Zucchini has four notable qualities: it is abundant, it is low in calories, it is a good source of fiber and versatile! Background Zucchini is part of the summer squash family which also includes cocozelle, yellow crookneck and straightneck, scallop and patty pan squash. They can be dark green, light green, bright yellow or any combination. Summer squash should be harvested daily. If fruit is allowed to grow large, the plant will stop producing blossoms and setting more fruit.
Nutrition One cup of zucchini has about 35 calories. It contains about 340 milligrams of potassium, 530 International Units of vitamin A and 70 milligrams of phosphorus. The daily recommendation for women over age 20 for vitamin A is 4,000 International Units, and 800 milligrams of phosphorus. There are no recommendations for potassium. However, one cup of tomato juice has 535 milligrams of potassium, a cup of strawberries has about 250, a banana has 450 and a slice of honeydew has 350. Zucchini is a good source of fiber with 4 grams per cup. Be sure to include the peel to get all the fiber. Adults should get 20-30 grams of dietary fiber from their daily diet. Remember the calories will be higher if you add cheese, oil, butter, bread crumbs or fry the zucchini.
Using and Preserving Store fresh picked or purchased zucchini in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week for best quality. Be sure the zucchini is dry when you put it in the bag as moisture will encourage mold and spoilage. Zucchini is best if cooked when fresh and small as it will have more moisture. Steaming produces the crispest, least soggy vegetable. If using zucchini in a casserole recipe, it may be parboiled or steamed to remove some of the moisture. Or make allowances of the amount of moisture to avoid having an extra, runny result! Experiment with herbs with zucchini—it needs them! Or add flavor with onion, garlic, cheese or tomatoes!
____________________________________________________________________________________ Prepared by Yvonne J. Steinbring, Family and Consumer Science Advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension in Siskiyou County, 1999.
Marinated Zucchini Salad* Canned Tomato-Zucchini Mix*** 3 small zucchini, thinly sliced 1 cup peeled, thinly sliced carrots 1 (16 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained ½ cup low-fat Italian dressing 4 cups torn leaf lettuce or spinach leaves 2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
Place zucchini, carrots and artichoke hearts in deep bowl. Pour dressing over vegetables and let marinate overnight. To serve, drain vegetables; arrange on lettuce and sprinkle cheese over top. Pass additional dressing, if desired.
1 quart peeled, chopped tomatoes 1 quart chopped zucchini ½ cup chopped onion ½ cup vinegar or lemon juice 1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tsp salt, if desired 1-2 tsp oregano or sweet basil
Combine all ingredients in a large kettle. Cook until zucchini is tender and tomatoes have made a sauce. Fill hot, clean jars with the mixture, leaving ½ inch headspace at the top. Remove any air bubbles with a plastic knife. Wipe the rim of the jars with a clean cloth or paper towel. Put hot lids on jars and close with rings. Process 25 minutes in simmering water bath (190-200 degrees). Remove jars from canner to towel on counter and allow to cool.
Beer Battered Blossoms** 5 Tablespoons flour ½ cup beer 12 zucchini blossoms vegetable oil seasoned salt
Mix flour and beer to make batter. Dip zucchini blossoms to coat with batter; fry in oil until golden brown; turn and brown other side. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with seasoned salt; serve hot. This is a good treat to fix when frost is predicted—harvest the blossoms before the frost kills them. Or cut down the production of zucchini by eating the blossoms!
Crisp Zucchini Pickles****
5 pounds zucchini 3 medium onions, thinly sliced ½ cup salt ice cubes 3 cups vinegar 3 cups sugar 2 tsp. Celery seed 2 tsp. Mustard seed 1 ½ tsp. Turmeric 1 tsp. Ginger ½ tsp. Pepper Wash zucchini; cut 1/8 “ off each end. Cut crosswise into 1/8 to ¼ inch slices. Combine zucchini, onions and salt in bowl. Top with ice cubes. Cover and let stand 3 hours. Drain and rinse in cold water. Combine all ingredients in kettle and heat to boiling; simmer 2 minutes. Ladle into hot, clean canning jars filling to within ¼ inch of top with liquid. Remove air bubbles with a plastic knife; wipe tops of jars with a cloth or paper towel. Cover with hot lids and close with rings. Process in water bath canner for 15 minutes at 190-200 degrees. Remove jars from canner and allow to cool. Makes about 6 pints.
*The Farmer’s Market Cookbook, Current, Inc.
**The Zucchini Cookbook, Paula Simmons ***Making Pickles, Chutneys and Relishes, University of California publication 4080 ****Farm Journal Freezing and Canning Cookbook