Eating and Storing
Zucchini, a member of the squash family, is best eaten when small (less than eight inches) because it is more tender, does not need to be peeled, and the young ones do not have to have the seeds removed. It is best to store them in the refrigerator crisper drawer, unwashed, for preferably only up to 3 days in pre-perforated plastic bags. Then it is time to use them in a wide variety of recipes. They are quite versatile as you will see later on in this article.
The small zucchini sometimes have the delicate flowers still in place, and both the female blossom and the male flower are considered delicacies. Rinse and dry the flowers carefully; and they can be eaten raw or used in soups, shredded into a salad, added to omelets, or used to garnish fresh fruit. Deep fried as fritters or dipped in tempura batter and fried, they plump up like a balloon, and the skin will be crisp like rice paper. They can also be stuffed, baked, or sauteed.
Cooking with zucchini
The zucchini itself is so versatile that you cannot count the tasty ways it can be used. Take your choice of stuffed and baked, steamed, fried in a little butter or oil, grilled, boiled, barbecued, included in quesadillas, cut into sticks and served with a dip, added to cold pasta salad, included grated into crab cakes, paired up with chicken, placed into soups and meatloaf and lasagna, etc.
Zucchini can also be added to pasta sauces or stuffing, smothered in a buttery cheese sauce, sauteed with tomatoes and anchovies, baked with olives and capers, grilled with eggplant and mushrooms, or be an alternative to french fries. It can even be made into jelly by cooking zucchini until tender for 15-20 minutes, adding sugar, lemon juice, a can of crushed pineapple and boiling for 6 minutes; and then stirring in two boxes of Jello.
In France it is used in a stew of vegetables called ratatouille or stuffed with meat and tomatoes and/or green peppers.
In Greece it is fried or boiled with other vegetables and served as an hors d’oeuvre. The flowers can be stuffed with feta cheese or with rice and herbs and deep-fried or baked with tomato sauce.
In Turkey there are zucchini pancakes made from shredded zucchini, flour, and eggs; then lightly fried in olive oil and eaten with yogurt.
Baking with zucchini
Zucchini can be baked into a quick bread or made into what tastes like an apple pie. Make cookies with butterscotch. Add it to a cake mix for a unique texture and flavor. Include it in souffles. It can be chilled with bread crumbs and mint for a refreshing dessert in the summer.
This post is part of the series: Everything Zucchini
Learn everything you ever wanted to know about zucchini and then some! From the health benefits and history of zucchini, to buying and storing tips, to tips on how to cook and include zucchini in the diet, find it all here.