Jul 15 2011

Fresh from the Market: Zucchini

Zucchini can be so much more than a bland addition to the side salad you’re planning on pushing around with your fork. In-season zucchini’s sweet flavor is full of potential, ready to be incorporated into baked goods, roasts, ratatouille, or even fritters. Nearly every farmer who grows vegetables is selling zucchini at the market right now--so far our favorites are grown and sold by McEnroe Organic and Norwich Meadows.


A member of the cucumber and melon family, zucchini hails from Mexico, part of the corn-bean-squash triumvirate. This summer squash comes in all lengths, widths, and colors, varying in shades of deep green, pale yellow, and vibrant gold.

You may have seen (or cooked with) zucchini’s stunning yellow flowers. Completely edible and delicious, the female flower grows on the end of the zucchini fruit and the male flowers grows on its stem.

If you’re cooking from a British cookbook, be aware that zucchinis are called courgettes.

Flavor Profile:

Delicate, sweet, creamy, versatile

In the Kitchen:

Be sure to choose firm, but not squishy squash. Who wants squishy zucchini anyways? The skin should feel delicate, but remain bruise-free.

Zucchini are an incredibly versatile vegetable. Bake them into bread, serve them as fritters, slice them over a salad, use them in a pasta dish, roast or saute them, put them in a ratatouille. Salt brings out their creamy flavor--sprinkle cut pieces with sea salt and let soak for 15 minutes.

If you have to store them, do so in a bag in your crisper.

Growing Season:

If you haven’t guessed already, zucchini is a warm weather crop, and as such, is sensitive to cold and frost. Zucchini should be planted in a high sun area. When watering, you should water up to the plant but not directly on the stems.

Zucchini is the plant that keeps on giving: if you pick the fruit frequently, the plant will continue to grow and produce. However, if you leave zucchini to mature on the vine, you’ll significantly shorten its growing season.

Interesting Links:

Another season of too many zucchini. Is there such a thing?

Charges dropped against Michigan gardener growing zucchini and other vegetables in her front yard.

A Zucchini Duck!

We just made a zucchini, tomato, and leek galette that I’m excited to share with you. Pictures and recipe coming up soon!