Zucchini in Maryland: A Great Summer Veggie!


Summer in Maryland is zucchini season.  From July through September, zucchini starts showing up at the farmers' market and (if you are lucky) in your neighbor's garden!  Zucchini is close in shape and color to a cucumber.  It can be eaten raw, stir-fried, roasted, and grilled.  The mild flavor also makes zucchini a delicious seasonal treat.

What is Zucchini?
Zucchini is a summer squash.  It belongs to the same family as other summer squashes such as yellow squash, crooked neck squash, and straightneck squash.  These squashes are different from winter squashes because summer squash only grow once the dirt is warm and they don't last long in storage.

Zucchini is actually best when it is still immature.  If you wait too late or let it grow too big, the rind is not tender and edible.  Small zucchini are the most delicious choice.

Try to use your zucchini up shortly after you pick or get it.  Zucchini will only keep fresh for 5 to 14 days in cool (32-50 degrees F) temperatures.  Zucchini is a good source of vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and vitamin B6.  It is also very low in calories.

How to prepare and use:  Wash, trim ends, and cut into pieces.  Eat raw,  bake, sauté, broil or grill.

Try this Zucchini and Tomato recipe for a taste of some of summer's favorite vegetables.


Zucchini and Tomatoes
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, washed and diced, or one 16-ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 medium zucchini, washed and deiced
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
  1. Heat oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic.  Cook until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add zucchini, tomatoes, sugar, and pepper
  4. Cover pan and reduce heat.
  5. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall