Zucchini Squash

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A variety of summer squash with a dark green skin covering an off-white flesh. The cylindrical variety is much like a cucumber in size and shape. Typically harvested before they reach a foot in length, Zucchini Squash begin to lose their tenderness and flavor as they increase in size thus, it the smaller, younger zucchini that are more desirable. In addition to the long slender Zucchini, another variety that is popular is the small ball-shaped Zucchini Squash that are harvested when they reach the size of a baseball or smaller. This round variety, sometimes referred to as Eight Ball Zucchini, Round Zucchini or Globe Squash, is an enjoyable option for stuffing with ingredients when hollowed out and cooked with a meat or rice stuffing.

In Europe, the Zucchini Squash is commonly referred to as a Courgette by the French while in South America it is known as a Calabacita. However, many of the Mexican or South American Zucchini have a different appearance than the traditional European or American Zucchini. The shape may be more of pear shape or a short stocky cucumber shape. For some varieties, the outer skin is lighter green in color and it may have more of a molted or speckled pattern over the skin. The inner meat is also denser than other Zucchini and not as moist, providing a sweet or at times a somewhat spicier flavored squash. A variety commonly attributed to Mexican regions is the Tatume or Tatuma Squash also referred to as Mexican Zucchini, which has the shape of a small melon picked when it is only 3 to 4 inches in length.

Zucchini can be cooked by steaming, frying, sautéing, or baking and they are excellent when sliced and grilled. The meat of this vegetable is also a very versatile ingredient for a variety of other foods such as breads, cakes, bars, and other baked goods.

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