Veggie & Fruit of the Week

Zucchini

zucchini

 

Zucchini is considered to be part of the summer squash family as it comes to harvest in the summer months and has similar characteristics to other squash. It is very mild in taste. Zucchinis usually have a dark green outer skin and are long and skinny. Botanically, zucchinis are fruits, but for culinary purposes they are treated as a vegetable. The varieties sold in grocery stores are around 15-20 cm long, however they can grow quite large. The longest zucchini was grown in Niagara Falls in 2014 and it measured 2.52 m (8 ft 3 in) long!

Zucchinis provide many beneficial nutrients, including Vitamin A, Vitamin C and fibre. Vitamin A helps maintain healthy eyes, nerves and skin while Vitamin C helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and illnesses. Fibre helps maintain a healthy digestive system and also may help prevent the development of heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes and some cancers.

 

Buying:

Zucchinis are at their best when they are young and tender so choose small (15-20 cm in length), firm ones with no bruises or soft spots around the stem.

 

Storing:

Zucchinis have tender skin that bruises easily, so they should be handled with care. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. Wrapping in plastic can prevent them from drying out.

 

Preparing:

Zucchini should be washed thoroughly under cold water before using. The skin is fairly soft so it is often eaten. Zucchini can be sliced lengthwise or in round slices, thick or thin, it all depends on what it is being used for.

 

Cooking:

  • Zucchini can be eaten both raw and cooked.
  • It can be eaten raw in salads or cut into slices and dipped in hummus (chickpea spread) or added to cottage cheese.
  • Grated zucchini is often an ingredient in muffins or quickbreads. It adds extra moisture and a nice mild flavour.
  • Zucchini is great sliced in half lengthwise and grilled on the BBQ.
  • It can be sautéed in a stir fry or added to a pasta sauce.
  • Zucchini can also be made into noodles or “zoodles” by using a Spiralizer.

 

Zucchini is in season from June through October so look for it at a grocery store or Farmer’s Market near you today!

 

Recipes!

Here are some fun recipes that use sweet potatoes!

Mediterranean Grilled Zucchini and Eggplant:https://www.ontario.ca/foodland/recipes/mediterranean-zucchini-and-eggplant

Zoodles with Pesto: http://www.halfyourplate.ca/recipe/zoodles-pesto/ 

 

 

 

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