|Written by Staff Writer|
A small summer squash, the Zucchini, comes in yellow, green or light green varieties and generally has a similar shape to a ridged cucumber.
Most summer squash, including the closely related cocozelle, and marrow, were introduced to Europe during the time of European colonisation of the Americas. Early varieties usually included the names of nearby cities in their name. The alternate name, Courgette, comes from the French name of the fruit.
The Zucchini relies on insects for pollination. Each plant produces both male and female flowers and will accept pollen from other varieties within the same species.
All members of this family respond to nutrients and water. They are gross feeders. If the plants have free draining, friable soil, with loads of nutrients and moisture, they’ll take off. If you don’t have really good, rich, well-composted soil, then you’ll have to dig in loads of manure or fertiliser. An alternative could be weekly foliar spraying with fish (and phyter), which also helps to keep the powdery mildew away.
To grow quality Zucchinis and get heavy crops you must have a deeply worked (double dug or deep, free draining) soil. Plants in this family must have air, moisture and nutrients available to the roots.
Be aware that watering from the top once they begin setting will affect the quality of the crop.
Harvest Zucchini when they are about 15 cm long and squash a few days after they have first formed.
Zucchini Nutrition InfoZucchini is low in calories, about 15 food calories per 100g fresh Zucchini, and contains useful amounts of folate (24 mcg/100 g), potassium (280 mg/100 g) and vitamin A (115 mcg]/100 g). Half a cup of zucchini also contains 19% of the recommended daily amount of Manganese
Marinated Zucchini in Mint
4-6 med size courgette, sliced 6-10mm thick, lengthwise
Grill the Zucchini slices in the oven or on the BBQ until they are golden brown and soft/cooked. Layer while still warm in a large non-metal baking dish. Between each layer place some mint leaves and garlic slices, sprinkle with lemon juice and tamari sauce. When all the Zucchini is used up, sprinkle the olive oil over it. Set aside to cool and let the flavours fully develop. Serve cold. (Serves 4)
Deep Fried Zucchini Flowers
25 zucchini flowers, with stalks & pistils
Soak the flowers in lemon flavoured water for 30 minutes, shake
out the excess water and dry gently. Remove stalks and pistils
carefully. Set flowers aside on a tea towel, tap dry carefully. Dip
flowers in flour.
Beat egg yolks, add milk, flour and salt. Beat egg white until stiff
and fold into flour mix. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan, dip
flowers in batter and fry until puffed and golden brown, rolling
them over with a slotted spoon. Fry in batches of 5 or 6. Drain
on tea towel to remove excess oil, sprinkle with salt and serve
immediately. (Serves 4-6)
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