It’s still raining zucchini!
Well, maybe not literally, but it can feel that way at this time in the year, when home gardens, farmer’s markets and fresh produce aisles abound with these versatile and prolific veggies.
There is something kind of funny about these little green monsters. It could just be the word ‘zucchini’, which by the way has its roots in the very food-associated Italian language. ‘Zucca’ is the Italian word for squash. Not to get bogged down in an etymology thing . . . the point is that zucchini has been party to many silly jokes, such as:
What is a zucchini’s favorite sport?
Squash . . . of course!
All silliness aside, the zucchini has some serious qualities as well. While we mostly use it in a savory capacity in cooking, it is actually considered an ‘immature fruit’. No. I’m not trying to be funny, although it does have a comedic if not sort of sarcastic sound to it. Even worse is the description of it being the ‘swollen ovary of the female zucchini flower’!
Okay, now we’re going to get serious, really . . . the zucchini has a lot of nutritional punch per bite. One cup of raw zucchini is only 3 calories! Those three calories are high in folate, manganese, potassium and vitamin A. According to NutritionData.com, it also has a zero glycemic load.
The zucchini is an old standby in the Americas and archaeologists have traced its origins back to Mexico between 7000 – 5500 BC! An integral part of the pre-Colombian diet, it is still a staple in Mexican cuisine known as one of the ‘three sisters’ – corn, beans and squash.
Odd as this may sound, our current cultural introduction to zucchini did NOT come from our continental neighbors, but from europe! When early european explorers were bringing back booty (after some nasty looting often), they came back with what would make its way back to Italy and be named zucchini, where it quickly gained in popularity. It made its way to France and England too, where it is called courgette. Along with some other squashes, it belongs to the species Cucurbita pepo and is also referred to as summer squash.
Click here for one of Green Diva Meg’s favorite Zucchini recipes!
eat. blog. be merry!