Zucchini: what it is, useful properties and contraindications
Zucchini is a vegetable of the Pumpkin family. The product came to us from Mexico in the 16th century. Initially, the culture was grown as an ornamental plant. Only in the XVII century, Italian chefs began to use the delicacy to make dishes. After that, the whole of Europe began to use zucchini as food. At first, only the seeds of the crop were used for culinary purposes, but some time later dishes were also prepared from the fruits and flowers of the plant.
- What are zucchini and what do they look like?
- What is the difference between a zucchini and a zucchini?
- Composition and calories
- Useful properties of zucchini
- General benefits
- For Women
- For Men
- In Pregnancy
- For breastfeeding
- For children
- Cosmetic use
- Harm and Contraindications
- How to choose and store
- Can I freeze?
- Can I Eat Zucchini Raw
- Should the skin be peeled?
- How to cook courgettes: Recipes
- In the oven
- In the frying pan
- On the grill
- How to marinate
- Interesting facts about zucchini
It is worth noting that the processes of preparing such zucchini are very simple and do not take much time. They can be fried, stewed, cooked in a steamer. They are also consumed raw, unprocessed as an ingredient for a fresh salad. The product has a large list of positive properties.
What are zucchini and what do they look like?
Zucchini is one of the varieties of zucchini. It has a cylindrical shape and a green skin, and the shades of the upper part of the product can be both light and dark. There are more than a dozen varieties of this crop grown in European regions. Some varieties are characterized by a rich yellow color and more round shapes.
This vegetable is a heat-loving plant that does not sprout much. This allows you to grow them directly on the balcony.
It should also be noted that the fruits of zucchini ripen very quickly. You can pick this kind of zucchini as early as 3-7 days from the moment of appearance of the ovary. You can eat them with the peel, but this applies only to young fruits. In large zucchinis, the skin is usually removed. The optimal size is considered to be 15 cm. They can be stored at room temperature for up to a year.
What is the difference between zucchini and zucchini?
Zucchini can be found on the shelves along with the familiar zucchinis. Both of these crops belong to the same family, but in different varieties. Nevertheless, there are certain differences between them. First of all, it is the color of the skin. Thus, zucchini has a lettuce colored skin, and zucchini can be a rich green or yellow.
The vegetables also vary in size. Zucchini is presented as a small fruit, which has a length of 13-15 cm, while zucchinis are characterized by long, large fruits.
There are differences in taste as well. Since zucchini is endowed with a small size, its flesh is more juicy and nutritious, which allows it to be used in cooking fresh salads. Zucchini is best braised with other vegetable products, especially if they are fully ripe.
Zucchini has a fairly soft and original taste of the skin, is high in ascorbic acid. If we are talking about zucchini, it is better to peel them from the skin, as it is not endowed with special taste qualities, and has no nutritional value.
Zucchini have a large number of seeds, which are usually removed. Zucchini, on the other hand, have very small seeds, which are barely perceptible when eaten.
Zucchini ripen much faster, but need warmth and plenty of sunlight. Zucchini, on the other hand, is more unpretentious. Temperature fluctuations are not afraid of him, and fruit-bearing continues throughout the year, if the appropriate conditions are observed.
Composition and calories
Italian zucchini is characterized by the presence of a large vitamin and mineral complex, which has a positive effect on the human body.
- So, the content of fiber in the delicacy is useful in that it restores digestion and acts as a prevention of constipation and other ailments related to the digestive system.
- Organic compounds in the fruit allow you to cleanse the body of toxic substances, toxins, as well as improve the overall condition of the person.
- Folic acid in the composition of the plant is indispensable during pregnancy and during breastfeeding. This substance protects the fetus, ensures its healthy formation and prevents the occurrence of anemia.
- Vitamin C reduces the risk of sugar disease and cancer, relieves symptoms of arthritis, and helps strengthen the immune system.
- Compounds such as lutein and zeaxanthin are found in zucchini. These components are strong phytonutrients that have a positive effect on the organs of vision, therefore, the crop can be used for the prevention of ophthalmic diseases.
