Discovering our food: zucchini

Hello my dear readers,

Another Monday, another week πŸ™‚

Today let’s talk about Zucchini or Courgette, a rustic vegetable that is quite easy to grow and therefore very popular. In fact, it cannot miss from the greengrocer or supermarket, just as it cannot miss in summer, since it needs a sunny climate to mature; characteristic also indicated by their funny scientific name, cucurbita pepo, where the Greek pΓ©pon means “matured in the sun”.

Everything you need to know about zucchini_Popsicle Society

Zucchini belong to the Cucurbitaceae family, the same of melons and squash. The zucchini plant is annual, with a creeping or climbing herbaceous stem, and it fears the cold, preferring a temperate climate.

Zucchini origins_Popsicle Society

Zucchini, like some other very popular products, including chocolate and beans, was imported from the Americas in the 1500s by the Spaniards. And yet it was precisely in Italy, that the various types of zucchini that are present throughout the world nowadays, were “derived” through different crossings (not from nothing the English word “zucchini” is used). Italy is still one of the world’s largest producers of this vegetable. Imagine that only aΒ few years ago, Italy entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest zucchini in the world collected in the province of Ferrara, a full 2 meters long zucchini.

Maybe you know it as zucchini, but there are so many additional types out there, from courgette or marrows to summer squash, crookneck to pattypan, depending on where you live.

The most common in European markets are undoubtedly long zucchini, usually dark green and cylindrical. Then there are the round zucchini, particularly appreciated for recipes that require a filling; the patisson zucchini, tasty and white, yellow or orange; and the eccentric zucchini, which is different from all the other types.

Zucchini ambient & needs_Popsicle Society.

It is a pleasure to grow zucchini in the garden or in a pot onΒ  your balcony.

Those who want to grow zucchini in pots can choose containers at least 45 – 50 cm wide. Choose a universal fertile soil. The depth of the vase should be at least 45 cm. For growing in pots you can also choose the climbing zucchini, provided you grow it near a railing.

Or if you chose to grow it in the garden, should be grown in parallel rows with a distance of 60 cm from each other. Each plant, placed in the same row, must be about 3 feet away from each other.

Zucchini plants prefer a soil that tends to acid, with an optimal pH of between 5.8 and 6.8. The plants must be exposed in full sun and the soil must be fertile and compact.

Zucchini need a lot of water. To prevent possible rotting, at the time of irrigation, avoid wetting the leaves or the fruit. If you are not sure of the quality of your soil, a couple of days after planting, you can fertilize it with liquid or granulated fertilizer, even better if based on nitrogen: the nitrogen-based fertilizer in granules is also more economic and adapts well to every type of cultivation!

If you plan to grow zucchini starting from the seed, you can start to sprout the seeds from the beginning of May by sowing directly in the open field. The seeds require from 5 to 10 days to sprout, at an optimal temperature between 18 and 28 Β°C. To save yourself a bit of waiting, you can start growing zucchini starting from plants or sowing in a protected environment.

Zucchini are very sensitive to frost, so depending on your geographical location, choose the ideal period for planting: any risk of late frost must be passed.

Zucchini prefer a warm and temperate climate, with good ventilation. The optimal temperature is for the development is included 20-28 Β°C.

Zucchini in the kitche_Popsicle Society.

But the best of it, the zucchini gives it in the kitchen, where it lends itself to multiple uses: it can be served as an appetizer if grilled and put in oil or marinated, it can be used with pasta, as a side dish with meat or fish or even as a second course in the case of recipes such as stuffed zucchini or the light and tasty zucchini parmigiana.

Because the zucchini is a versatile ingredient with which you can have fun preparing both simple and elaborate dishes, from the more traditional ones like the zucchini parmigiana or the ricotta and zucchini savory cake, to the original and “fashion” ones like the salted cheesecake zucchini to bring to the table as a fresh appetizer to amaze your guests. With zucchini you can prepare quick and easy dishes in a few minutes without giving up interesting and appetizing flavors and combinations such as zucchini pasta with wild fennel, aromatic zucchini rolls or the classic side dish of sautΓ©ed zucchini served as a dessert with apples, almonds and orange juice.

The stuffed zucchini are a classic preparation of Italian cuisine, with cold cuts and vegetables, to be enjoyed hot or warm, they are appetizers, a side dish or an appetizing and complete second course. For a second course of meat with vegetables, choose the scallops with zucchini and mint, a light dish, easy and quick to prepare for a family dinner, suitable for everyone, even for the little ones! Fritatte, baked zucchini, and tasty meatballs are the ideal solution for a complete, healthy and appetizing meal to take to the office or to enjoy with friends outdoors to enjoy a sunny day.

