Zucchini (courgette) Health benefits, Nutrition Facts, Uses, Recipes

Introduction

The zucchini or courgette is a summer season squash that can get to almost one meter long, however it is normally cut down at about half that size or much less. Along with various other squashes and pumpkins, this belong to species Cucurbita pepo. Zucchini could be dark or maybe light green. A similar hybrid, the golden zucchini, is deep yellow or maybe orange color.

In a culinary contsxt, the zucchini are treated like a vegetable, means it is normally cooked and presented as savory dish. But, botanically, the courgette is fruit. The courgette or zucchini originated from the Italy.

zucchini or courgette

zucchini or courgette

Other Names

In North America, Germany and Australia the plant is usually known as zucchini . That derives from common name in Italia, zucchina. However, the name squash is much more common than zucchini. The name courgette is commonly used in the United Kingdom, Ireland, TheNetherlands, New Zealand, and South Africa. In South Africa the fruit is normally cut down as a baby vegetable, just about finger size, and termed as baby marrows.

Cultivation

Zucchini is among the easiest vegetable to cultivate in temperate climes. That way, it has a popularity among home gardener for overwhelming production. A way to deal with over abundance is to pick the flowers, which are costly in markets due to the trouble storing and transporting them.

When used for food, zucchini are usually picked within 20 cm in length, when the seeds are soft and immature. Mature zucchini can be as big as a baseball bat. The largest are usually fibrous. A zucchini with flowers is the sign of a fresh and really immature fruit, and are sought after by many people for its sweet taste.

zucchini Uses

In a cooking context, the zucchini is used like a vegetable, that means it is often cooked and also presented as the tasty dish. Botanically, the zucchini is actually a fruit. The zucchini or courgette is originated from Italy.

Unlike cucumber, zucchini is generally served after cooked. It is prepared by using a number of cooking techniques, including boiled, grilled, steamed, stuffed and baked, grilled, fried. Zucchini can be baked into bread just like banana or incorporated into a cake mix bread. Its flowers are also eaten.

Grilled Cooked Zucchini

Grilled Cooked Zucchini

The zucchini carries a delicate flavour and requires a bit more than quick cooking with butter and olive oil, without or with fresh herbs. Speedy cooking of barely wet zucchini with oil and also butter enables the fruit to boil and steam, using the juices concentrated in the last moments of baking when water has gone, before serving. Zucchini can be taken raw, sliced or simply shredded in a cold salad, and even lightly cooked in hot salads.

In the France zucchini is a key ingredient in ratatouille, it is prepared in olive oil and cooked on low heat. The dish is served as side dish or also on its own at lunch with the bread. Zucchini is stuffed with meat and with other fruits like tomatoes and bell peppers in a dish which is called stuffed zucchinis.

In the Greece, zucchini are often fried or boiled with some fruits. It is then served as main dish, specially during the fasting month. Zucchini are also sometime stuffed with minced meat, rice and some herbs and served with sauce. In somel areas of Greece, the flowers of the zucchini are stuffed with the white cheese, or with the mixture of rice, herbs and sometime minced meat. Then they all are deep fried or baked with tomato.

zucchini-soup

zucchini-soup

In the Turkey zucchini are the main ingredient in the very popular dish mucver, which is made by shredded zucchini, flour and eggs, zucchini are lightly fried in olive oil and served with yogurt.

In the Mexico, the flower is usually cooked in soups and also used as a filling for quesadillas. The fruit is used in soups, stews and many other preparations. Both flower and fruit are eaten readily in Mexico.

In the Italy, zucchini is served in many ways, in pan, in the oven, fried, boiled, in combination with many other ingredients. Italians eat the flowers as well.

Nutrition Facts

This zucchini is low in Saturated Fats, Sodium, and Cholesterol.  A good source of Protein, Vitamin A, Niacin, Phosphorus, Thiamin and Copper, and is an excellent source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese

The zucchini fruit is very low in calories. There are approximately 15 calories per 100 grams of fresh zucchini. It has useful amounts of folate ( approx. 24 μg/100 g), potassium ( approx. 280mg/100 g) plus vitamin A (approx. 384 IU/100 g).

Zucchini Nutrition Facts

Zucchini Nutrition Facts

 

Health benefits of courgette (zucchini):

  • Zucchini is very low in calorie: It provide only 17 calorie per 100 grams. It do not contain saturated fats or cholesterol. Its peel is a very good source of dietary fiber which helps in  reducing constipation and provides some protection against colon cancers.
  • Zucchinis has anti oxidant value (ORAC) of 180 TE per 100 grams, the value that is far below  some of the berries and vegetables.
  • Zucchinis, especially golden skin types, are rich in flavonoid poly phenolic anti-oxidants such as lutein, carotenes and zea-xanthin. All these compound help scavenge harmful oxygen derived free radicals and ROS (reactive oxygen species) from body that play an role in aging process and many disease processes.
  • Courgette is a moderate source of folates, it provides 6% of RDA per 100 grams.
  • Courgette is a very good source of potassium, Potassium is a heart-friendly electrolyte and it helps to bring the reduction in blood-pressure and heart beat rates by countering pressure effects of sodium.
  • Fresh Courgette fruits are rich in vitamin A, and provides about 200 IU per 100 g.
  • Fresh courgette are good source of antioxidant vitamin C. Provides about 17.9 µg or 30% of daily required levels per 100 g.
  • Additionally, Courgette contain moderate levels of B complex group of vitamins like pyridoxine, thiamin, riboflavin and some minerals like manganese, iron, phosphorus, and zinc.