A popular summer vegetable similar in appearance and taste to a cucumber, with a dark to light green mottled exterior and white delicately flavored flesh. Zucchini is a versatile vegetable that can be used in stir fries, soups, stews and goes well with a variety of other foods.
Zucchini is a summer squash, and the blossoms can eaten, as well. The blossoms are often served stuffed and deep-fried.
It´s a good source of folate, manganese and vitamin A.
The zucchini is a small elongated summer squash. It can be yellow, green or light green in color and has a similar shape to a ridged cucumber.
Selecting and Buying
The best zucchinis should be dark in color. Select those which are firm and heavy for their size in order to guarantee the best taste. As they grow, zucchini become softer and less tasty, so bigger is not always better when picking zucchini.
Put one seed per small peat pots indoors one month before the freezing temperatures are gone. This will start your vines nicely and you can place the entire peat pot in ground without having to disturb the roots.
Plant your zucchini seedlings or vines spaced apart in the ground just enough so they won't strangle each other when the vines and leaves start growing and with plenty of sunshine through out the day. Zucchini leaves are known to be very large and can overrun smaller plants if they are too close. If you are limited on space you can plant the vines near a fence or add a strong garden lattice and grow your zucchini vertically.
Grow the Zucchini vertically if your garden is limited in space. You will need to place a strong lattice close to the zucchini so that you can secure the heavy vine to it.
Water them deeply every few days you may need to adjust the vines if they are being grown vertically. Let the top of the soil dry before re-watering.
Wash off any insects and mildew on the fruit of the plants as well as the leaves and vines. Keeping the whole plant healthy and free of bugs will insure good zucchini and a health garden.
Be patient and wait for the zucchinis to start showing up. These plants like to grow plenty of leaves and male flowers before it rewards you with its squash.
Harvest the zucchinis before they reach full maturity, when they are less than 8 inches long, tender and full of flavor. If they get bigger than this they become tasteless and dry.
Preparation and Use
Zucchini can be sliced and eaten raw, shaved into thin slices and layered into lasagna, shredded, sauteed or food processed and baked in bread.
Conserving and Storing
Store zucchini for use in the near future without washing it first. The vegetable will spoil much faster if it is bruised or punctured, so the less handling, the better.
Put whole zucchini in a plastic bag and place in a cool area of the kitchen. If the weather is very hot, keep the zucchini in the refrigerator for 4 to 7 days.
Cut slices of zucchini and boil them in water for just a couple of minutes to blanch them before freezing. Pat dry and freeze in a plastic bag or other airtight container. Frozen zucchini can keep for about 4 months before it starts to lose its flavor
Zucchini should be stored not longer than three days. 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.