They say when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. When you have way too much zucchini, you make cake and share with others.
Last month, Jennifer borrowed our cattle clippers to get their 4-H animals ready for their county fair. We didn’t need them back right away, and life got busy for both our families. Before we knew it, state fair was just around the corner, and we were going to need our clippers back to get ready for classification.
With all the hustle of straw, fourth-crop hay and canning, I hadn’t really had any time to bake sweets and treats. I was starting to crave something with chocolate but didn’t have the motivation to whip anything up. Just then, Jennifer dropped by to return our clippers and to share her bounty of zucchini in the only way I’ll eat it – baked in a chocolate cake. She brought a couple recipes. Both were delicious and were gone by the next day.
Al also shared his bounty of sweet plums with us this past week. Their fragrance filled my kitchen as they sat on my counter. I scoured my canning books and put a couple of recipes together to come up with plum orange jam. Austin said it’s good, but he just likes the taste of plums. The orange pulls out and enhances the plum flavor. I’ll bet this is going to be our favorite taste of summer on a cold winter morning.

Blueberry zucchini squares by Jennifer Burgraff
2 cups shredded zucchini
½ cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Dash of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a jelly roll pan. In a small bowl, combine zucchini, buttermilk, lemon peel and lemon juice; toss to combine. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. In another bowl, whisk 3 1/4 cup flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture, alternately with zucchini mixture. Mix well after each addition. Toss blueberries with remaining 2 tablespoons flour; fold into batter. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake 30- 35 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely in pan. Make the glaze; mix glaze ingredients until smooth, and spread over top of baked bars. Let stand until set.

Chocolate zucchini cake by Burgraff family
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons cocoa
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs. Mix dry ingredients together in small bowl. Add to batter, alternating with buttermilk. Fold in zucchini until well blended. Pour into a greased and floured 9-by-13 pan. Top with chips and nuts. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

Plum orange jam      
5 cups chopped and pitted plums (about 3 pounds)
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
Juice of one orange
1 package powdered pectin (pink box)
4 1/4 cups sugar
Combine plums, orange peel and juice in large, heavy bottomed saucepan. In a small bowl, mix together pectin and 1/4 cup sugar; add to plums. Stir well. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add remaining sugar, stirring until dissolved. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in boiling water canner. Makes 3-4 pints.

As their four children pursue dairy careers off the family farm, Natalie and Mark are starting a new adventure of milking registered Holsteins just because they like good cows on their farm north of Rice, Minnesota.