From the Garden…

Zucchini: Gorge yourself of this Good-for-You Gourd

If you have a friend or neighbor with a garden, chances are they are often pushing zucchini in the spring and summer.   In the right conditions, zucchini plants are prolific producers, making cooks come up with ever-new and different recipes for using this delicious gourd.

Like most members of the squash family, zucchini has smooth skin, tender, crunchy flesh, small edible seeds, and high moisture content, so you can substitute zucchini in recipes that call for other fruits and vegetables that are similar. Of course you can use it in place of other squash in casseroles, but you can also use it as a substitute for things like pasta, cucumbers (if you like it raw), or even as a substitute for apples in this mock apple pie:

Ingredients:

Servings -10 Yield-1 pie

  • 6 -8 cups zucchini (peel, cut lengthwise, remove seeds, slice 1/4-inch thick)
  • 3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground cardamom
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 ready pie crusts, Pillsbury
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar, for topping the crust

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cook zucchini slices in boiling water until barely tender, about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from stove and drain very well and cool. Remove as much moisture as you can with paper towels.
  4. In a bowl, toss zucchini with sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cream of tartar, cornstarch or flour, and salt until well coated.
  5. Place lightly floured pastry in a 9-inch, pan.
  6. Fill with zucchini mixture.
  7. Dot with butter, drizzle with vinegar.
  8. Top with crust.
  9. Brush top crust lightly with water and sprinkle crust with sugar.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes at 425.
  11. Reduce heat to 350 and bake about 45 minutes.
  12. Serve hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  13. Or serve chilled.

Not only will you have a new way to use zucchini, but you can enjoy these health benefits of zucchini:)

  • Zucchini is one of the very low calorie vegetables; with only 17 calories per 100 g. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Its peel is good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation and offers some protection against colon cancers.
  • Zucchinis have anti-oxidant value.
  • Zucchinis are rich in flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as carotenes, lutein and zea-xanthin. These compounds help scavenge harmful oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) from the body that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
  • It is a very good source of potassium, an important intra-cellular electrolyte. Potassium is a heart-friendly electrolyte and helps reduce blood pressure and heart rates by countering pressure-effects of sodium.

Find more zucchini recipes at: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/recipe_slideshows/healthy_recipes_with_zucchini?slide=1

zucchini image

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