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Zucchini: How to grow, harvest, cook and enjoy them at their best

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Zucchini: How to grow, harvest, cook and enjoy them at their best

With their delicate and fresh taste, zucchini are one of the stars of the summer kitchen. Before seeing how to cook them, discover some curiosities about these delicious sweet seasonal vegetables.

Zucchini (also known as courgettes) are the unripe fruit of a species of the Cucurbitaceae family, of the genus Curcubita and the Pepo species. It's an annual plant with a creeping and climbing stem, native to Central America.

Courgettes are harvested when they reach a length of about 20 centimeters. The ripening period is in spring and summer, making this  the perfect time to enjoy them!

Seasonality and how to grow zucchini

If you have green fingers try growing your own courgettes at home. It's enough just to place a seed in a jar of compost towards the end of March and wait a few days. The seedlings should remain in the pot for about 20 days before transplanting. The important thing is to ensure that the temperature remains mild as they hate the cold.

Sowing outside in open fields, instead, starts around mid-April, when the temperature is around 10-15 degrees. The seeds are buried at about 1.5 cm, making sure the seedlings are well spaced. 

Zucchini Nutritional Qualities

Zucchini are both tasty and versatile vegetables, with the advantage of being low in calories: in fact they have only about 20 calories per 100 grams.

Zucchini also contain a high percentage of water, fiber and potassium, as well as iron, calcium, phosphorus, vitamins C and E. 

HOW TO STORE AND COOK COURGETTES?

Zucchini are available all year round, however, the sweet summer season is the perfect time to taste them for optimal flavor. Pick firm zucchini with smooth and green skin, preferably slender and long.

After purchase, they can be kept for four or five days in a cool place. If you like, you can freeze your zucchini, preferably sliced ​​or diced.

Fresh and firm zucchini can be eaten raw. After washing them well, cut them into thin slices or made into ribbons using a vegetable  peeler, and added to a salad, a pasta dish or an omelette.

For low calorie cooking, steam or stew zucchini: both types of cooking retain their flavor and nutrients they contain, provided not to cook too long.

Alternatively, zucchini can be cooked in the pan, adding a slug of olive oil and some herbs for heady scented flavour.

Zucchini Recipes

Courgettes star in many recipes, both raw and cooked from baked to steamed and stuffed.

 Zucchini pesto, is perfect with tagliatelle peas and basil cream or gnocchi. and preparing it is very simple: just wash the courgettes and cut them finely and then blend them with pine nuts, parsley, Parmesan and oil (olive or sunflower) until you get a smooth and creamy mixture. Remember to take your zucchini pesto out of the fridge before using it.

Are you looking for a different "vegan" pasta dish? Try these zucchini noodles, tomatoes and lime-scented sesame seeds. Here the idea is to use raw zucchini, cutting them long and thin so that they look like "noodles". The strips are cooked in a pan with a little oil, until they become soft. As a condiment, diced avocado sprinkled with lime, tomatoes and dill. To taste, add a pinch of chilli.

Do you want to use zucchini at its best? Discover how to empty them without breaking them.

Stuffed Zucchine

Try this simple and elegant recipe for these zucchini stuffed and baked with a cheese souffle, ready in just 15 minutes. Find the stuffed zucchini recipe for a simple supper here.

 

Zucchini Bread

This Vegan zucchini bread with flax seeds recipe is a great snack or accompaniement to a meal.

 

Zucchini Frittata

Turn your frittata into a brunch time treat with a light frittata. Here's the only frittata recipe you'll need.

 

Spinach and Zucchini Smoothie

Can't resist smoothies? Try making them green with the ultimate smoothie recipe here.

Elide Achille

HGC

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