July 21, 2014 – Zucchini is an incredibly versatile summer squash with amazing health benefits, to boot. A great source of fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants, zucchini adds a flavorful and healthy punch to any summer recipe.
How to Choose It
Look for zucchini less than eight inches long and one to two inches in diameter. Zucchini store a lot of water, so the larger a zucchini grows, the more watery it will be. Zucchini also damage easily so check the skin for cuts and bruises. Slightly prickly and shiny skins are signs that your zucchini is fresh and ready to eat.
How to Store It
Store zucchini in a plastic bag, unwashed and in your refrigerator’s vegetable drawer for up to five days. Ideally, zucchini should be used within a few days to prevent cold damage from the refrigerator.
How to Use It
Along with its crisp, delicate flavor, zucchini’s high water content makes for fast grilling or adding moisture to quick breads and muffins. Eat your zucchini raw, roasted, stuffed, grilled or baked for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. The uses for zucchini are endless, but here are some of our favorites.
When preparing to grill, slice zucchini thicker than you might normally think – about ¼-inch thick lengthwise – because the high water content causes it to shrink down on the grill. Brush with olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste, and grill on both sides until tender.
Fold grated zucchini into pancake, bread or muffin batter for a twist on the traditional baked good. For even more flavor and less fat, try adding applesauce in place of butter! Try this Whole Grain Zucchini Pear Bread from I Am Baker blogger Amanda Rettke.
Sautéed zucchini can be a great side or added ingredient, but why not make it the centerpiece of your meal? Zucchini noodles are a great gluten-free pasta alternative and can be dressed up with pasta sauce, pesto or even more veggies. To start, julienne your zucchini with a julienne slicer and remove extra moisture by patting with paper towels. Heat a skillet with olive oil and cook zucchini for 1-2 minutes for tender, low-carb zucchini noodles.
Add zucchini to your favorite roasted vegetable recipe, like these Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables from the ALDI test kitchen.
Tell us how you incorporate this summer squash in your appetizers, sides and main dishes!