Based on what you decide to combine with zucchini, you can get refined and original results. Very simple!

During summer, you can find zucchini that still have attached their flowers, that are so so good also eat them alone. They are traditionally battered and fried, but are also delicious stuffed with speck and mozzarella or ricotta cheese. They are so delicate but have a distinctive zucchini flavor.

Zucchini benefits-popsicle society

Composed of 90% water, the zucchini has a delicate flavor and a very high filling power which, combined with very few calories (18 per 100g), makes it a perfect ingredient for any type of weight loss diet. Detoxifying and diuretic, zucchini are rich in potassium and vitamins A, C and E, revealing themselves to be a good health allies.

Having a lot of water, together with the abundant presence of potassium, makes the zucchini a highly diuretic vegetable. Furthermore, the low glycemic index makes the zucchini a food particularly suitable for diabetic persons.

Zucchini are an important source of mineral salts and vitamins, while fibers are present, particularly in the peel, but not in very large quantities. Thanks to their consistency and their composition, the zucchini are very digestible and therefore can be easily eaten by children, the elderly and those who suffer from digestive disorders.

Thanks to the abundance of water and potassium, zucchini are recommended in case of hypertension. They also help eliminate excess cholesterol.

Zucchini, if consumed often, help reduce water retention and consequently cellulite. They are also indicated for those who follow a diet to lose weight or simply for those who want to keep fit, being low in calories, rich in water and with high satiating power.

Their diuretic action makes this vegetable suitable for combating infections and inflammation of the urinary tract.

Zucchini are also useful if used on the skin. In particular, like cucumber, zucchini also help to counteract the bags under the eyes and prevent expression lines. Thanks to the presence of vitamin C, they are beneficial for skin health and protect from sun damage.

Zucchini benefits_Popsicle Society

Thank you all for reading. Are you thinking that it’s time to eat more zucchini to try to keep the weight under control? Let me know in the comments below how you prefer to consume this versatile vegetable in the kitchen!

In Europe, Italy is one of the largest producers of zucchini, and its cultivation is widespread in all regions but especially in Sicily, Lazio, Piedmont, Veneto, Puglia, Tuscany and Liguria.

Join me next time and I’ll take you in Veneto, Padua more precisely, almost in my home backyard πŸ˜‰

And last but not least, don’t doubt about yourself as you have got everything what it takes to make your dreams a reality! Never underestimate yourself! Believe it!

Have a wonderful week! See you next time!

All photo credit Google Images & Pixabay edited by Popsicle Society

58 thoughts

  1. Hey Ribanna! We have this kind in my country and that will look hard and matt finished outside. this is indeed a water content full veg. you will love to eat it if you follow the way we do πŸ˜‰ I’ll share it on Instagram. try once and let us know ☺️ Wish you an awesome week ✨☺️

      1. Yeah, same family of zuchini i think or maybe im wrong. It wont look that green as zuchini same shape but light green, i wil share if i find the name of it😁. And this is an alternative for zuchini, Ridge gourd hope its available there. But this will be almost same like that but a little sweet and watery πŸ˜‰

      2. I never saw this ridge gourd here but good to know just in case πŸ™‚ I see also the shape is very similar πŸ™‚
        Thank you Simon πŸ™‚

      1. Well not really…we have a lot of fruits and veggies of European origins such as a lot of varieties of berries, lettuce, asparagus, olives, grapes, cherries, Brussels sprouts, endive, artichoke, broccoli, a few types of cabbage, cauliflower….the list is quite long πŸ™‚

  2. Hi Ribana, That stuffed zucchini looks so mouth watering! 😍Here zucchini is not commonly available! But small green shaped salad cucumber and ordinary cucumber available here and this cucumber have huge amount of water! 😊
    Have a great week! πŸ˜ŠπŸŒΉπŸ’™

    1. Hi Suni, I’m glad you like it 😊
      Oh, I thought that can find zucchini everywhere nowadays 😊
      Well cucumber is great too! I love it in salads too πŸ˜‰
      Thank you for your time dear Suni and kind words!
      Have a wonderful week too πŸ˜‰πŸ˜ŠπŸ€—πŸŒΈπŸŒΊ

  3. Zucchini is a fabulous diet. And the beauty of it is that you can always find it at your nearest grocery store or grow your own garden of zucchini. Moreover, I love the many benefits which I didn’t know before now.

