Zucchini Butter with Fresh Herbs

Long-cooked zucchini butter is the perfect way to reduce large amounts of zucchini into a flavorful spread.

Zucchini butter on a baguette slice

Many years ago, I published this recipe for zucchini butter on a food-centric website that I ran as part of my last job. Sadly, they pulled that old site down recently, which left me with broken links and no way to share the goodness of zucchini butter when asked (the recipe is also in Preserving by the Pint, but not everyone has that book at their fingertips).

I learned to cook zucchini like this from my friend Lucy. At the time, she worked as a flower gardener at a historical home in Virginia. On stormy days, the outdoor staff would gather in their little kitchen and cook up produce from the garden.

During one of those cooking sessions, an Italian vegetable gardener taught her to slow cook zucchini with herbs until it melted into a spreadable, succulent paste. I’ve never been more grateful for a second-hand cooking lesson, as this humble little butter is intensely delicious. I like to spread it on toast or toss it with warm pasta.

Zucchini Butter

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 5 garlic cloves, gently smashed
  • 2 large zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 2 pounds)
  • 5-6 springs of thyme (rosemary is also good here)
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely milled sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Place the olive oil and butter and allow them to melt together. Roughly chop the smashed garlic and add it to the pan. Add the zucchini cubes.
  2. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the zucchini has begun to soften. Strip the thyme leaves off their stems and add them to the pan.
  3. Reduce the heat and continue to cook, stirring often. The goal is to cook the liquid out of the zucchini and melt it into a flavorful, spreadable paste. If at any point, the zucchini starts to brown and stick, add a splash of liquid (water is fine, though if you have an open bottle, a little white wine is also delicious) and reduce the heat a bit more.
  4. Total cooking time should be right around an hour.
  5. Once cooked, divide the spread between two half pint jars. It will keep up to 2 weeks in the fridge or a year in the freezer.
http://foodinjars.com/2016/09/zucchini-butter/

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13 Responses to Zucchini Butter with Fresh Herbs

  1. 1
    Angela says:

    This recipe is by far my favorite thing to do with zucchini! I could eat it forever. Thank you for re-sharing.

  2. 2
    Tina says:

    Sounds wonderful! Do you remove the seeds from the zucchini? Also, can you use those baseball bat size ones for this recipe? 😀 Many thanks!

  3. 3
    Molly says:

    Thank you for reposting this for anybody who hasn’t had the good fortune to try it yet. Alas, my zucchini plants have been stingy this year so I have been dehydrating them to squirrel away for winter. If I can find a good local price on it, I’ll treat myself to another batch of Zucchini Butter.

  4. 4
    Handful says:

    Interesting!

  5. 5
    BLDinMT says:

    I am SO excited to learn of this! I mean, what gardener couldn’t use a recipe for taming mounds of zucchini! No matter how we plan or how many plants we grow there always seems to be at least one period where it is hard to keep up. Now I’ve got a game plan.

  6. 6
    Linda says:

    Thank you so much for this delicious sounding recipe! Also for saying how much zucchini in lb’s I home grow mine and sometimes end up with a baseball bat of a zucchini!

  7. 7
    Becky says:

    I love this recipe. And now I’m intrigued by the story of where it came from (knowing an Italian gardener who works at a historical house in my own Virginia town).

    I would add, zucchini butter is also a fantastic pizza topping, used in lieu of sauce.

    • 7.1
      Marisa says:

      Becky, it may be the same Italian gardener. My friend Lucy was the head flower gardener at Monticello for a time in the early 2000s.

  8. 8
    Molly Simms says:

    At the end of my Southern Hemisphere Winter, I still have some grated zucchini in the freezer. Do you think this would work with frozen zucchini?

  9. 9
    Chris says:

    Great recipe, I made it and added some hot peppers! YUM

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