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How do I make the most of courgettes and marrows?

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Ramona Andrews Ramona Andrews | 16:13 UK time, Friday, 20 August 2010

There's no denying how delicious baby courgettes are and if you're growing your own it's a good idea to pick them nice and early. But life doesn't always go the way we want it to, and nor do our vegetable-picking habits - like this gardener from south Wales whose nearly record-breaking marrow broke his heart when it split. But where were we? Yes, if you're stuck with a glut of massive marrows this year or have been given a big 'un (or three), look no further for inspiration...

OK marrows are sometimes more water than flavour, but they can replace courgettes in many recipes. First up are those recipes that I think fit into the 'come again?' category, like this marrow cake and raisin-flecked courgette cake. Then there's the 'you what?' of courgette chocolate cake - apparently a good way to get kids to eat their greens (by way of lots of chocolate...hmmm...).

Marrow fritters are another great way to squash marrow into dishes. If that doesn't tempt you, there's always soup - chill it and serve with goats' milk yoghurt or try a heartier soup like this creamy marrow concoction. Delia suggests either baking or frying her courgette and potato cakes, while the NotDelia site recommends more things to do with courgettes - though not as silly as these five things to do with a marrow!

There was talk of marrow chutney on the messageboard this week. Ginger marrow jam is one way to go. Or what about courgette pickle?

Stuffing is another option - I've stuffed two marrows so far this summer. Hollow out the middle, bake the marrow halves for a bit, then stuff them. I used a homemade tomato sauce, sprinkled polenta and parmesan on top of mine and baked them some more - lovely. A spiced lamb or beef mince stuffing also does the trick - I like Nigel Slater's twist on this classic. Antony Worrall Thompson has two suggestions for stuffing marrow in one recipe. And I've just been salivating over this stunning-looking vegetarian Koussa mehshi (Lebanese stuffed marrow).

And if all that isn't enough to keep you entertained, perhaps Kenneth William's marrow song will do the trick!

Ramona Andrews is the host of the BBC Food Q&A blog and messageboard.


  • Comment number 1.

    Really useful and timely article, Ramona - thanks! My courgettes are overwhelming me and I'd been running out of ideas - the marrow fritters definately sound worth a go.

    And the Kenneth Williams Marrow Song had me chuckling like a schoolboy!

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Ramona,

    I got some free vegetable seeds courtesy of Dig in but the courgettes are yet to materialize... I do have a lot of flowers though which I love tempura style. Everybody has been saying the courgettes will come eventually...... no sign of them yet though!

    There are some delicious ideas here for if they do eventually grow. One of my favourite courgette recipes is to slice them lengthwise with a mandolin and briefly griddle them. Chill and serve as a salad with a garlic vinaigrette. Wonderful served warm as well with some lamb cutlets.

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Ramona,
    Timely blog. I do not grow courgettes/marrows anymore and rarely buy marrows although they were two for £1 in my local market this week.
    My Mum frequently served them up stuffed with savoury mince, polenta hadn't been invented then! I have tried both marrow and ginger jam and marrow chutney and to be honest, was disappointed in both. The marrow chutney needed so many other things to give it flavour and texture it really wasn't marrow.

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi Luca - if you are taking the flowers off for cooking, you may be taking off the future courgettes too. You need to only take the male flowers, and not all of them either, or the female flowers will not be fertilised. You should be able to see the difference, as the female flowers are slightly swollen behind the head, where the courgettes will develop. [Hope I'm not teaching Granny to suck eggs here ;-)]

    Really fresh small courgettes are nice sliced thinly into salads.

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi Sue,

    Thanks for that info... I haven't been taking all the flowers off - only about 50% as I'm the only one who eats them, but didn't realise that the female ones were slightly swollen... I've checked and there is no discernible difference in any of them and none of them are swollen... I think it's a bit like my household (except for me of course!)... all male!

  • Comment number 6.

    Ramona could explain the difference between marrow and courgette.
    No the difference is not just the size.
    As for the link about about close to record size marrow he was even further off then he thought since current record is 206 lbs and a few odd oz.

  • Comment number 7.

    I find courgettes need added flavour to make them interesting as a side vegetable but they are good as an added ingredient in other dishes. I often add grated courgette to cooked pasta with grated lemon rind and some creme fraiche. It makes a perfect mid week meal, larder to table in 15 minutes. I add them grated to scones with crumbled fetta,or drop scones with some chopped herbs to serve for breakfast with some bacon. All in all, a very versatile addition to the larder. My family would probably be amazed at how often they have eaten it!

  • Comment number 8.

    Speaking of the flowers, I spotted this lovely-looking Nigel Slater recipe this weekend:

    And there's more information about the difference between courgettes and marrows here:

  • Comment number 9.

    Seem to be quite a few cake recipes around using courgettes - Good Food website for a start. Anyone used them? I would be concerned about the amount of liquid.
    This blog prompted me to ask my neighbour whether she wanted to come to lunch for a stuffed marrow retro meal this week - too much for one and it doesn't warm through. We are on for Wednesday, stuffed marrow, runner beans and potatoes.

  • Comment number 10.

    We had the first of our courgettes yesterday(courtesy of Nigel Slaters Dig In campaign) although it had been silently growing under some tomatoes so has turned into a marrow, I made some spicy lamb mince and topped with feta cheese then baked and served with salad & pots from the garden.

  • Comment number 11.

    My courgettes have done well though beginning to slow down now. Yesterday I made spiced courgette & sweetcorn fritters served with herby yoghurt dip when I had friends round for dinner and my son's favourite courgette, carrot & coriander soup. I think they are a really versatile veg and will be disappointed when the sesson ends

  • Comment number 12.

    Courgettes are great to make eggless lemon curd a wartime recipe that is great for people who are allegic to eggs.

    When we have a glut (not this year as only 1 plant survived a late freeze so just a nice trickle of veg) I use them to make cakes. A bit like making a carrot cake.

  • Comment number 13.

    Hi Ramona,
    I just found a little way of getting rid of courgettes even when they are huge.
    Just peel them and slice, lightly fry with some chopped bacon until soft using corn oil, this takes a while, a spoon of olive oil and a knob of butter. Add s&p to taste. When well soft, blitz them in the blender (with bacon) and then seive the "gloop" into a bowl. The Fibre and chipped bacon can be mixed with mash to make patties. For serving this thick tasty soup,grate some red leicester in before heating, season with Pepper, try a tablespoon of red wine in the soup (old French trick), This, is real "bloke food"!

  • Comment number 14.

    Lucky this woman didn't use up all her courgettes making cakes, fritters and chutneys, eh?

  • Comment number 15.

    Here is a bobby dazzler of recipe to make a delicious courgette pickle which helps use some of the surplus of summer crops.


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