There some vegetables that you can always count on to grow for you and in our case it is the courgette. From day one we have been amazed at just how many we can produce. In 2016 we had such a bumper crop I had to take a bag full to work everyday and give them to my colleagues as we just couldn’t eat them fast enough. I can still remember Simons pride when he presented me with the first crop – he looked as proud as a first time Dad, and whilst we didn’t name them we certainly marvelled at their shiny skins and glossy colour and then of course promptly ate them.
So are those shiny delights vegetable or fruit?
Well in real terms they are fruit as they grow from a flower and have seeds for the next generation of the plant, but they are not sweet so we traditionally use them in savoury dishes hence the reason for considering them veg.
Why are they called courgettes or zucchini and are they the same thing?
The confusion over the name is driven by different countries really – Zucchini being the Italian name and courgette from the French. Essentially they are the same and come from the Summer Squash gang – the cucurbit vegetable family. Whilst they derive from the same plant I have also read that the differing names relate to the growing stages of the fruit – courgettes being picked when they are traditionally around the size of a cigar and then zucchini when bigger around 20-25cm and finally when left to grow to maturity they would be considered to be a marrow, but I think depending on where we all live we just call them by the name we are used to regardless of size. Big or small then, we will be calling our crop courgettes and mighty taste those curvy lovelies are.
For new growers these are a good beginner veg, they like space to grow but I have seen some pot grown courgettes so don’t despair if you are short on space. It can be easy to become overrun with this vegetable though as each plant can produce a continuous harvest, so make sure you like to eat a lot of these before you plant in abundance.
What I love about them is that their season is June to October, coming into their best as our seasonal food habits change and we start to eat more salads and light fresh dishes. They lend themselves well to both cold and hot summer dishes. and then finish off with a bang in stews and curries in early autumn,
As I write this I am eating pizza with courgette on, maybe not your cup of tea but with some really tangy home made tomato relish it is very good.
Whilst I am not a cook that can make my food look picture pretty I did take a snap of my BBQ roasted courgette and red pepper salad yesterday. I apologise to all those of you who do take beautiful pics but it tasted better than it looked.
Drizzled in olive oil and garlic and cooked on the BBQ for 5 mins then tossed in the remaining olive oil with lemon juice and zest to taste it was healthy, tasty and packed a punch on flavour. I have yet to eat the mighty courgette raw but I think that as long as they are firm and fresh slicing them thinly in a salad would be a nice addition to the traditional cucumber, lettuce and tomato combination.
If you are watching your weight or recovering from heart issues like Simon then courgettes should become a staple of your kitchen.
Here is just a few reasons why they are so good for you.
Low in calories and fat – 17 calories per 100g
Contains Vit K – for good coagulation and healthy bones
Contains Vit C – for immunity and tissue repair – good for us as Simon bruises and bleeds very easy these days and healing is slow.
Contains Potassium, Iron and Zinc and other B vitamins
Not an exhaustive list but it does show how food with benefits can be just as essential for keeping us healthy as our tablets and they taste better too. Come on then get the grill on and enjoy all the shapes, sizes and colours of the vegetable that is SO GOOD THEY NAMED IT TWICE.
Have a great week and remember
In the meantime just breathe