- Such a vegetable has a rich mineral composition, necessary for strengthening the health of the body and its recovery. Thus, of the minerals found here are P, Se, Na, Ca, Mg, K, Fe, Mn, Zn.
- In addition, zucchini contains vitamins such as pantothenic and nicotinic acids, pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamine, retinol and tocopherol.
It should also be noted that almost 95 percent of the fruit is water. The caloric value of this delicacy is not more than 25 kcal per 100 g.
Useful properties of zucchini
A high concentration of various vitamin compounds and mineral components makes the vegetable very useful for those people who have pathologies of the cardiovascular system. This product contains pectin, manganese and ascorbic acid. These compounds help to normalize the peripheral circulation. The introduction of such a dish in the menu allows you to fight high blood pressure, and also provides a decrease in the index of bad cholesterol in the body.
Since zucchini is considered a source of potassium, phosphorus and a number of acids of organic origin, it provides removal of uric acid salts from the body. Their high levels are known to contribute to swelling in the joints. For this reason, eat such a product should be for prevention, as well as for the treatment of gouty arthritis and other diseases of the joints.
It should also be noted that zucchini contains easily digestible carbohydrates that do not have an irritating effect on the mucous membrane of the stomach, restore intestinal peristalsis and have a beneficial effect on digestion in general. Moreover, this fruit is known to have anti-allergic effects. This allows the product to be used in children's, as well as in dietary diets.
Another valuable quality of the Italian zucchini is considered to be that it is able to quickly saturate the human body. It should also be added that the culture is characterized by low calories. From this it follows that it is ideal for people who suffer from obesity or just watch their weight to always keep in shape.
The fruits of this plant are endowed with bioactive elements such as phytonutrients. These compounds produce cells for a healthy retina, resulting in good vision. In addition, the concentration of carotene in them is much higher compared to carrots. Therefore, one cannot overestimate the benefits of using such a useful product to maintain vision and prevent age-related eye modifications.
The presence of manganese in this vegetable ensures the absorption of proteins and carbohydrates. In addition, this mineral is necessary for rapid healing of wounds, tissue regeneration and bone strengthening. Thus, dishes based on this plant will be useful for people who are on post-traumatic treatment.
The composition of the fruit of this plant contains special enzymes that are necessary for people with liver diseases. Also, food based on such a component should be consumed by those who need to cleanse the body, because they provide excretion of toxins and toxic substances.
It is also known that zucchini contains many antioxidants that can neutralize free radicals. In addition, this vegetable is characterized by a strong anti-inflammatory property. These qualities make zucchini valuable in the prevention of cancer.
In addition to the above properties, you can add diuretic and choleretic. Such dignity can be useful in the therapy of urolithiasis.
During the period of increasing the probability of contracting various viral and infectious diseases, it is useful to consume Italian zucchini. Such a vegetable due to its rich composition helps to protect against such ailments.
For the representative of the weaker half of humanity, the Italian vegetable is useful because it is able to normalize the emotional background during the menopausal period. In addition, this product provides an increase in hemoglobin in the blood.
Zucchini is also valued by the fact that it is a diet product that can reduce weight. On its basis can be prepared a variety of dishes that are not harmful to the figure.
This delicacy is also useful for the reproductive system of girls. This is due to the fact that it concentrates substances that restore the activity of the ovaries, which, in turn, prevents the failure of cycles and reduces pain during menstruation. The plant component eliminates pelvic inflammatory diseases.
The medicinal properties of zucchini are also manifested in cases where a woman suffers from varicose veins. Such a vegetable in this case is able to increase the elasticity and strength of vessels and capillaries.
It is also known for the wide use of the delicacy in the field of cosmetology. It allows you to return health and strength to the hair. You can also use it to create face masks with a rejuvenating effect.
Scientific tests in the field of cancer have confirmed that various valuable components in the composition of the Italian crop can reduce the symptoms of prostate adenoma.
Because the main gland of the male body is located near the bladder, when it is enlarged, men experience unpleasant symptoms during urination as well as during coitus. If you consume zucchini at the same time as grains and beans, it will have a beneficial effect on the function of the prostate.
