08 Jun 2023
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Origin Story: Squash varieties may be one of the most ancient cultivated crops, even predating maze and beans. Archaeological findings in present-day Mexico suggest their cultivation by early inhabitants 10,000 to 8,000 years ago. They were a staple in Native Americans’ diets, before European colonisation. Later, in the 19th century, courgettes were brought to Italy, where they evolved into the form we enjoy today. In a very short time, they became the most widely distributed summer squash.
Traditional Folk Medicine: Summer squash has been used in traditional folk medicine to treat colds and alleviate aches.
A Berry Used as a Vegetable! Although used like vegetables, courgettes are actually the young fruits of a variety of summer squash in the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae). Botanically speaking, they are classified as berries, housing rows of many seeds.
Zucchini or Courgette? In the US, it’s zucchini, from the Italian “little marrow.” Meanwhile, in the UK, it’s courgette, rooted in the French word for gourd or marrow. Same plant, different names!
Summer Stars: Compared to winter squash, summer varieties like courgettes are harvested young when the skin is tender and edible. In the UK, they’re available from July to October.
One of your fruit and veg portion ✅
Studies consistently show that regular consumption of fruits and vegetables, especially non-starchy ones, promotes good health and helps prevent chronic diseases, especially cardiovascular disease and various types of cancers. (Wallace et al. 2019)
In the mosaic of foods we eat, courgettes contribute…
🔎 Some lab studies have demonstrated antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties of vegetables of the Cucurbitaceae family. However, there is limited research on courgettes, so it’s hard to evaluate their specific effects on health. (Kopczyńska et al. 2020)
Courgette Around the World
Buying: Their high water content makes them perishable. Keep it local and seasonal if you can to avoid air freight. Find your nearest Community Supported Agriculture farm.
If you’re not a fan (yet):
Different ways to eat them for all taste buds
Recipe inspiration for the week: