Zucchini is a delicious vegetable that can be found at farmer’s markets across British Columbia right now. It can also be bought at some local farms around the lower mainland. Zucchini works as a side dish as well as in desserts. There are some restaurants in Vancouver that seasonally serve up special zucchini flower dishes. These blossoms are tough to find but worthwhile to seek out.
Zucchini is ready to be harvested in August, September, and October. Usually, for culinary purposes, a zucchini is harvested when it is less than twenty centimeters in length. Given their ability to grow in temperate climates, zucchini can become overwhelmingly large in home gardens around British Columbia. An over-sized zucchini can often become fibrous and more bitter than a smaller zucchini.
You can buy zucchini at nearly any farmer’s market in British Columbia through September. If you are in the lower mainland, you can also buy fresh zucchini from a variety of local independent farmers. Bloomers in Maple Ridge, Cropthorne Farm in Delta, Croft Produce in Mission, Dave’s Orchard in Langley, and Forstbauer Family Natural Food Farm in Chilliwack are all selling fresh zucchini.
When cooking zucchini on its own, little more is required than oil, butter, and some salt and pepper. Zucchini is also a main component in ratatouille – a stewed vegetable dish of French origin. With its sweet flavour, zucchini also works well in desserts. Chocolate zucchini cake is a big hit with kids, and they are unlikely to even notice the vegetable within the dessert.
Zucchini is also very healthy for you. They are very low in calories, containing only seventeen calories per one hundred grams. They also contain folate, potassium, and provitamin A. Folate helps the body create DNA and red blood cells. Potassium can help reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke. Provitamin A helps you maintain good vision and a strong immune system.
If you are at the market and see a zucchini with a flower still attached, buy that zucchini. The flower is the sign of a truly fresh and immature zucchini that is distinguished by its sweet flavour. The flower itself can be eaten and is considered a delicacy. The flowers are seasonal and only appear on a young zucchini, and as such they will not be commonly found on many restaurant menus. However, there are restaurants around Vancouver that have had stuffed zucchini flowers as a special and you may be lucky enough to try one if you go on the right night. Restaurants like Cioppino’s on Hamilton Street, Ask for Luigi on Alexander Street, and Cibo Trattoria on Seymour Street all have been known to serve stuffed zucchini flower appetizers when in season.