In Virginia and many other places May is the start of zucchini season. It is a crop that a novice gardener can grow in abundance and with very little effort. It is also a very versatile vegetable which makes it a perfect side dish or addition to a dish that you might be preparing.
What is it? Zucchini is a type of summer squash shaped like a sausage with a green skin that can be mottled with white spots. Zucchini has a mild flavor that works well in many dishes. As a general rule, zucchini are best when they are smaller. If they get too large they become woody and may develop prickly hairs that must be scraped before eating. A good zucchini will feel heavy for its size because it contains a lot of moisture and will be firm with no sunken spots.
Health Benefits: Zucchini is high in vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, folate, dietary fiber and phytonutrients like carotenoids and lignans.
Storage: Zucchini should be refrigerated in a plastic bag and not washed until you are ready to use it.
Uses: Zucchini can be prepared a number of ways including raw, sautéed, grilled, roasted in the oven or used in soups, breads, and stirfrys. My favorite ways to prepare them are the following:
- Cut the ends of the zucchini off then cut them lengthwise into halves or thirds.
- Place them cut side up and brush them lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with the seasoning of your choice (we like Bosari spice blend).
- Place them on a hot grill and cook to desired doneness (typically 8-10 minutes) turning halfway through cooking.
Sautéed as Noodles
- Using a spiralizer (can be found at stores like Bed, Bath and Beyond or on Amazon) create Zucchini "noodles".
- Heat a pan to medium high heat and coat with a little olive oil. I like to use either garlic or basil infused olive oil for a little extra flavor.
- Sauté the noodles for 5-7 minutes seasoning them with salt and pepper as needed.