August 30, 2018

Living Loving Local for September Part 2: Zucchini!


Summer squash, aka zucchini, is every home gardeners dream and then nightmare all at once. In the beginning of the season they long for the large yield of zucchini and summer squash, as it takes so little effort to cultivate, but come harvest when they are knee deep in zucchini, eating it for breakfast lunch and dinner and leaving zucchini gift packages on their friends doorsteps they vow never to grow it again….but then come spring they remember the plentiful bounty with fondness and start the process all over again!

History

It is generally accepted that summer squash is native to the Americas. Remains have been found in Central America and Mexico dating back as far as 7000 BC. From its southern origin, squash spread throughout North America.

Canadian Statistics

  • 2827 hectares of summer squash are planted across Canada each year, resulting in a harvest of 30,000 tonnes!
  • 53% are grown in Ontario with Quebec and BC share the remaining bulk of production.

Varieties

  • Green & Yellow Zucchini: have soft, thin skin with firm, mild-tasting, white flesh. These varieties are really versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked.
  • Yellow Squash: two varieties straight neck and crook neck. Both varieties have fatter bottoms and taper towards the neck. When picked young, yellow squash are nice eaten raw.
  • Costata Romanesco Zucchini: has pale and dark green stripes with soft, thin skin and a rich, nutty flavor.
  • Pattypan Squash: Flying saucer shaped, this variety is just as much fun to look at as they are to eat. Pattypan squash come in a variety of shades of green, yellow, and a mixture of the two, and all have scalloped edges. They’re slightly denser and have a little more crunch than other varieties of summer squash. Use them in a salad, slice them for a quick sauté, or you can stuff the larger ones.
  • Cousa Squash: shorter and squatter than classic zucchini, with a mix of pale and medium green striations. It has thin skin with a light texture and slightly sweet flavor.
  • Zephyr Squash: a hybrid between yellow crook neck, delicata, and yellow acorn squash. It has firm flesh and a long, cylindrical pale yellow body that’s slightly tapered at the neck, with a distinct bottom portion that can vary in hue from pale to deep green.
  • Eight Ball Zucchini: round shape with the same mild taste as classic green zucchini. These short, fat veggies are ideal for stuffing.

Health Benefits

  • One half cup of cooked summer squash contains 16 calories, 1 gram of protein, 3 grams of carbohydrates, some vitamin A and C, and some fibre.
  • Zucchini is high in the antioxidant vitamin C, which may help the lining of your blood cells function better, lowering blood pressure and protecting against clogged arteries.
  • One cup of sliced zucchini has 20 milligrams of Vitamin C, about 33% of your daily value.

Fun Facts

  • A zucchini has more potassium than a banana.
  • The flower of the zucchini plant is also edible.
  • The world’s largest zucchini on record was 69 1/2 inches long, and weighed 65 lbs. Grown by Bernard Lavery of Plymouth Devon, UK.
  • The word zucchini comes from ‘zucca’ the Italian word for squash.

Living Loving Local Recipes:

This month our Verve properties throughout Canada will feature the following zucchini recipe: