Three tips to improve any zucchini bread recipe.

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It’s here. This is that point in the summer where you might find yourself in the Zucchini Zone, thanks to an over-productive backyard garden (or a neighbor’s over-productive garden). When you’re absolutely drowning in zucchini, you’re in the Zone. Which means it’s time for zucchini bread. This classic summertime quick bread is easy to whip up and it freezes well, which means you can stash a few extra loaves in the freezer to enjoy later on.

No matter what recipe you use, here are a few tips to make your favorite zucchini bread even better.

Grate the zucchini

Use the large, not small, holes of a box grater to shred the zucchini. Most recipes instruct you to wrap the zucchini shreds in several layers of paper towels, then squeeze the bundle to remove as much liquid as possible. But Deb Perelman, cookbook author and creator of the beloved food blog Smitten Kitchen, says the extra moisture actually keeps the zucchini bread from drying out. Skipping this step also makes the recipe come together even faster.

Watch: How to Make Zucchini Bread

Don’t forget the spices

Like carrot, pumpkin, and other vegetable-based quick breads, zucchini bread needs the warmth of a few spices. Ground cinnamon is a must, and a pinch of nutmeg, cardamom, or ginger will add more depth and richness.  

Add some stir-ins

Plain zucchini bread is delicious, especially when toasted and slathered with butter. But it’s also a great blank canvas for other flavors. Obviously, toasted chopped nuts (like pecans or walnuts) are a welcome addition. Chocolate and zucchini are a delicious pairing—for a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf, stir in 1 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks. Or, for a hint of sweetness, I also like adding ½ cup dried cherries or golden raisins.

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