Zucchini Orange Bread with Pecans

Zucchini Orange Bread with Pecans

Even if you dislike zucchini, you’re sure to love this bread!  This is a wonderful way to use up some of your bumper crop of zucchini in summer and early autumn, or a way to use up those zucchini that grew too large.  The orange zest imparts a wonderful, and unexpected, mild citrus flavor to this dense, moist, and flavorful quick bread.  The warm spices are reminiscent of the flavors we’ve come to expect in early fall. The zucchini can be shredded, and frozen in 2 cup allotments, for use in this recipe throughout the fall the winter seasons, long after your zucchini plants have been removed from the garden.

Yield: 2 loaves; 16 slices per loaf

4 farm fresh eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil*
2/3 cup orange juice
2 cups shredded unpeeled garden-grown zucchini
3 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

*Note: Because this recipe is oil-based (not butter or margarine) you can substitute unsweetened applesauce for the oil to decrease the amount of total fat in this recipe (each slice contains approximately 7g fat per serving as written).  This can be anything up to a 1:1 substitution without affecting the quality of the bread.

Heat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour the bottom of two 8×4 or 9×5 loaf pans.

If necessary, split the zucchini length-wise, and remove any large seeds (this is only necessary if the zucchini was left on the vine too long).  Shred the zucchini using a box grater, or shredding blade on your food processor.

Zest the orange (Microplane graters are the easiest to use for this task), cut in half, and squeeze the juice.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the eggs until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually beat in sugar. Stir in the oil (and/or applesauce), orange juice and zucchini until well blended.  In a separate bowl add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and orange zest, and stir until combined.  Gradually stir this mixture into the egg mixture until well combined.  Fold in the nuts.  Pour the batter into prepared pans. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 min; remove from pans. Cool completely on racks before serving.

Store in an airtight container, or wrap and freeze one loaf for later.  Better yet, share one with a friend or neighbor!