High levels of folic acid have positive effects on the reproductive system. During the expectation of the baby, this vitamin significantly reduces the likelihood of the development of NS problems in the child. For this reason, experts advise introducing zucchini to the diet of pregnant women, as well as girls who are planning to become pregnant.
During breastfeeding, the vegetable is also a useful product due to its anti-allergic properties.
In some cases zucchini can provoke colic in a baby, so include in the menu of young mothers such a delicacy should not be earlier than 3 months from the birth of the baby. If it is a thermally treated zucchini, in small quantities it can be eaten immediately after birth.
In the pediatric field, this delicacy can be used to eliminate colic, bloating, as well as stabilize stools. The rich chemical composition of the vegetable ensures the normal formation of the skeleton, improves sleep and raises the mood. Eating such a zucchini increases resistance to viral diseases. Practice shows that children who regularly eat zucchini get sick much less often.
From six months of age, the child can be offered this product fresh, grated or heat-treated. Dishes based on this crop will be beneficial for both the immune system and the gastrointestinal tract of the baby.
For weight loss
In zucchini is found sodium, which helps to establish water balance in the human body. This ensures the removal of excess fluid.
It is also noted a beneficial effect of the product on the digestive tract. It should be noted that zucchini is among the ten most effective dishes that are used for weight loss.
Due to its low calorie content and high water content, as well as the absence of fat, the Italian fruit will protect against overeating at the same time that it will bring great benefits to the body. Especially useful in this case, cooking zucchini on steam.
To cope with excess weight, it is necessary to eat such a zucchini every day. In this case, it can be included in salads, used to obtain mashed potatoes, vegetable stew, etc.
Use in cosmetology
The benefits of such a plant component are not limited to its use as a food.
On the basis of the flowers of this crop are made remedies for allergic reactions. The seeds can also be used for cosmetics, designed to regulate the sebaceous glands. It is also known many options for creating masks for the face and curls. The high concentration of retinol, tocopherol and antioxidants allows getting masks that are effective in fighting wrinkles and gray strands.
This plant raw material has a moisturizing property, so it can be used to prepare face masks, as well as for hair. The pulp of the vegetable is able to improve the skin color, have a rejuvenating effect, normalize microcirculation, and protect the dermis from the effects of ultraviolet rays.
You can use the simplest and most popular recipe for making a mask. To do this, just grate a zucchini and squeeze the juice slightly. The resulting mush is applied to cleaned skin. After that, cover the mask with a gauze cloth, wait for half an hour and wash with cool water.
Juice from zucchini can be used to eliminate bags and puffiness under the eyes. In this case, a freshly squeezed composition is used to wipe the skin around the eyes.
If gray hair has appeared, it is recommended to apply a mask for hair from the juice of the Italian zucchini. Such a composition should be rubbed into the scalp, then rinse with warm water. This procedure allows you to strengthen the hair follicles, give them a healthy appearance.
Harm and contraindications
Even such a useful product as zucchini can harm the body if it is not used correctly. Along with many positive properties, there are also some negative aspects.
First of all, it should be noted that zucchini may contain oxalates that can develop urolithiasis. In moderate consumption of such a product by healthy people there is no risk, but if there is a tendency to such pathologies, it is important to exercise caution.
Zucchini should not be consumed also by people suffering from kidney failure and gallbladder disorders. This is due to the fact that the consumption of zucchini on these organs is a heavy load.
In raw form zucchini can not be eaten with ulcers and gastritis, because it has an irritating effect on the mucosa of the organ.
Zucchini, which was grown with the use of various chemicals, can also be dangerous. You can reduce their content by soaking the sliced vegetable for several hours. At the same time, the water should be salted. After two hours, the slices of vegetable should be rinsed and slightly dried.
How to choose and store
For the consumption of zucchini to benefit human health, it is necessary to know what to pay attention to when choosing such a product.
To begin with, you should know that it is necessary to buy such fruits in the period from late spring to late July. Because it is during this period that the culture bears fruit, and the vegetables themselves are saturated with a lot of vitamins and minerals. It is not recommended to buy the plant earlier or later than the specified period, because after ripening zucchini begins to lose valuable components already after 10 hours. For the same reason this kind of vegetable should not be stored for a long time.
