ZucchiniSee more Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs
July 15 - September 30
July 15 - September 15
Probably the best known of the summer squashes, zucchini is a type of narrow squash that resembles a cucumber in size and shape, although round varieties are gaining popularity. It has smooth, thin skin that is either green or yellow in colour and can be striped or speckled. Its edible flowers are often used in French and Italian cooking.
What to Look For
Look for small, firm zucchini with bright colour and no bruises or soft spots, particularly at the stem end. While zucchini can grow into metre long giants, the flesh becomes tough, stringy and of overwhelming quantity.
Cleaning and Preparation
Zucchini need a good scrubbing, but should not be peeled as the skin adds colour, texture, and nutrition.
Zucchini should be stored, unwashed, in the refrigerator for up to one week. They are prone to chilling damage which shows as sunken pits in the surface of the fruit, especially when brought up to room temperature after cool storage.
To freeze excess zucchini, first blanch slices for two minutes (shredded zucchini for one minute), plunge into cold water, drain and then pack into freezer bags or containers.
Zucchini is a very good source of vitamins C, B6, riboflavin and folate as well as manganese and potassium.
One cup (113g) of sliced, raw zucchini provides 18 calories, 0g fat, 4g carbohydrate, 1g fibre, and 1g protein.
How to Use
Zucchini can be steamed, boiled, grilled, stuffed and baked, barbequed or fried. It can also be shredded and used in savoury soups, stews and sauces, as well as in sweeter products like breads and muffins. Zucchini flowers can be stuffed and then baked or fried. Raw, grated zucchini can also be added to salads and sandwiches.
Zucchini lends itself well to garlic, peppers and tomato-based sauces, as well as to Mediterranean herbs like basil, oregano, and thyme.