FYI - Zucchini

There is a local farm here that we love to hit up every year - Gilcrease Orchard.  They have a variety of produce, including squashes.  We love to head over there and grab some nice big zucchinis to grill up during the summer.  The zucchini is a summer squash which can reach nearly a meter in length.  It is usually harvested at a smaller size though since they tend to be sweeter when immature.  Zucchini can be dark or light green.  It originated in Italy.

Zucchini is served as a vegetable, even though it is technically a fruit.  It is served often as a savory side dish, cooked.  It can be prepared using a variety of cooking techniques such as steamed, boiled, grilled, stuffed and baked, barbecued, or fried.  It can also be julienned as served as a pasta alternative.  Zucchini is also often baked into bread, similar to banana bread, or incorporated into cake mixes.

Now for the "yummy" part of zucchini - nutrition.  Because zucchini has such a high water content, it's very low in calories.  One medium raw zucchini contains only 31 calories.  It also contains no fat or cholesterol.  It contains only 7 grams of carbohydrates.  But, of those carbohydrates, 2 grams are from dietary fiber, accounting for 9% of your recommended daily value of fiber.  Zucchini contains 2 grams of protein.  So you benefit from both its fiber and protein.

Zucchinis are full of lovely vitamins and minerals as well.  One medium zucchini packs a serious vitamin C punch - 56% of your daily recommended value.  It also contains 11% of your Vitamin K value, 16% of riboflavin, 21% of Vitamin B-6, and 14% folate.  It's super rich in minerals such as potassium and manganese (15% and 17% of your daily value, respectively).

So how to use zucchini?  I've used it in bread, soups, and I love to grill it with a little olive oil and herbs during the summer for a side dish to poultry.  But most recently, I've started using it as a pasta alternative.  On Friday, you'll see just how I've done that.  And man, you will not be disappointed.