It is also necessary to consider the size of zucchini. The length should be average, i.e. 13-15 cm. Too large values indicate that the fruits are overripe, and it is not recommended to use them in food, moreover, they contain a lot of seeds.
The skin should be smooth and undamaged.
Zucchini can be stored at temperatures between 0 and 5 degrees. The product stays fresh in the refrigerator for two weeks.
Can it be frozen?
If you want to extend the shelf life of zucchini, you can send it to the freezer. Before doing this, you just need to slice the vegetable and pack it in a plastic bag. In the freezer, the plant can be stored for three months.
Can I eat zucchini raw?
When roasted, the vegetable has a pleasant taste, but because of the high heat treatment, some of the useful substances are lost, in addition, a lot of fat is absorbed.
If you eat young zucchini raw, nothing bad will happen. Moreover, the body will be saturated with valuable components, which the plant is enriched with. Unprocessed zucchini has a low glycemic index, which allows you to use it even with diabetes.
There are many recipes for preparing dishes that use raw zucchini. Tender and tasty flesh of the fruit allows you to eat it raw without prior heat. In a dish, such an ingredient will be crispy. Such zucchini absorbs salt well, releasing a large amount of juice. For this reason, it is recommended to first salt the zucchini in a separate dish, drain the liberated liquid and only then include in the salad.
Do they need to be peeled?
When making dishes based on zucchini, peeling is not necessary at all. The vegetable has a fairly thin and soft skin, which does not change the taste of the salad.
It is not recommended to remove the skin and for another reason. A number of studies have shown that this part of the crop has a high concentration of ascorbic acid, which provides increased defensive functions of the body. If the vegetable has been treated with various chemicals, it is necessary to remove the skin
How to cook delicious zucchini: recipes
Young zucchini are better digested by the body and have a pleasant taste. This product can be consumed both raw and processed, i.e. fried, baked in the oven, steamed, pickled, etc.
Fresh vegetable can be used to make salads, side dishes to meat and fish dishes. Moreover, such a product acts as the basis in the preparation of desserts, such as pancakes, pancakes, pies and muffins. Also from this vegetable are prepared for the winter, namely canning with the addition of garlic, tomatoes, carrots and herbs.
In the oven
To cook zucchini in the oven you will need 0.5 kg of vegetable, 200 g of Parmesan, 2 onions, 5 tomatoes, 2 bell peppers, 2 carrots, salt, a bunch of herbs, black pepper and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
First you need to wash the zucchini and tomatoes, cut them into rings 5 mm thick. Chop the bell peppers in slices. Dice the onion and carrot and fry in oil until golden.
After that, oil a baking tray and lay zucchini in it, salt and pepper. Then put the tomatoes (with salt and pepper) and fried onions and carrots. Then put sweet bell pepper. Sprinkle the mass with olive oil. Preparations send to the oven, preheated to 220 degrees, for 20 minutes. In the meantime, grate the cheese and sprinkle it on the dish after 10 minutes, then send the tray back into the oven. Before serving, decorate the dish with herbs.
In a pan
You will need 500 g of Italian zucchini, 6 tbsp of flour, a pinch of salt and black pepper, spices to taste and vegetable oil for frying.
If the fruit is young, cut it into circles about 1 cm thick. If it is a large vegetable, make an extra longitudinal cut. Pour flour into a small bowl, and pour a little oil into a frying pan and heat it up.
After that, salt and pepper the zucchini slices, sprinkle them with spices and roll them in flour. Now place them in a frying pan. Fry the zucchini over medium heat until brown. Using a spatula, place the roasted vegetables on a plate, you can serve them with sour cream and herbs.
On the grill
In this case, you should wash and cut the zucchini into 5-6 mm thick circles. After that, thoroughly mix the olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, crushed garlic, salt and ground black pepper in a small bowl. Add the zucchini to this mixture and mix well so that they are all coated with the dressing. After that, cover the bowl with foil and leave it to marinate for a couple of hours. After that time, heat a grill pan. Using tongs, place zucchini on it. Roast them for a few minutes on each side. Sprinkle the finished zucchini with salt and black pepper. Serve with chopped parsley. You can sprinkle the dish with lemon juice.
