Quite possibly the most popular squash of all, zucchini is a summer squash that is endlessly versatile. Find it in everything from dinners to desserts, in just about every shape possible – stuffed, spiralized, grated, cut into thin coins for chips or thicker coins for a quick sauté. Or pickles! We’re with you – we adore zucchini too!
TASTE: Very mild, ever so slightly sweet and sometimes a bit grassy – mostly, zucchini has such a mild taste that it takes on the flavors of whatever it’s cooked with.
Table of Contents
- About Zucchini
- Zucchini Scientific Name
- Difference Between Zucchini & Cucumber
- Zucchini Nutrition & Benefits
- How to Select Zucchini
- Favorite Zucchini Recipes
- Can Dogs Eat Zucchini?
In the squash world and definitely in the summertime, it doesn’t get much more ubiquitous than zucchini.
Also known as courgette and marrow squash, this summer squash is a long, slender, green vegetable that grows on thick vines – either bush type in smaller gardens or trailing plants that need staking.
Zucchini, like all summer squash, has the best flavor when harvested young – about 6 inches in length. But if your local market or prolific garden has produced only massive zucchinis, no worries – it might not have the best flavor, but still plenty usable – especially in delicious quick breads!
Zucchini is endlessly versatile. Grill it, slice it into coins for a quick sauté, grate it into the moistest baked goods, cut it into spiralized noodles. Hollow it out and stuff the entire length Kousa-style, or cut it in half lengthwise, hollow out the seeds, and stuff for a glorious main dish. Dice and add to soups and stews for a bit of green. Seriously, when it comes to zucchini, there’s not much you can’t do!
Zucchini Scientific Name
Zucchini’s scientific species name is Cucurbita pepo (sometimes shown as “C. pepo.”) Zucchini is a member of the Cucurbita genus, which resides in the Cucurbitaceae (gourd) family. More about gourd family taxonomy
Difference Between Zucchini & Cucumber
Zucchini and cucumbers are both long, slender, and green, and they are both members of the Cucurbitaceae (gourd) family – but that’s where there similarities end. Zucchini is a member of the Cucurbita genus, while cucumber lives within the Cucumis genus.
Taste wise, cucumber and zucchini are very different. Cucumbers are best eaten raw – hard and crunchy with high water content and a slightly sweet, slightly earthy, cool, refreshing flavor. Zucchini are usually cooked, and are milder, a bit sweeter, and have a more buttery flavor and texture profile. Here’s more about zucchini vs. cucumber.
Zucchini Nutrition & Benefits
Is zucchini healthy? Yes! It’s a great source of fiber. It also contains many desirable minerals and vitamins, such as vitamin A, vitamin B6, tons of vitamin C, and folate.
How to Select Zucchini
Zucchini taste best when picked young, so look for smaller zucchinis around six inches. Look for firm zucchini with no soft spots or blemishes.
Favorite Zucchini Recipes
There are so many ways to prepare zucchini! Here are a few favorites.
- Stuffed Zucchini
- Sauteed Zucchini
- My very favorite Classic Zucchini Bread recipe
- Grilled and layered in pesto-smeared ciabatta in these Grilled Summer Veg Sandwiches – yum!
Can Dogs Eat Zucchini?
Yes! All squash varieties are safe for dogs. Zucchini squash is listed by the ASPCA as safe and non-toxic for dogs, cats, and horses.