Zucchini

Zucchini ~ Super Vegetables

This type of squash or courgettes (as they're known in New Zealand) are the most popular among summer squashes in North America and Europe.

Almost all the members of the squash family vegetables feature smooth, tender skin and flesh with small edible seeds and high moisture content.

They're loaded with health benefits.

Eat this super vegetable and lower inflammation in your body, lose weight and get some vitamin-C.

Some popular varieties are:

The golden or yellow variety features brilliant golden yellow skin that retains its color even after cooking.

Round varieties are dense, heavy, and nearly seedless with a smooth surface.

Tatume, which are common in Mexico, have similar features of round variety but have large oval shape.

Costata romanesco also known as cocozelle is long, narrow variety with slight bulge at the bottom end.

It features pale raised ribs in mottled green skin.

When solid and young, this squash is juicy and sweet.

Middle-Eastern types are stocky, pale green, tapering ends with a thick dark green stem.

They have smooth shiny skin and solid, crispy and flavorful flesh.

Yellow crooknecks have thick warty skin with markedly curved neck.

They're crunchy in texture with a sweet and delicate flavor.

Health Benefits:

The lutein in this squash promotes eye health.

Zucchini is one of the very low-calorie vegetables that is used during weight reduction and cholesterol control programs.

They also provide, only 17 calories per 100 g. and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol.

It's peel is good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation and offers some protection against colon cancers.

It's also an anti-inflammatory and helps people who suffer with arthritis.

This squash is good for people who suffer with asthma.

It's relatively moderate source of folates, consists of 24 mcg or 6% of RDA per 100 g.

Folates are important in cell division and DNA synthesis.

When taken adequately before pregnancy, it can help prevent neural tube defects in the fetus.

It's a very good source of potassium, an important intra-cellular electrolyte.

Potassium is a heart friendly electrolyte which helps reduce blood pressure and heart rates by countering the effects of sodium.

Fresh, they're rich in vitamin-A and provide about 200 IU per 100 g.

The pulp and the seeds of this squash can inhibit development of carcinogens and viruses in the intestinal tract.

Furthermore, zucchinis, especially golden skin variety are rich in flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin.

These compounds help scavenge harmful oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) from the body that play a role in aging and various disease process.

Fresh pods, indeed, are good source of anti-oxidant vitamin-C and provide about 17.9 mcg or 30% of RDA per 100g.

In addition, they're good in B-complex vitamins like thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and minerals like iron, manganese, phosphorus, zinc and potassium.

Now here's a recipe we thoroughly enjoy and we think you will as well!

Zesty Stuffed Zucchini

This super veggie stuffed, is a delicious alternative to stuffed peppers.

If you grow these super veggies in your garden, chances are you have an abundance of them.

This recipe is a great way to utilize that abundance.

They're first cut in half, then partially scooped out and stuffed with a zesty meat and vegetable mixture.

The baking times may very from 45 minutes to over an hour, depending on how tender you want them to be.

This recipe calls for soft bread crumbs, meaning actual bread, torn into small pieces.

A great way that works well for us, is to put bread slices in a blender.

The prep work for this recipe is well worth the time and effort.

We like to serve ours with a nice sour-dough slathered with home-made garlic butter.

(Makes 6 Servings)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef

1 large onion (chopped)

1 green pepper (chopped)

1 jalapeño pepper (seeded and chopped)

1 1/4 c. soft bread crumbs

1 egg (beaten)

1 Tbs. dried parsley flakes

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. fresh cracked pepper

2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce (divided)

2 medium tomatoes (chopped)

4-5 medium squash

2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preparation:

1. In a medium skillet brown ground beef.

Drain and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl mix cooled ground beef, onion, green pepper, jalapeno pepper, soft bread crumbs, egg, parsley, basil, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

Mix in one can of tomato sauce.

Stir in tomatoes.

2. Cut each squash in half length wise.

Scoop out the center of each zucchini half to about ¼ inch from the edges.

Fill each half with the meat mixture and place in two 13×9” baking dishes.

Spoon the other can of tomato sauce over the top of each zucchini half.

3. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until zucchini have reached your desired tenderness.

During the last few minutes of baking top each zucchini half with mozzarella cheese.

We hope you enjoy!

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