Zucchini

By EAT SMARTER
Updated on 30. Apr. 2020
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Zucchini was first brought to the United States in the 1920 by Italian immigrants, and is today one of the most widely-sold and utilized vegetables on the market. It’s a delicious and incredibly versatile vegetable, with numerous ways to enjoy its mild, earthy flavor.

Zucchini...

  • ...provides essential vitamins.
    A 7 oz zucchini contains 32 milligrams of Vitamin C, almost a third of the daily requirement!
  • ...reduces water tension.
    With a potassium content of around 180 milligrams per 3.5 oz, the zucchini is ideal for gently flushing out superfluous fluid accumulating in the body.
  • ...can help you lose weight.
    Only 19 calories per 100 grams, zucchinis are also low in fat and carbs, making them a perfect ingredient for the figure-conscious.
  • ...is heaty-healthy.
    Potassium in zucchini can also help to prevent irregular heartbeats or heart rhythm disturbances.
  • ...can replace noodles.
    If you’re craving pasta but want to skip the carbs, simply replace noodles with “zoodles” made from zucchini. This works best with a special spiral cutter for vegetables.

What You Should Know About Zucchini

Almost everyone likes zucchini, but few know that they are a subspecies of the garden pumpkin, and botanically belong to the pumpkin family. If you let them grow, zucchinis can reach an impressive size like their  pumpkin relatives; one fully-grown fruit can weigh up to 2.5 pounds! However, zucchinis are usually harvested when they are about 6-12 centimetres long and weigh about 3.5-7 oz.

The zucchini plant grows almost like a weed and tirelessly bears new fruit. The plant is extremely undemanding. It flowers and thrives almost everywhere and under almost all climatic conditions. Cold weather, however, puts an abrupt end to its growth. 

Origins

The first to cultivate zucchini as a new variety and subspecies of the garden pumpkin were the Italians. They traditionally celebrate May 7th as the day of the zucchini to this day, because the sowing of the pumpkin relative begins in April.

Seasonality

Zucchini are available yearround.

Flavor

Whether green or yellow, large or miniature, zucchini taste slightly nutty, earthy but mild.

Varieties

Zucchinis generally have dark green, light green or yellow skin. Recently round zucchini have become very popular, also called the “rondini”, which are great for stuffing and stewing. Baby zucchinis have also secured a role in award-winning gastronomy, as the smaller the zucchini the more tender it tends to be.

Find all our zucchini recipes here.

How Healthy Are Zucchinis?

With only a few calories and a fat content of less than 1 percent, zucchini is a must-have for those who like to eat well and stay slim. Zucchinis also have a lot to offer in other respects. They contain plenty of potassium, which is important for various metabolic processes. They also contain magnesium for strong muscles and a relatively large iron content. Because of their low carbohydrate content, zucchinis are also a very healthy treat for diabetics and are perfect for low-carb cuisine

Zucchini Nutritional Info (100 g)  
Calories 19
Protein 1.6 g
Fat 0.4 g
Carbohydrates 2.2 g
Fiber 1.1 g


Shopping and Cooking Tips

Shopping

You can recognise a quality zucchini by its appearance; a smooth, shiny and flawless skin shows that a zucchini has been freshly harvested and stored in the best possible way. Zucchinis should be firm to the touch, the skin hardly giving way.

Storage

Fresh zucchini keeps for up to 10 days at a temperature of at least 46 degrees in the refrigerator. Don't store zucchini with apples or tomatoes, because both contain a gas called ethylene, which makes zucchini soft instead of crunchy.

Preparation

Preparing zucchini is extremely simple. Simply wash and pat dry the vegetable, cut off the stalk and flower attachment with a knife, and you’re done! Depending on the recipe, you can then slice, halve, hollow out or dice the zucchini.

What To Make With Zucchini

Few vegetables are as versatile as zucchini. They taste equally good raw, stewed, braised, grilled or fried and cut a fine figure as a side dish or in a salad, as well as in casseroles, soups and with meat or as a vegetarian main course. Zucchini goes particularly well with other Mediterranean vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.

Zucchini can be prepared with a variety of light or heavier seasonings. Mediterranean herbs such as thyme and oregano, fresh garlic and cumin go particularly well with their subtle taste.

If you are lucky enough to find zucchini blossoms in your local market during high summer, it is best to grab them up quickly. Not only do they look great, but zucchini blossoms can be made into real delicacies. The large flowers of the female plants are ideal for stuffing, for example with minced meat, fish fillets or shrimps. Grilled zucchini flowers are a low-calorie treat, and zucchini flowers dipped in batter and fried are a delicious and elegant snack.

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