By Heidi Lewis
As the spring blossoms open, their petals have fallen to the ground in flurries of a fragrant snow. The petals, or corolla, give way as the fruit emerges. Flowers become the fruits and vegetables of the new harvest. From the downy saffron flowers of the species Curcubita pepo, which includes varieties of squash, gourd, and pumpkin, the first young zucchinis have been delivered to this week’s TakeHome cases.
The growers have coaxed summer squash out of spring’s blossoms with an enticement of rich fertile soil and a sufficiency of water. The FruitGuys are delighted that the warm, wonderful veggie season has begun, and the first bites of these delicious zucchini are sure to direct your thoughts to the summer ahead.
Zucchini are a summer squash variety, soft-skinned with small seeds—but like their compatriots, crookneck and pattypan, they’re really immature winter squash. Relatives of the cucumber and melon, zucchini are full of manganese and vitamins A and C, and have been found to support prostate health in men.
The warmer months and the availability of wonderful farm-fresh fare in our TakeHome cases is a great time to eat more along the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet daily guidelines: mostly plant-based foods, including zucchini and olive oil, moderate consumption of meat or fish, and a few games of bocce ball or a walk.
Preparation: Wash and trim the ends, and slice or dice as desired. Zucchinis are much lauded for their versatility—they can be enjoyed raw, chopped into salads, or cut into spears for the ever-popular crudités. To prepare grated zukes for latkes or pancakes, grate and toss with salt, set aside for 30 minutes, rinse, and press out liquid.
Storage: Summer squash are somewhat delicate and should be used immediately or stored in the fridge and prepared within 3–5 days