The Life of a Zucchini Seed…Nutritional Fun!
THE LIFE OF A ZUCCHINI SEED:
As you plant your tiny little zucchini seeds and you nurture the soil surrounding the seeds, you always wonder as a gardener…..should I plant more? The plant begins to grow and prosper but still you are thinking…..will this one plant be enough to suffice me through the summer?
The plant takes on a whole new life and the edible squash blooms begin to poke through the vine branches. The excitement begins to build with anticipation of when the first vegetable will appear. The vine is growing, the green hue is becoming more and more prevalent, the blossoms turning into an amazing flower, tiny little squashes are beginning to pop up throughout the vine. More water, please. One evening you go check on your growing vines…..everything looks great but still not big enough to harvest. You have a gardening dream and it is abundant and fresh.
Next morning you go to take a status check on the crop and look down……”Holy Garden Hoe”! You take another look down and to your amazement your squash blossoms and tiny squash have grown 10 inches in length and 5 inches in diameter overnight. There’s not only one or two but 5 of the same size. You scratch your soil infested hair and take a second look. Maybe you are still in that gardening dream? Touch, feel, smell. Nope…..this is your precious seed that has been nurtured and loved by you. It is time for Zucchini Season and the crop is ready to flourish you with TONS of amazing vegetables. The vine keeps producing and producing deep green and yellow zucchini. Now what?
Zucchini (aka courgette) can come in many varieties throughout the world. Some amazing features about this abundant vegetable:
- One of the very low calories vegetable that is used during weight reduction and cholesterol control programs. Zucchinis provide only 17 calories per 100 g. Contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Its peel is good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation and offers some protection against colon cancers.
- Courgette is relatively moderate source of folates, consists of 24 mcg or 6% of RDA per 100 g. Folates are important in cell division and DNA synthesis. When taken adequately before pregnancy, it can help prevent neural tube defects in the fetus.
- It is a very good source of potassium, an important intra-cellular electrolyte. Potassium is a heart friendly electrolyte; helps reduce blood pressure and heart rates by countering effects of sodium.
- Fresh fruits are rich in vitamin A; provide about 200 IU per 100 g.
- Furthermore, zucchinis, especially golden skin variety are rich in flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin. These compounds help scavenge harmful oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) from the body that play a role in aging and various disease process.
- Fresh fruit is good source of anti-oxidant vitamin-C. Provide about 17.9 mcg or 30% of RDA per 100g.
- In addition, they are also good in B-complex group of vitamins like thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and minerals like iron, manganese, phosphorus, zinc and potassium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids, helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.HOW TO SELECT ZUCCHINI
- At your farmers markets and stores, choose small to medium sized zucchini featuring shiny, bright green skin, firm and heavy in hand. The best size for zucchini is 6 to 8 inches long and 2 inches or less in diameter. Some big sized varieties with marrow are specially grown especially for stuffing. Minor superficial scratches and mild bruises are oftentimes seen on their surface but are perfectly fine.
- Avoid overly large courgette with pitted skin or those with flabby or spongy texture. Also, avoid those with soft and wrinkled ends as they indicate old stock and state of de-hydration. Go for organically grown products to get rich flavor and nutrients content.
- At home, place them in plastic bag and store inside the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator set with adequate moisture. They can be stored for up to 2-3 days.
PREPARATION and SERVING METHODS
- Wash zucchini thoroughly in cold running water just before cooking. Sometimes the fruits may require light scrub at places where prickles or dirt attached firmly. Trim the neck and bases. Peeling of skin is not advised.
LEARN MORE ABOUT ZUCCHINI BLOSSOMS and RECIPES for the BLOOMS in our next posting on
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