In Season: Zucchini
Zucchini is exceptionally abundant and affordable during the summer months. With its soft shell and smooth white flesh it is simple to cook and a perfect addition to any meal. Zucchini is a very versatile vegetable and with its high water content it can be cooked very quickly and included in countless recipes. You can use zucchini to make salads, pasta dishes, soups, bread, and even desserts. So take advantage of this nutrient dense and delicious vegetable and visit your local farmers market or grocery store to incorporate them into your next savory or sweet dish.
Zucchini has a light subtle flavor and one of its greatest attributes is that all of its parts are edible, from the flowers to the seeds. Zucchini can be prepared and eaten in a variety of ways including both savory and sweet or eaten raw with your favorite dips.
Zucchini is available throughout the year although it is especially plentiful during the summer months.
What to Look For:
When purchasing zucchini be sure to look for younger and smaller zucchini less than 8 inches in length and 2 to 3 inches in diameter, that feel heavy for their size. The smaller sized zucchini will contain more flavor, will have softer seeds and less stringy flesh. The larger zucchini can be more watery, bitter and contain thicker skin. Look for firm zucchini that are unblemished and have glossy skin. Zucchini skin can be yellow in color but more often than not, it is found to be dark green in color.
Zucchini are a good source of vitamin A, C, potassium, and folate. They are low in saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and a great source of fiber. It has a rich source of antioxidants that promote healthy immunity and it includes anti-inflammatory properties like beta-carotene. Because zucchini have such high water content, they contain about 33 calories per medium zucchini.
How to Store:
Zucchini have very delicate skin and should be handled with care; small scrapes or punctures will lead to decay. After purchasing or picking your zucchini, it can be stored for 5 days unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your refrigerator. If your zucchini starts to feel soft, this is a sign of deterioration and they should be used immediately or discarded. When you are ready to use your zucchini, wash it under cool water and slice off both ends before cutting into desired size and shape for your particular recipe. Unless the skin is flawed there is no need to peel the zucchini. Cooked zucchini should be covered and refrigerated up to 2 days. Though freezing your zucchini is an option, it will make the flesh much softer by doing so. If you decide to freeze it, slice your zucchini and steam it for 3 minutes. Let the zucchini cool completely before placing it in freezer bags or containers and placing in your freezer. Frozen zucchini can be stored for up to 10 to 12 months.
If you happen to miss a zucchini in your garden and discover a large one growing in a corner, it will likely work best grated and used in a baked recipe like muffins or bread, since its large size yields a more woody texture with harder seeds.
To easily shred zucchini, use a KitchenAid® Food Processor.
It will shred zucchini in seconds! You can use shredded zucchini to make zucchini salads, pancakes, breads, cookies, and more.
Looking for zucchini recipes? Give these a try: