Garden Tip Number 4837

Zucchini grows from seed to maturity in about 50 days. That means that if you were imprudent and planted your zucchini as early as possible, you might be well into harvesting your second ton of this squash by now - assuming of course that you only have one plant. It also means that you have had a chance to try hundreds of recipes - except for the color, the zucchini frozen yogurt with basil and brown sugar isn't really as bad as it sounds - and you are looking through your senior year high school annual to see if you can find someone you know who has not already been the lucky recipient of a "gift" from your garden.

Well, have I got a tip for you! (I must confess, that this one is not original. It came from the November 1989 issue of National Gardening.) You can use zucchini to treat your aching tootsies - no, you do not have to submerge your feet in chilled zucchini slush. Believe it or not, someone has discovered that zucchini can be used to stretch your shoes. Here's how.

First you have to coarsely chop up a large zucchini and boil it until it is sort of squishy. Next you have to scoop out the squishy part and drain it in a large strainer for a while. After some of the excess water has drained off, spoon the stuff into a freezer bag - the original article suggests using two nested bags to assure that none of the squish escapes. Finally, stuff the bag(s) into a shoe that you want to stretch and put everything into the freezer overnight. The next morning...voila. Your shoe is slightly larger than it was the night before and now fits like a glove. Of course you have to wait an hour or so for the slush to thaw enough to extract the bag before you can try on the shoe.

An added benefit to this method of shoe stretching is that you still have a bag of squished zucchini when you finish with your shoes. This combined in a sauce pan with a quarter pound of tofu and some grated rutabaga...

Gary Gruenhagen
July, 1997