Properties and Benefits of Zucchini: Courgette or zucchini is a delicious summer vegetable from the Curcubita pepo species. It has an elongated oval shape and may vary in colour from light to dark green, sometimes with yellow stripes. There is also a yellow variety known as the golden zucchini. Zucchini is basically an unripe squash, preferred for its tenderness and delicate flavor. Zucchinis can grow to incredible lenghts (for a vegetable), approximately one meter long, but it is recommended to pick them at significantly smaller sizes: the smaller the zucchini, the more tender it is.
From a culinary point of view, zucchinis can be used in a variety of ways: sauteed, grilled, fried, made it into soup or just baked (this works best with the fully ripe varieties). Low in calories and with a high water content, they are a great food for healthy weight loss. It is a good source of potassium for cardiovascular health, vitamin A for vision and immunity, B vitamins, iron, manganese and phosphorus.
Zucchini is a wonderfully versatile culinary vegetable that you can easily turn into bread, schnitzel and even pancakes. And the best part is that it is full of vitamins and dietary minerals. You can easily grow zucchinis in your home garden and once the seeds have been planted, it takes roughly 40-50 days until your zucchinis are ready to be harvested. If you want to grow your own zucchinis, you will have to make sure you have enough garden space available because this vegetable has a rich foliage that may take up a lot of your garden space.
But it’s worth it because zucchini is a vegetable that does wonders for our figure. With only 17 kcal/100 g, it is easy to keep our weight under control, no matter the dish they are put in. Zucchinis don’t have any saturated fats or cholesterol. The peel is rich in dietary fiber; a decent intake of dietary fiber helps prevent constipation and reduces the risk of colon cancer. Zucchinis have high levels of antioxidants as well.
Because they are 90% water and rich in minerals, zucchinis help us stay hydrated especially during those hot summer days when we feel as if we are baking. Excessive sweating is normal when temperatures are high, but it leads to dehydration.
Dehydration is dangerous not only because we lose water needed in order for our body to work properly, but also because we lose importany minerals and this may lead to serious deficiencies that may have unpleasant consequences on our health. Remember: drinking liquids is not the only way to keep hydrated; you can also eat foods that have a high content of water, such as zucchinis, cucumbers, tomatoes or watermelon.
And you don’t even have to cook them: cut some baby zucchinis in small cubes, season them to your liking, add some extravirgin olive oil and you may enjoy you fresh zucchini summer salad. Last but not least, zucchinis, especially the golden varieties, are rich in flavonoids such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin (flavonoids are natural antioxidants).
Above, you can see the nutritional value for 100 g of (fresh) zucchini. Zucchinis are rich in vitamin A which is essential for good vision and beautiful skin. Freshly picked and boiled zucchinis are rich in vitamin C, probably the most potent natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
They also have B group vitamins such as thiamin, pyridoxine and riboflavin, key-elements essential for a variety of cellular processes and minerals such as iron, manganese, phosphorus and zinc, the latter being crucial for good immunity.
All in all, zucchini is great in a variety of dishes, from zucchini soup and zucchini bread to stuffed zucchini, ratatouille or zucchini pancakes. Even the flowers are highly appreciated on the dinner table, either stuffed or fried.
Finally, in order to be an absolute expert on zucchinis, you can amaze everyone by telling them this: though zucchini is considered to be a culinary vegetable, it is actually a fruit. Why? Because technically the zucchini fruit is the ovary of the zucchini flower, just a lot swollen.