    1. Thank you Clement! I’m glad you find it useful! Yes, easy to find or grow into your own garden and perfect for diets but also for no diets πŸ˜‰ Has a lot of benefits and is very tasty πŸ˜‹

  4. Hello dear Riby 😊😊 missed me? 😁
    First I was like Zucchini! Let’s see this delicious food and suddenly I discover that Zucchini is our famous “Koussa” (I obviously don’t like Koussa 😁😁 but of course it’s a very important veggie and now reading all these benefits I can understand why my mother loves it a lot until I hated it a lot πŸ˜‚ my parents grow courgettes and also they grow bottle gourds (we call them Kar3) they look like courgettes but softer from outside.
    This coffee Gif πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ the right Monday mood I guess!
    wow 2 meters long zucchini in Italy! And Guinness Book πŸ‘I will tell my mother maybe she wants to break your records 😁😁
    we have the zucchini here light green not dark green and we usually do them filled with Rice and meat (koussa me7shi)
    or filled with meat (koussa ablama) and mostly it’s also done with warak 3enab “grape leaves”
    Very good details and information for those who want to plant Zucchini πŸ‘ I’m not one of them hahah
    I believe it will be so delicious with Pasta and cheese like the parmigiana and ricotta, or even grilled as appetizer! Much more delicious than the way we do it πŸ˜„
    we also use it a lot as sauteed vegetable with almost everything and it’s known how healthy it is but didn’t know the benefits in details especially reduce the water retention and cellulite and also counteract the bags under the eyes, it’s totally new for me πŸ™‚
    Well I will certainly buy courgettes and eat it more now after this post, really lot of great benefits but of course I will try some of these recipes you shared 😊
    Oh Veneto, Padua 😊 Prosecco?? 😁😁 “almost my home backyard” huh?? 😎😎😎 do you need someone to clean your backyard? 😁😁
    Another great post full of information and benefits and very well written and prepared πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘Œ
    I hope your Tuesday will be great and thank you for another perfect post πŸ§ΈπŸ§ΈπŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ§ΈπŸ§ΈπŸ§ΈπŸ€—πŸ€—

    1. Hello my dear Koko, to be honest, I did miss you πŸ€—πŸ€—
      Koussa, good to know πŸ˜‰ obviously you don’t like them though πŸ˜†If is not meat is not good πŸ€ͺπŸ˜†
      Growing and having them in your own garden is pretty cool πŸ˜‰ I use to do it too back home πŸ˜‰ and yes, also we had the ones with the light green skin but here very rarely I find those, mostly dark green or yellow…i remember the one with light green skin were so tender! I did not tried bottle gourds but if tastes like zucchini should be good πŸ˜‰
      Yep, 2 meters long πŸ˜‰ but she can try πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰ but then you’ll need to eat it all πŸ˜†πŸ˜†
      Yep, a little bit of coffee to start the week πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
      I’m not too much into stuffed zucchini because are so delicate and I feel that with the stuffing cannot feel anymore the zucchini πŸ˜†πŸ˜† but seeing them like this looks really delicious πŸ˜‹
      Most of the time I eat them sautΓ©ed or grilled or au gratin πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‰
      Yes, from when I’ve started creating this kind of posts, I was amazed at how many benefits these veggies have πŸ˜‰ no wonder every time I do my exams the doctor is asking what are you eating, since the results are always perfect πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I eat everyday veggies and fruits πŸ˜‰πŸ˜Š but never thought can have so many benefits πŸ˜‚
      This week I’ll post one of my favorite ways of eating them πŸ˜‰ Even if you don’t like them, you should try, definitely you’ll like them πŸ˜‹πŸ€ͺπŸ˜†
      Yep, I guess a little help will be great πŸ˜†πŸ€—
      Thank you my dear for your kind words, for your time and for your support! I’ll really miss you 😭 Have you changed your mind? πŸ€”πŸ˜›
      Have a wonderful day too my dear! Easy, fast and smooth! πŸ§ΈπŸ§ΈπŸ§ΈπŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸŒΈπŸŒΈπŸŒΈπŸ§ΈπŸ§ΈπŸ§Έ

      1. πŸ€—πŸ€—
        well as I told you I’m sure I will like them if they were did properly 😊 doesn’t have to be meat, it has to be cooked well and has a special flavor, for me food = flavor and tasty sauce
        well I can assure you that if she grew 2 meters courgette, then I will book one way ticket and runπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
        don’t like them stuffed either, plus you need to be expert to remove their filling and so! you can ruin them in the process haha
        It’s great to have a good health and yes sure it’s because of the healthy food you eat which is great 😊 and now you’re knowing their so many benefits as well πŸ˜€
        I’m sure I will love your favorite, told you it’s all about flavor and the way they are made 😊
        actually I didn’t change my mind, I’m just reading your posts and will check also some posts today but let’s hope I will always manage to visit at least 😊 I still have Jess award, trying to post it today and after that I will see what will happen
        Have a great day as well and it’s always a great pleasure dear Riby πŸ§ΈπŸ§ΈπŸ§ΈπŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸŒΈπŸŒΈπŸŒΈπŸ§ΈπŸ§ΈπŸ§Έ

