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Florida Produce: Zucchini

October 12, 2009

I’ve cooked with zucchini before and I do like it. Finding quick, simple and delicious recipes is something I enjoy doing. I posted back in the spring about my attempt to make zucchini chips. It was actually more like a healthier version of fried pickles. Regardless, they were good.

With a light and sweet flavor, Florida zucchini is a healthy addition to almost any dish. In the same family as squash, zucchini is grown in Florida from October through May.  Zucchini harvest peaks in February.

How to buy
Select smaller zucchini which will be younger and therefore more tender and have thinner skins than larger ones. The skins should be free of blemishes andZucchini 4 have a vibrant color.

Tips for storage
Store zucchini in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. Make sure that the zucchini is dry when putting into bag as any moisture may lead to soft spots.

Cooking & tips
Perhaps one of the easiest vegetables to cook with because of its versatility, zucchini can be used in a variety of dishes and cooked numerous ways. It cooks very quickly, so be sure not to add it to your dish too early or it can become soggy. Try cooking zucchini using low-fat cooking methods such as steaming, grilling, sautéing and baking to retain as many vitamins and nutrients as possible.

Flavors well with:
Basil, cheese, cilantro, eggplant, garlic, mushrooms, olive oil, onions, oregano, parsley, pesto, thyme, tomatoes

Because every post is better with a recipe, here is another delicious one from our Chef Justin.

Zucchini and Tomatoes with EdamameZucchini and Tomatoes with Edamame
Yield 4 – 6 servings

1 large Florida zucchini, diced into medium-sized pieces
2 medium Florida tomatoes, diced into medium-sized pieces
2 tablespoons fresh Florida basil leaves, hand-torn
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 cup shelled edamame, thawed
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

In medium-sized saucepan, heat 1 cup of lightly salted water to a boil. Add zucchini and edamame; simmer 3 to 5 minutes or until desired tenderness. Completely drain vegetables and return to saucepan.  Stir in remaining ingredients except cheese. Cook and stir 1 minute or until heated thoroughly. Serve warm in a dish or on plates and garnish with cheese.

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