A Basic Guide: Zucchini

A Basic Guide: Zucchini

This may look a lot like its cousin the cucumber, but it’s in an entire league of its own. Zucchini, also known as courgette, is a summer squash in the Cucurbitaceae plant family. It contains an abundance of minerals and beneficial plant compounds and is particularly high in vitamin A, which may aid eye health and vision enhancement. Zucchini also promotes healthy digestion as it is rich in water, which makes it easier to pass and reduce your chances of having an upset stomach. 

It has a firm, dark green outer skin that provides crunch to the fruit, while its pale yellow inner flesh is softer in texture and possesses a mild, slightly sweet flavor. Zucchini is incredibly versatile, and can be eaten raw or cooked. Although it’s usually viewed as a savory dish, zucchini can also be incorporated in a variety of desserts due to its high moisture content that can lend much-needed decadence and richness to baked goods. 

To prepare zucchini for baking, simply follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Choose young, tender zucchini. Be mindful of the size you choose. A large zucchini will be drier, and a smaller one will have more moisture. 

  2. Wash and grate. Use the fine side of your grater, since coarser shreds will have a stronger flavor and texture in a finished recipe.

  3. Blanch in small quantities for 1 to 2 minutes until translucent. Use a pot with a tight lid and a basket that holds the food at least three inches above the bottom of the pot. Put an inch or two of water in the pot and bring the water to a boil. Put the vegetables in the basket in a single layer so that steam reaches all parts quickly. Cover the pot and keep the heat high. Start counting steaming time as soon as the lid is on.

  4. Pack in measured amounts into containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

  5. Cool by placing the containers in cold water.

  6. Seal and freeze. If watery when thawed, discard the liquid before using the zucchini.