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The History of Zucchini

Zucchini Recipes     Growing Zucchini    Zucchini Nutrition   Storing Zucchini

A Vegetable ...A Ovary?

The zucchini bulb that is eaten is actually a swollen ovary of the blossom!
There are both male and female blossoms on the zucchini plant. The female blossom has the ovary that we call a zucchini. Botanically the ovary of a plant that contains the seeds is called a fruit.

How did Zucchini get it's Name?
Zucchini comes from the Italian Zucca that means squash.
Zucchini means then small squash.
Though squashes didn't originate in Italy, it is believed that the Italian name was adopted because many feel the Italians are credited with developing this food.
The French and many other English speaking countries call this a Courgette.


When did zucchini first appear?

When European explorers came to the America's squash was one of the 3 major foods the native Indians used, along with beans and corn. They had never seen them before so they thought they were melons.

Squash seeds have been found in Archeological digs in Mexico, that date back to between 9000 and 4000 B.C.

Columbus brought squash seeds back to Europe in his explorations.
The Zucchini as we know it however wasn't used in this form probably until the late 1800's, In Italy probably near Milan, because many of the early varieties are named after nearby cities.
We normally pick a Zucchini when it is young about 8 inches (20 cm ) or less.


Different varieties of zucchini,
The zucchini is a variety of what is called Summer Squash which includes Crooknecks and Patty Pan.
Summer Squashes differ from winter squash in that they have a hard skin.

Green Zucchini

Yellow Zucchini

A hybrid variety

Round Zucchini , of different varieties


What can I make with Zucchini?
Because this is such a mild vegetable you will find recipes for almost any kind of dish, appetizer, soup, salad, main dish, side dish or dessert.
You can steam, poach, saute, bake and fry it. Make cakes with it, bread , relish. but wait ...there is more.....

In Mexico they prefer the flower to the zucchini bulb. they use them in soups and quesidellas

In Italy, zucchini are served in a variety of ways, especially breaded and pan-fried. Some restaurants in Rome specialize in deep-frying the flowers, known as fiori di zucca.

In France zucchini is a key ingredient in ratatouille, a stew of summer fruits and vegetables prepared in olive oil and cooked for an extended time over low heat. The dish, originating near present-day Nice, is served as a side dish or on its own at lunch with bread. Zucchini are stuffed with meat with other fruits like tomatoes or bell peppers in a dish named courgette farcie (stuffed zucchini).

In Turkish cuisine, zucchini is the main ingredient in the popular dish mücver , or "zucchini pancakes", made from shredded zucchini, flour and eggs, lightly fried in olive oil and eaten with yogurt.
In the Levant, zucchini is stuffed with minced meat and rice plus herbs and spices and steamed. It is also used in various kinds of stew. Stews that have low salinity are favorable in such cooking.

In Greece, zucchini is usually fried or boiled with other fruits (often green chili peppers and eggplants). It is served as an hors d'œuvre or as a main dish, especially during fasting seasons. Zucchini is also often stuffed with minced meat, rice and herbs and served with avgolemono sauce. In several parts of Greece, the flowers of the plant are stuffed with white cheese, usually feta or mizithra cheese, or with a mixture of rice, herbs and occasionally minced meat. Then they are deep-fried or baked with tomato sauce in the oven.

In Bulgaria, zucchini are fried and then served with a dip, made from yoghurt, garlic and dill. Another popular dish is oven-baked zucchini—sliced or grated—covered with a mixture of eggs, yoghurt, flour and dill.

In Egypt, zucchini are cooked with tomato sauce, garlic and onions.

In Spain, zucchini (calabacín in Spanish) is a core ingredient of pisto. Zucchini are also fried with egg and onions in olive oil to make a "Spanish" tortilla called "tortilla de calabacín".

Recipes for Zucchini's ...or Courgettes

You can do just about anything with the versatile zucchini,
if you get a huge
bunch. Of course you have heard that but what? I really don't want Zucchini ice cream or Zucchini pizza.

Stuffed Zucchini
with cheese and herb stuffing

Here are some more ideas ...just to get your mind working.

Tuscan Zucchini Baskets

Wrap a Salmon Filet in Zucchini Slices

Zucchini Cobbler
My daughter said this is excellent and you would think you were eating apple pie

Cooking with Zucchini Blossoms

Female Blossom

Male Blossom

You can use both of the male and female blossoms on the Zucchini plant.
The female will be the only one that develops the zucchini. The female blossoms
are more expensive in the marketplace.

Zucchini blossoms can be used for many things.
You can stuff them, top pizzas, and quesadillas, fry them tempura style, and use them in soups.
One chef stuffs them as a mold for risotto.

Stuffed Zucchini Blossom Recipes

Fried Stuffed Squash Blossoms
with cheese and herb stuffing

Zucchini Blossom Quesadillas

Growing Zucchini

While easy to grow, zucchini, like all squash, requires plentiful bees for pollination. In areas of pollinator decline or high pesticide use, such as mosquito-spray districts, gardeners often experience fruit abortion, where the fruit begins to grow, then dries or rots. This is due to an insufficient number of pollen grains delivered to the female flower. It can be corrected by hand pollination or by increasing the bee population.


More Tips on growing Zucchini


Nutrition and Zucchini

Zucchini is low in calories and has lots of vitamins. It is considered a great food for a diet because it is a "Filling Food" and for the amout of calories, about 17 per 100g or 4 ounces, it creates a feeling of being full. Most of the vitamins are in the peel, which is also a good source of fiber.

Zucchini is a great source of potassium and B vitamins.
The golden zucchini is a great source of beta carotene.

The flexibility of the zucchini lends itself well if you are vegetarian or on a diet as you can use it for so many things. For instance , if I was going to serve potato pancakes I would use shredded zucchini instead of potatoes. I have used long slices of zucchini in place of lasagna noodles, and in place of tortillas in Enchiladas.
Grated zucchini goes well in muffins or bread to give it body and extra vitamins.

Storing Zucchini

1. If your going to store zucchini it is best that you don't wash it.


Links and Resources

Green Change
Great article on how to self pollinate zucchini blossoms

Excellent site on zucchini nutrition

Long Island Seed Project
info about round zucchinis

Wikipedia Zucchini




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