Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ingredient of the Day: Zucchini

When I was young, I would wait longingly for summer. Sometimes, it seemed like it would take forever to arrive. But I knew it was worth the wait, because once summer shined its smiling face on my mom’s garden, I knew it was time to plant summer fruits and vegetables. I loved going with my mom to pick out the seeds at the nursery that would become our summer growing patch.

Not even realizing that zucchini is a summer fruit, I was drawn to the zucchini seeds – probably because of the beautiful yellow flowers adorning the outside of the package. It wasn’t until later, when I met my husband, that I learned you can actually stuff the blossoms and cook them up for an extra treat.

The zucchini itself is actually a fruit, thanks to the fact that it is actually the ovary of the female zucchini flower. One of my eight-year-old students reminded me of this incredible fact the other day. Zucchini is often treated as a vegetable, however, in a culinary context. Delicious and soft, the zucchini fruit tastes best small. As they age (and grow in size), they become more fibrous and therefore, less flavorful.