sounds incredible! Your story made me laugh, because this is exactly how zucchini season was in my hometown in upstate N.Y.; you had to fight your neighbors to keep it away! Haha

    I sometimes miss those gigantic squash though; I recently made a stuffed squash with a giant we picked up at the farmers’ market. 🙂

    1. I love it stuffed too! You can put just about anything in it, too it with cheese, and you’re all set!

  28. Carolyn Page says:

    Now when I read it makes great muffins, you had me! What a great treat that would be with a piping hot cuppa.
    Dorothy, the image of Riley and co is absolutely adorable..

    1. Thank you Carolyn! I like making this into muffins so I can freeze what we’re not going to eat in a few days.
      Riley keeps us, and the older dog, hopping!

  29. The Marmalade Thyme Butter sounds wonderful with the zucchini bread!

    1. It was truly delicious! We’ve made it again.

  30. stefano says:

    always surprised by the size of some of your US courgettes 🙂 .. Zucchini bread we do not have in Italy and it is something I have come to appreciate through the late Gina de Palma. The addition here of white wholemeal flour is good, I really love it and I use it often. We do have a sweet thing with courgette in Italy and it is called “scarpaccia”, from Tuscany: basically a courgette pudding, very custardy and light (on my blog in the archives). stefano

    1. Thanks Stefano! The carpaccio sounds divine, and I will indeed look up your recipe!

  31. Forestwood says:

    Yes I like the sounds of this. It is a perfect way to use up those super fast growing zucchinis. Keeping this recipe!

    1. It’s a good one, I think you’ll like it.

      1. Forestwood says:

        Thanks again

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