Original zucchinis are known as calabacitas and come from Mexico and northern regions of South America approximately 7,000 years ago. The zucchini we know was cultivated in Italy in the 1900s and brought to America by immigrants. Its taste is bland like other squashes and the texture is both springy and dense. Zucchini takes on the flavor of whatever sauce or dish it is being cooked in. It is eaten sautéed, grilled, stuffed, baked by itself or in a savory dish, or in baked goods.
Fun fact: Zucchini is classified as a fruit because its seeds are located internally. Pair with: A healthy fat to increase absorption of its vitamins and minerals
- Vitamin A important for vision, bone development, and immune function
- Vitamin C important for the immune system, healthy skin, and wound healing
- Manganese contributes to healthy bones
How to Shop
Look for small, firm zucchini with blemish-free, vibrant green skin. Zucchini gets bitter as they grow bigger, so avoid any overly large squashes.
How to Grow
When: The soil is warm (60F). This should be a week or more after the last frost date.
Where: In full sunlight, low wind activity, and with well-rotted manure and organic fertilizer.
How: Space zucchini 2 feet apart and plant the seeds 2 at a time and 1 inch deep. Water generously after planting the seeds. Using mulch or organic matter around the plants can help preserve the soil’s moisture. Water consistently and deeply.
Harvest: After 60 days when they are 6-8 inches long. Instead of breaking the fruit off, cut them off using gardening shears.
How to Store
If storing yellow squash or zucchini in the refrigerator, do not wash the squash before storing. They are best stored in a plastic bag that has had a few holes poked in it for airflow, and then placed in the vegetable crisper drawer. Zucchini stored this way will last approximately 1 week.