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Sat, Jan. 18

Take advantage of the zucchini population

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There’s no escaping it.

You had a bumper crop and so did your neighbor, your friends and even your co-workers. And now it’s showing up on your doorstep in the dead of night. You step outside and cringe; there it is, the grocery bag brimming with it.

You look around and ask yourself, who did this to you, just when you had moved on to other produce. You already have a freezer full of zucchini bread, you grilled it and sautéed it; you were so proud. You found a way to use up all of that zucchini and now this. But don’t fret, zucchini is so versatile there are countless ways to use it besides in bread.

Thank the Italians for zucchini; they brought it to this country in the early 1900s. Zucchini comes from the Italian word zucca meaning squash, and don’t limit yourself to just eating the fruit (and technically it is a fruit). The flower is edible as well and when fried or stuffed with ricotta cheese and some herbs, it is delicious.

Zucchini has more potassium than a banana along with vitamin C, manganese and beta carotene, plus a good dose of fiber. The flavor of zucchini on its own may be a bit bland, but that’s what makes it so useful in the kitchen. You can stuff zucchini, pickle it, add it to risotto or make a frittata with it. It can even be a substitute for eggplant in baba ghanoush.

So keep calm and eat zucchini.

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