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Z is for Zucchini!

A perfect summer squash, the zucchini has a delicate texture and a light and sweet flavor that lends itself well to a plethora of vibrant summer dishes.

Dating back 7,000 to 5,500 BCE, archeologists have traced the squash’s (summer and winter) roots to Mexico. The ancient diet of maize, beans, and squash has continued to be the foundation of Mexican cuisine and are fondly known as the “three sisters.” Christopher Columbus and other explorers brought zucchinis back to Spain, Portugal, Italy, and other countries in Europe.

Italians named the fruit “zucchino” and “zucchini” is the plural of the name. Tuscans adopted “zucchini” as the name of the squash, and it is also used in the United States, Australia, and Canada. The French name of the squash is “courgette” and that is adopted in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Italian immigrants brought the zucchini to the United States in the 1920s. Today, Florida, California, Georgia and New York are the top squash-growing states in the United States.

Nutrition Facts:

  • There are only 13 calories in a half-cup of raw zucchini or 18 calories for the same quantity cooked.
  • It is packed with antioxidants and beta-carotene. According to WHFoods, steaming was a better way to preserve zucchini’s antioxidant content than boiling or microwaving.
  • It is an excellent source of vitamins C and B6.
  • It is a good source of vitamins A , K, B1, and B3.
  • It has more potassium than a banana!

There are a variety of ways to enjoy zucchini! Even its flower is edible and is usually enjoyed fried in tempura batter. Zucchini is featured raw in salads, stuffed, sautéed, baked, and steamed. Zucchini bread is also a very popular way to enjoy this amazing squash. Check out a recipe for Zucchini Parmesan Bread, courtesy of Sacatomato!

Article by Heather Teoh

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