The Courgette – Yellow or Green, A Versatile Vegetable

Courgettes are part of the pumpkin family, although they bear little visual similarity with the classic pumpkin. There are many different types of courgette: green, yellow, single-colour, striped, long or round. All courgettes share the same mild flavour and the smaller it is, the milder the taste. The subtle taste means that the courgette can be used in a variety of ways, which you should not hesitate to do due to the low calorie content.

 

Food Facts Food Facts

Courgette

Class

Cucurbita

Calories

20 kcal per 100g

Nutrients

2g carbohydrate, 1g fibre, 0.2g fat, 1.8g protein per 100g

Season

May to October

Storage

do not store below 7°C, tomatoes or apples close by will cause it to ripen faster

Shelf life

up to three weeks in the fridge

The Courgette – From South America via Italy to Switzerland

The name zucchini is derived from the Italian word “zucca”, which means “small pumpkin”. The Swiss term “Zucchetti”, which is commonly used, is actually plural, but is now also used for a single courgette, much like the German word “Zucchini”.

Courgettes have been grown and cultivated in Italy since the 17th century, but they are originally from Central and South America. The history of the courgette is surprisingly short in Switzerland – only since the 1970’s has it been a regular on our plates, when Italian migrant workers brought them over.

The Courgette – A Warm Climate Lover

The courgette grows during the summer months even in Central European climates. Theoretically courgettes can grow year-round, but they cannot handle cold climates. During the winter months they are predominantly imported from Spain and Italy.

Courgettes are usually harvested when they are roughly 15 to 30 centimetres and weigh 100 to 300 grams. Although they are not yet ripe at this point, this is when their flavour is the mildest. If left to grow, courgettes can be very big and weigh several kilos. If the courgette is fully matured, a woody structure develops under the peel, which allows the courgette to be stored for several months. The structure must be removed before consumption.

The Courgette – Preparation

There are many ways to prepare courgettes. For example, it is a great ingredient in stews or with stir-fried vegetables from the Mediterranean region, like chilli, aubergine and tomato. Courgettes can also be eaten raw and with peel and should only be salted once cooked, as that way they stay crunchy. When fried, courgettes have a tendency to absorb a lot of oil, so try to use it sparingly, or grill the courgette.

Creative ways of using the courgette are to grate it into cake or as a replacement for spaghetti – also known as zoodles (a combination of zucchini and noodles). The easiest and most consistent way to make zoodles is using a spiralizer, but a potato peeler does the trick too. Zucchini flowers can also be used – stuffed with a cream cheese mixture and roasted in the oven, for example.

Should the courgette have a bitter taste, its best to throw it away. Through accidental cross-breeding with decorative pumpkins courgettes can contain a lot of the bitter compound called cucurbitacine, which can damage the stomach lining and intestinal mucous membrane.

The Courgette – Water and Vitamins

Courgettes score with their low calorie content. As they consist mainly of water they are great in summer dishes. They are also low in carbohydrates, fat and protein, but make up for it with plenty of vitamins and minerals – particularly when eaten raw. Aside from vitamin A, B6, C and E, courgettes also supply you with potassium, magnesium and phosphorus. In addition, they are very easy to digest.

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Courgette Recipes

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