      2. Yes, also for me food=flavor πŸ˜‰ is so easy to ruin everything πŸ€ͺ I’m always trying to cook or prepare the food in such a way to enjoy all its flavors! And zucchini has a very delicate flavor very easy to destroy πŸ€ͺ
        Run with the award? πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
        Yes, I’m glad I’ve started doing these posts! I learn so many things πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰ Not bad at all πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰
        Ok, I’ll not pressure you πŸ€— You must feel it πŸ˜‰πŸ€— but I’m glad you are here! I so appreciate your time and your comments! I really thank you πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—
        Hope your day is going smooth πŸ˜‰πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ§ΈπŸ§ΈπŸ§ΈπŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸŒΈπŸŒΈπŸŒΈ

      3. well my mother has destroyed the zucchini for me πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
        award is already out and yes I will run away and hide haha πŸ˜€ you don’t pressure me, I feel happy when I know that my blog and my presence are that important! I mean I know I’m special and so hahah (modesty πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚)
        I wish you a great Wednesday and week ahead and let’s hope it’s not a goodbye as I said in my post πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ§ΈπŸ§ΈπŸ§ΈπŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸŒΈπŸŒΈπŸŒΈ

      4. Happens to me too…when I eat too much one thing, then for a while I don’t want to even hear of it πŸ˜‚
        Of course you are special and wanted in this blogosphere πŸ€— and I’m glad you know it πŸ˜‰πŸ€—πŸ’•
        I hope so πŸ˜‰πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ€—πŸ§Έ
        Wish you a great day too! Already Wednesday πŸ˜‰

  5. This post is just what I needed! Courgettes are my favourite vegetables and this year – for the first time – we decided to grow our own. And, guess what – we went away for two weeks and by the time we were gone they grew to a size that’s near gigantic and I don’t even know what to do with them now!

    1. So great! What a wonderful thing to grow them in your garden πŸ˜‰ Is a pretty easy plant and the results are indeed rewarding πŸ˜‰
      You can enjoy them in so many ways sautΓ©ed, grilled, baked, pie, pasta…πŸ˜‹ I’ll share this week one of my favorite and easy ways of cooking them πŸ˜‰

  6. This is such a terrific post on zucchini. I did not know the history. I have grown them in years gone by but not now. The flowers I have had cooked in Italy and they were delicious. And….we just had some zucchini fried in garlic and olice oil with dinner tonight.

    1. Thank you Anne! I’m glad you like it 😊
      Yes, are pretty common in Italy to eat the flowers, so many recipes and so delicious πŸ˜‹ I’m glad you had them for dinner, actually me too πŸ˜‰ sautΓ©ed zucchini with a little bit of butter, garlic and lemon zest πŸ˜‰

    1. 😊 true! When I used to grow them at home I never took the flowers as I was waiting for the zucchini πŸ˜‰ but I used to buy them from the local farmers and were so delicate and delicious πŸ˜‹
      Thank you Diane! I’m glad you like it!

  7. I have fond memories of cooking fried zucchini with my grandmother and mother. We love zucchini! I’ve had to get my Nordic hubby to warm up to it. We’ve made zucchini pasta and he likes that.

  8. I loooovvveeee zucchini, we call it “Timun Jepang” in Indonesia I don’t know why because in english that means Japanese cucumber but I am pretty sure it wasn’t first coming form Japan ahahha
    Anyway I love it and thank you for the nice article you’ve share to us πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, I guess sometimes translations doesn’t work properly 😊 but names doesn’t matter too much, important is the taste πŸ˜‰
      Thank you very much for stopping by and for your kind words! I’m glad you like it! πŸ˜‰πŸŒΈ

  9. commonly people thought that cucumber is a vegetable; it is not, cucumber is a fruit.

    It is high in certain plant compounds, nutrients, and antioxidants that may help prevent and treat some conditions.

    Also, cucumbers contain a good amount of soluble fiber and water, as well as low in calories. Which make them ideal for aiding in weight loss and promoting hydration.

    The first thing required when you want to lose weight is to cut down your calorie intake. One cup of unpeeled, raw cucumber contains only 14 calories which are almost 1% of your daily requirement. That is why sticking with the diet which includes cucumbers will promote weight loss.

    This article takes a deeper look at some of the top benefits that how you can use cucumber for weight loss.

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