Zucchini-Fresh From the Garden
TEXARKANA, Ark. –
Zucchini squash, for many, is a favored jewel of the summer squashes. Its flavor is light and sweet with flesh as delicate as a flower and texture that makes it almost melt in the mouth.
The history of squash is interesting. It is one of the few vegetables whose origin is in America. Dating back to 1500 B.C. , pieces of rind and seeds have been discovered in the ruins of cliff dwellings.
Zucchini is tender, with a light, delicate flavor when picked at the right time. Ideally, it should be harvested at 6 to 8 inches in length. Select small zucchini, which will be younger and therefore more tender and have thinner skins. The skins should be free of blemishes and have a vibrant color. Selecting the larger zucchini will sometimes yield rock-hard, tougher squash with inedible seeds and the less sweet flavor.
With their high water content (more than 95 percent), zucchini squash is very low in calories. There are only 13 calories in a half-cup of raw zucchini, as well as valuable antioxidants and beta-carotene. It is a good source of Vitamins A and C, Potassium, Fiber, and is low in calories, making it an excellent choice for those watching their weight. The peel is where many of the nutrients hide, so never peel zucchini.
Zucchini can be grilled, steamed, boiled, sautéed, fried, used in stir fry recipes, or even grated and used for breads. They mix well with onions, tomatoes and okra in vegetable medleys. Zucchini can be used interchangeably in most summer squash recipes.
There are numerous herbs and spices that enhance the flavor of zucchini. These include marjoram, cumin seeds, parsley, dill, rosemary and savory. But beware that too many herbs and spices mask the delicate flavor, so use herbs and spices sparingly.
For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaHaleyHadley, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the web at uaex.uada.edu/Miller.
My favorite way to fix zucchini is to grill it. This is a recipe that I use during the summer months when I have gone to the farmers market and bought my farm fresh veggies. Lucky for us, the Gateway Farmers Market is open every day this week in anticipation of National Farmers Market Day this Saturday.
Grilled Veggies, Cajun Style is easy, and a nutritious way to prepare your zucchini, that won’t heat up your kitchen. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Of course, you can modify the heat by adjusting the Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper.
Grilled Veggies, Cajun Style
2 zucchini, cut into one half inch slices
2 large white onions, cut into one half inch wedges
2 large yellow squash, cut into one half inch slices
1/4 cup light olive oil
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Place vegetables in a large zip top baggie. In baggie, add remaining ingredients. Shake well, cover and marinate in the refrigerator 30 minutes. Preheat outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil grate. Place marinated vegetable pieces on skewers or directly on the grill. Cook 5 minutes or to desired doneness.
By Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
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