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It's Zucchini Season!

Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist

At this time of the summer, gardens and farmers markets are filled with fresh vegetables for us to enjoy in different ways. Your neighbors might leave some zucchini at your front door or sneak some into your vehicle. Many people have bumper crops of summer squash, such as zucchini, crookneck and straight-neck types.

One-half cup of summer squash has just 10 calories and vitamins C and A, potassium and other vitamins and minerals. These are some ways to use zucchini on your menu.

  • Grill it.
  • Rinse, then slice zucchini into ½-inch-thick pieces.
  • Place in a bowl, then add a small amount of canola oil or olive oil. Mix.
  • Sprinkle with your favorite seasonings, such as garlic powder, pepper or Italian seasoning.
  • Grill zucchini over medium-low heat for three to four minutes per side.
  • Use a perforated grilling pan (so the zucchini doesn’t fall through the grate).
  • Alternate method: Slice zucchini lengthwise, brush with oil and cook over the grates.
  • Make noodles.
  • Rinse but do not peel two small zucchini.
    Make zucchini noodles by slicing into thin strips with a knife or vegetable peeler. Discard seeds.
    Heat oil in a skillet. Use 1 tablespoon oil for 2 cups of zucchini noodles.
  • Saute for one minute.
  • Add ¼ cup of water and cook for about five minutes.
  • Note: Special equipment such as a “vegetable spiralizer” is available. A vegetable spiralizerallows you to make noodles out of zucchini.
  • Use it in baking.
  • Use grated zucchini in baked goods, such as bread and muffins.
  • Extend foods.
  • Add grated zucchini to meat loaf or meatballs to keep the recipe moist. Use about 1 cup of grated zucchini per pound of ground meat.
  • Eat the squash blossoms. Zucchini blossoms can be added to soup, salads, quesadillas and many other foods. If you eat the blossoms, they won’t form more zucchini!
  • Preserve it.
  • Freeze zucchini by slicing or grating; blanch in boiling water for one minute if grated or three minutes if sliced; allow to dry, then package in freezer containers.
  • Label with contents and date.

See www.ag.ndsu.edu/food for more information.

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Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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