Courgette is the British, and particularly the New Zealand name for zucchinis. People in the UK may refer to courgettes as vegetable marrows. Zucchinis come in many shapes, and a few different colors. People are likely most familiar with courgettes that are long green oblongs, resembling a cucumber. Actually you can find round shapes, and yellow zucchini in many stores. Zucchini is perhaps the best known and most popular of the summer squashes.

Though vegetable marrows technically belong in the fruit family, they are almost invariably considered vegetables. They may be steamed, fried, grated into pasta sauce, or blanched and served as part of a vegetable plate. They’re also sliced into stews and soups, and have a mild taste. On a few occasions, courgettes are treated as a dessert and used in the delicious, sweet and spicy zucchini bread.

Zucchini grows on vines, and the beautiful blossoms they grow from are edible and favored by many. Squash blossoms from summer squash may be steamed, or served stuffed and fried with courgettes. Many people prefer to buy courgettes when they are still quite small and are attached to the blossom. Younger zucchinis do tend to be sweeter, and when they are still attached to their flowers they are often freshest. If you can’t find them in your local grocery store, the best source for fresh small zucchinis and their blossoms are at local farmers markets, where they are usually available in late May through the summer in the US.

If you have a sunny spot in your garden you can try your hand at growing zucchini, usually one of the easiest vegetables to grow and fairly pest resistant. You do need to plant two plants since the squash depends upon cross-pollination by honeybees in order to fruit. A single plant can grow an impressive amount of zucchinis, which means you can not only feed your family, but keep some of your neighbors supplied with courgettes too. Generally, you should plan to pick them within a day or two of use, which often means you’ll end up with a few very large zucchinis toward the end of the season.

Larger courgettes are often fantastic served in other foods, where a slightly stronger flavor is disguised. They are terrific in pasta sauce or in zucchini breads or muffins. Additionally you can make zucchini pancakes that are savory, or use zucchini in lasagna. Since zucchini, even when it is large, doesn’t have tremendous flavor, it’s easy to grate it into a number of foods where those who abstain from vegetables, such as some children, won’t notice it. A hamburger patty or meatloaf can have a bit of grated courgette with a child who hates green things usually none the wiser.

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