Varieties: Zucchinis, or courgettes, are not sold by variety and are available year-round. Zucchinis have an elongated, sausage-like shape with smooth skin that’s pale to dark green in colour. The flesh is slightly sweet, and white to pale green in colour with small, edible seeds.
Buying: Choose zucchinis with firm, smooth, well-coloured skin. Avoid zucchinis with wrinkled skin, bruises or soft spots.
Storing: Zucchinis should be refrigerated as soon as possible after purchase, and can keep in the crisper for up to five days. Cut zucchinis must be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature to avoid becoming soggy. Do not wash zucchini before storing – this speeds up the ageing process.
Preparing: Thinly sliced or grated raw zucchini is a great addition to salads, coleslaws, omelettes, muffins, fritters, breads and biscuits. You can also grill or barbecue it for pizzas, sandwiches or to serve as a healthy, low-kJ side dish all on its own.
4 quick ways with zucchini
Make a fast frittata: whisk 3 eggs and 4 egg whites with 2 tablespoons skim milk. Fold in 2 grated zucchinis, 2 chopped tomatoes and 50g crumbled feta. Season with pepper, pour into a shallow, oiled pan and bake for 20–30 minutes at 180ºC, until golden.
Try this easy zucchini pesto pasta: grate 3 zucchinis and sauté with 1 diced brown onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Purée zucchini mixture with 1 cup packed basil, 1/4 cup parmesan and 3 garlic cloves. Slowly add 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon oil and process until smooth. Toss with wholemeal pasta.
Enjoy a summer salad, Italian-style: thinly slice 4 zucchinis lengthwise and grill for 1–2 minutes per side. Combine with 1 sliced red onion, 2 cups artichoke hearts, 1 cup cherry tomatoes and 2 tablespoons small bocconcini balls. Toss with 1 tablespoon each olive oil, fresh oregano and fresh basil.
Whip up some zucchini fritters: grate 4 zucchinis and 2 potatoes. Combine with 1 cup corn and 1 tablespoon thyme. Add 1/4 cup plain flour and 2 eggs. Fry 1/2 cup portions of mixture over medium heat for 4–5 minutes each side, until golden. Serve with tzatziki and salad.
Did you know? Zucchinis naturally enhance the flavours of other ingredients in meals without adding many kilojoules – 100g zucchini contains only 72kJ!