Zucchini A Power House Of Nutrition

Dating back to​ 7000 B. C.,​ zucchini (Cucurbita pepo) is​ native to​ Central and South America. Sometimes called by the​ nickname “Italian Squash,​” zucchini was brought to​ North America by its southern neighbours. Early European explorers introduced zucchini to​ Italy and other countries in​ Europe. Italians initially grew zucchini for their sweet,​ edible blossoms,​ later the​ hearty fruits were experimented with producing the​ delectable dishes that resulted in​ zucchini being dubbed Italian squash. Up until the​ 20th Century,​ most Americans considered zucchini a​ treat reserved for eating on​ special occasions and were store-bought instead of​ grown in​ gardens.

Part of​ the​ summer squash family,​ zucchini is​ an​ excellent source of​ manganese and vitamin C,​ a​ very good source of​ magnesium,​ vitamin A,​ potassium,​ calcium,​ iron,​ folate,​ copper,​ riboflavin,​ niacin,​ and phosphorous. Many of​ the​ nutrients have been shown to​ be helpful for the​ prevention of​ atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. Summer squash’s magnesium has been shown to​ be helpful for reducing the​ risk of​ heart attack and stroke. Together with the​ potassium in​ summer squash,​ magnesium is​ also helpful for reducing high blood pressure. All summer squash are perfect diet foods - low in​ calories,​ sodium,​ fat-free,​ and provide a​ source of​ fiber. All parts of​ the​ zucchini are edible.

How to​ Grow

Zucchini is​ probably the​ best known of​ the​ summer squashes. it​ is​ a​ type of​ narrow squash that resembles a​ cucumber in​ size and shape. it​ has smooth,​ thin skin that is​ either yellow or​ green in​ colour and can be striped or​ speckled. Its tender flesh is​ creamy white in​ colour and features numerous seeds. Its edible flowers are often used in​ French and Italian cooking.

Zucchini can be planted by direct seeding or​ by transplanting young plants that have been started indoors. Seed directly into the​ ground as​ soon as​ the​ soil reaches temperatures of​ 60°F/16°C. for vines. Fill the​ holes with compost and mound slightly. Plant seeds 1in/2.5cm deep.

Zucchini is​ a​ member of​ the​ Cucurbitaceae family that includes cucumbers,​ melons,​ gourds,​ and squash,​ all particularly sensitive to​ frost. Select a​ sheltered spot,​ and prepare holes about 12in/30cm in​ diameter and 12in/30cm deep. Measuring from the​ centre,​ space the​ holes 36in/90cm apart for bush types,​ 6ft/1.8m apart for vines. to​ conserve space,​ squash can be trained over a​ sturdy trellis,​ in​ which case 2ft/60cm between plants is​ enough.

Zucchini grows best when exposed to​ 6-8 hours of​ direct sunlight each day. Regular watering is​ essential for summer squash. Feed the​ plants with a​ high-potassium organic liquid feed to​ produce a​ higher yield. Thick mulch added after planting will preserve moisture and keep the​ fruits from touching the​ ground where they will become soiled and be exposed to​ insects and diseases.

Harvesting

The flavor of​ zucchini is​ best when it​ is​ less than six inches long. They should be firm,​ but not hard. Zucchini are prolific producers and regular harvesting will promote continued yield throughout the​ growing season. Harvest by cutting the​ stems from the​ plants gently with a​ paring knife. as​ they are composed mainly of​ water,​ summer squashes dehydrate rapidly. Harvest just before cooking and keep in​ the​ refrigerator in​ a​ perforated plastic bag until cooking. Don’t forget that squash blossoms are delicious to​ eat.

Small summer squashes are used skin and all. Larger squash need their skin and seeds removed: slice lengthwise and scoop out the​ seeds with a​ spoon. Wash summer squash under cool running water and then cut off both ends. you​ can then proceed to​ cut it​ into the​ desired size and shape for the​ particular recipe.

In the​ kitchen,​ zucchini can be steamed,​ sautéed,​ boiled,​ baked,​ fried,​ grilled,​ and stuffed. Some ideas include: serve raw as​ an​ appetiser with a​ vegetable dip or​ salad dressing,​ grate and sauté with thinly sliced garlic,​ add to​ breads,​ muffins,​ cakes,​ stews,​ casseroles,​ soups,​ sprinkle grated zucchini or​ other summer squash on​ salads or​ sandwiches. it​ can be preserved by canning,​ freezing,​ and drying.

In the​ garden,​ some gardeners let the​ squashes ramble through the​ corn patch,​ where their sandpapery leaves deter raccoons. Good companion plants for zucchini are: corn,​ marjoram,​ and nasturtium. Don’t grow zucchini and Irish potatoes together as​ they are incompatible.
Zucchini A Power House Of Nutrition Zucchini A Power House Of Nutrition Reviewed by Henda Yesti on July 16, 2018 Rating: 5

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