For making fritters you need 2 medium-sized zucchini, a couple of chicken eggs, 80 gr of flour, some garlic cloves, herbs to taste, salt and black pepper. You will also need olive oil for frying.
The cooking process begins with grating the zucchini. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with a pinch of salt. Also add flour and mix the mass until a homogeneous consistency is obtained. Then add crushed garlic, herbs and spices. After that, put the zucchini in the mixture, slightly squeezing out the excess juice. If such a preparation turns out to be very liquid, you need to add a little more flour.
Now fry the fritters in a heated pan until they are ready. Serve best with sour cream.
To prepare the soup, you need to prepare the following ingredients: 1 l of meat broth or water, 2 small zucchini, 2 potatoes, 1 onion, a few cloves of garlic, vegetable oil, fresh parsley, salt and pepper to taste.
First you need to prepare the vegetable broth. To do this, first wash the carrots, peel them and divide them into two parts. After that, the same should be done with the onion. Next, wash the greens and separate the stem and leaves. In this case, use the stem to boil the broth, and include the leaves in the finished dish. Then, pour water into a pot, put the vegetables in it and bring to a boil. Continue boiling for 20 minutes. A few minutes before cooking, salt the mass.
Strain the broth using a colander. The rest of the vegetables should be thrown away, since their taste and useful substances have already given up the liquid in which they were boiled.
Now you can do zucchini. They need to be washed and cut into rings. Separate 1/4 of the resulting mass and set aside, this part will be used for frying before serving. Next, peel and chop the onion, mince the garlic and dice the potatoes.
After that, heat vegetable oil in a saucepan. Here add the onion and garlic and fry for a few minutes. The rest of the zucchini also send to the saucepan. Stir the mixture and fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, add potatoes, and then continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Now, pour 1 liter of hot broth into the pot and cook the dish on low heat for another quarter of an hour. Then grind the vegetables with a blender to form a puree.
Season the zucchini and fry both sides in butter until soft. Pour the soup onto plates and put a few slices of roasted zucchini in each plate. Decorate the dish with greens.
How to marinate
To prepare pickled zucchini you will need 0.5 kg of this vegetable, 5 g of sugar and the same amount of salt, 10 ml of table vinegar, 50 ml of refined vegetable oil, a couple of garlic cloves, a bunch of fresh dill, black pepper to taste.
First you need to wash the zucchini. If you will not remove the skin, you need to do it particularly carefully. After that, the vegetables should be dried with a paper towel. Now chop the fruit using a special chopper or vegetable peeler.
Next, salt the zucchini and leave it for a while. After 15-20 minutes squeeze the juice from the product and transfer it to a container for marinade. Add chopped garlic and dill herbs. In a separate bowl mix sugar with pepper, vinegar and oil until a homogeneous mixture. Use the resulting marinade to process the zucchini. After mixing, place in the refrigerator. Serve the pickled vegetables after 30 minutes. Such a dish can be combined with potatoes. It tastes similar to pickled cucumbers, but in this case, the preparation turns out more delicate with a sweetish flavor.
Interesting facts about zucchini
- The zucchini derives its name from the Italian word "zucchini", which comes from the word "zucca", which stood for pumpkin. So it turns out that a zucchini is a little pumpkin. In fact, a zucchini is usually much smaller than a pumpkin, but once it was possible to grow a fruit that weighed more than six tens of kilograms.
- It is noteworthy that the Russian word "kabachok" was also borrowed from the Ukrainian "kabak", which translates as pumpkin.
- Italian zucchini is used to call a vegetable, but it should be noted that they are born from a flower, and this indicates that it is a fruit.
- The flowers of this plant require special attention. They, like the flowers of all varieties of zucchini and pumpkin, are edible and a real delicacy. There are many recipes for preparing various dishes based on them.
- It should also be noted that one zucchini contains much more potassium than a banana. This substance is very useful for the body. It is known that this mineral compound is able to partially neutralize the effect of salt on the human body. From this it follows that potassium allows preventing the development of hypertension.
- In Azerbaijan, decoction based on the inflorescences of representatives of the Pumpkin is used to treat purulent wounds.
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