Italian for”little gourd”, zucchini have become as common a staple into the North American home as carrots or corn. Especially loved by anglers for their easy growing demands and their abundant harvest, zucchini are a versatile food that is good for your waistline, center, and taste buds!
Members of the Cucurbitaceae family (like other squash), zucchini is typically long and cylindrical and has a thin freckled skin, much like a cucumber. But, fruit from this member of the Italian marrow squash can also be found in round and other odd shapes.
Zucchini are a mandatory component for producing the dish ratatouille. They’re perfect when combined with butter, oil, or frying. Their flavour can be mild, so zucchini often needs a little boost in flavor by adding spices such as garlic, thyme, or rosemary, or simply by being paired with other veggies. One of our favorite dishes only combines diced zucchini with corn, red peppers, onions, and jalapenos, tossed with a bit of our poultry and pork rub and oil, then roasted until caramelized.
The colour of zucchini varies from yellow to near black to lighter shades of green, some with stripes and others without. Many varieties exhibit various degrees of speckling, and others have ridges resembling a cucumber. While found in their dark green form in several market stalls, do not hesitate to find them called”grisette” (grey) in Provence, or”Aurore” or”Reine-des-Noires” depending on their shade of green. In addition to being named by their color, they could be known by their regional name, such as courgette, summer squash, or marrow squash.
Rich in carotene, pectin, Vitamins A and B, zucchini also provides heart healthy fiber, folic acid, potassium, and magnesium, with extremely low levels of sodium and fat.
Even though the zucchini is available year round, summer is without question the best time to buy because its prime expansion period is late summer. This is also the stage in the season where its flavor is at its peak. Zucchini tastes best when young, small, and heavy for its size. Look for business zucchini that is regular in shape without blemishes or yellowish patches, and using a tight, shiny skin. Smaller zucchini are preferable, because they get bigger their flesh becomes stringy, tough, and bland, and the number of seeds within increases.
Zucchini gets the best shelf life when kept in a dark, cool location. Whole or sliced zucchini don’t take well to freezing due to their high water content. However, it is possible to shred or grate the zucchini, squeeze out excess moisture, and then freeze it. This is nice for when you want to use zucchini in baked applications such as zucchini bread.
Zucchini can be prepared in many different ways, making it a excellent vegetable for use in virtually any dish. . .few items are less appetizing than overcooked zucchini, which becomes mushy, limp and at times bitter.
Steaming: Pour steamed zucchini into a casserole or nibble on individual pieces for a nutritious snack.
Don’t forget to wash and slice the ends off first.
Frying: Make a crispy appetizer or party thing by dipping unpeeled slices in an egg wash and breadcrumbs, and then fry in hot vegetable oil.
A traditional thing that has made a comeback on pricey dinner menus is fried zucchini blossoms. Baby zucchini flowers are usually stuffed with some type of savory filling, dipped in an egg and flour mixture, and either deep fried in oil or put on a griddle and flipped like pancakes.
Baking: Zucchini is delicious oven roasted–either alone or with other vegetables. For a straightforward side-dish full of taste, simply drizzle pieces of zucchini with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast in a 350º oven until tender (length of time depends on thickness of slices). You can also substitute zucchini on your banana bread or pumpkin bread recipe to make the traditional zucchini bread – a real treat that your children will love.
Grilling: If you find yourself facing a massive size zucchini, you do not necessarily need to throw it away. Slice into 1/2 – 3/4 inch rounds, drizzle with olive oil, season with your favorite dry rub, and toss them on the grill for about 8 – 10 minutes.