Zucchini is a herbaceous vine that belongs to the species Cucurbitapepo and is used as a fruit and a vegetable. It is considered fruit when it is still on the plant and a vegetable while cooking. It has been known for three names: zucchini, courgette, and baby marrow. The word zucchini is derived from the Latin word Cucurbita which means gourd. This veggie got famous in the 20th century in the United States.
It does not have any specific taste; hence it gives the flavor of the vegetable with which it has been cooked. That’s why most chefs experiment with zucchini and cook it with different tasty vegetables. Only super fresh zucchini gives a sweet taste.
Zucchini is hard from the outside but very soft from the inside. Most of the zucchini varieties are green in color. Typically, zucchini can grow up to 15-20 cm, but mature zucchini can also grow up to 1 meter in length. This vegetable was originated in the 19th century in Italy and was brought to America by a well-known Italian traveler.
Cultivation of Zucchini
Zucchini needs to be cultivated in a temperate climate; that’s why it is very famous among many home gardeners. It requires many bees for pollination. In case of less pollination or extensive use of pesticides, plants go through fruit abortion.
Varieties of Zucchini
There are almost 14 varieties of zucchini, and each one is different from the other in terms of color, flavor, and appearance.
1. Black Beauty Zucchini
One of the most popular zucchinis is a black beauty because it gets ready to harvest in just 50 days, providing a high yield. It tastes amazing, whether picked small or large and has a smooth and shiny surface. Its color is dark green, almost black with white flesh inside, which can grow up to 24 inches. This type is normally used in soups and salads.
2. Cocozelle Zucchini
Cocozelle zucchini has a dark green color with small light green stripes that resembles cucumber because of its color and size. It is famous for its mild nutty taste and is quite a famous type among gardeners. Cocozelle zucchini is ready to harvest after 55 days. But gardeners have to be careful because cocozelle is less watery than other types, and a slight delay in harvest can lead to full dryness of fruit. It can usually grow to 8-10 inches.
3. Dunja Zucchini
It is a dark green colored straight zucchini that is quite easy to harvest. It has an open plant with short spines. The harvesting period is 47 days and can grow up to 6-8 inches in diameter.
4. Gourmet Zucchini
Gourmet zucchini is different from other zucchinis because of its striking sunny bright color. Its yellow color makes it different and attractive from other zucchini’s. It is a widely used ingredient in zucchini frittata.
5. Round Zucchini
This variety of zucchini has the same flavor as other zucchinis, but its round shape makes it different from other long varieties. If you want to make stuffed roasted zucchini, then this variety would be the best choice. It can grow up to 5-6 inches, and the harvesting time for it is 55 days. It is also known as tondo di Nizza zucchini
Crookneck is generally mistaken with straight neck zucchini because they both are yellow. The difference is that its neck is narrowed from the top, as the name suggests. It can grow up to 5-6 inches tall.
It is a dark-green colored zucchini that has a different flavor than most other types. It gives a sweet and a bit crisp flavor and a neat star-like look when sliced. Moreover, it is very easy to grow with a harvesting period of around 55 days. If you are planning to grow zucchini in your garden, then Gadzukes! should be your utmost priority.
8. Pattypan Zucchini
Pattypan zucchini vary in shape as it has a unique shape with varying colors. The color can be yellow, green, or white. The size also varies; this type of zucchini is available in small to large sizes.
9. Rampicante Zucchini
It is a tall, hard zucchini that can become quite tall over time. The unique feature of this type of zucchini is that it can be harvested at early stages, but before harvesting, make sure that the outer part has a lime green hue with green stripes.
10. Zucchini Flowers
Zucchini flowers are edible, and their taste is similar to a regular zucchini. This variety is used in mushrooms and omelets.
Magda has a nutty flavor and comes in pale-green color. It is generally grilled because of its crisp flavor.
Caserta is an heirloom variety that has a light green color with dark green stripes, making it a beautiful vegetable. Moreover, it is very easy to cultivate.
The other two types of zucchini are:
- Golden egg
Health Benefits of Zucchini
1. Protection From Free Radicals
Zucchini contains a relatively high amount of antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals that may harm your body cells.
2. Cancer Prevention
Zucchini contains compounds like zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, which help prevent cancer, enhance your vision, and boost your skin’s health.
3. Helps with Digestion
Zucchini is rich in water; hence, it softens the food and easily passes through the gut, thus preventing constipation. The soluble fiber in zucchini feeds the bacteria present in the gut and nourishes the gut. Zucchini also comprises insoluble fibers that help in the passage of food through the gut.
4. Maintain Blood Sugar Level
Zucchini helps maintain blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Zucchini is a low diet carb, which is the best alternative to spaghetti, pasta, etc. A low carb diet lowers sugar and insulin levels in diabetic patients. Fibers present in zucchini also aids in stabilizing sugar levels in the blood.
5. Heart Health
Zucchini is a rich source of fiber, and fibers maintain heart health by lowering cholesterol levels. Pectin, a soluble fiber, lowers the level of cholesterol. Zucchini also contain elevated levels of carotenoids, which help in maintaining heart health.
6. Maintain Blood Pressure
Zucchini is an important source of potassium that helps in dilating blood vessels, thus maintaining blood pressure.
7. Good Vision
Zucchini contains vitamin C, antioxidants, and beta-carotene. All of these helps in maintaining eye health. According to a study, antioxidants assemble in the retina, which then enhances vision.
8. Aids in Weight Loss
Zucchini contains a large amount of fiber, which ultimately reduces hunger. It also contains relatively high levels of water and low-calorie content, which help in weight loss.
Zucchini is a worldwide famous fruit as well as vegetable. You can eat it raw or cook it in your favorite recipe – either way, you can reap its amazing health benefits.