This particular summer squash is popular in all cuisines whether it is American, Japanese, French, Italian, or Mexican, all having a wonderful variety of recipes for using this vegetable.
It is a very tasty versatile vegetable that is good raw or cooked, and provides us with numerous vitamins and nutrients. The entire vegetable is edible, with the skin having the highest concentrates of vitamins and nutrients. Some varieties have flowers that are edible and considered a delicacy by many.
This is truly one of natures natural diet foods. In a cup of squash you only have 26 calories to count. So, we have a vegetable that is low in calories, high in nutritional value, easy to grow, and can be used in numerous recipes; why are we not eating more of this great vegetable?
What Vitamins And Minerals Are Found In Zucchini?
What Are The Benefits Of These Vitamins and Minerals?
Studies have found the nutrients like Vitamin C, magnesium and beta-carotene found in summer squash to be helpful in the prevention of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease and for reducing hypertension. The same vitamins also help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol and will assist in preventing plaque build up in the arteries.
The high fiber content in summer squash combined with vitamin C folate and beta-carotene have been found to assist the body in fighting off toxins that can cause colon cancer. The same vitamins also have an anti inflammatory agent that will aid in relief from diseases like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis as well as asthma.
Further research has indicated that extracts from summer squash help reduce conditions and symptoms in men known as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). With this condition the prostrate becomes enlarged, causing urinary and sexual dysfunction.
How to Buy and Store
Look for the smaller squash, uniform in color. They should be firm to the touch with no bruises or soft spots and without damaged peels.
Summer squash should be stored in a plastic bag and placed unwashed in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator. You will be able to store them for about a week.
To freeze summer squash, simply blanche for several minutes before freezing. Never peel summer squash, as many of the nutrients are found in the skin.
Tips For Preparing:
Wash with cool running water, cut both ends then slice to best suit the food that you want to use it for. Remember to leave the peel on for its nutrients.
A Few Quick Serving Ideas:
Add them on party trays, the slices make excellent dipping chips for salsas and guacamole.
Place ham, turkey and cheese on zucchini for finger food snacks.
Add them as toppings for sandwiches and salads.
They add flavor when added into spaghetti sauces and casseroles.
Cut into long slices and bake them; excellent with parmesan or mozzarella cheese used as a topping.
For dessert, they make wonderful zucchini nut bread.
From the start of a meal as appetizers clear through dessert, this is a very versatile vegetable that is good for you whether you serve it raw, steamed, stewed, or baked.
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