Widespread in temperate regions


Zucchini are frequently (mis)used to make a poor excuse of a ratatouille or the sort of unappetizing vegetable 'lasagne' only ever eaten by desperate vegetarians with no other menu choice. Zucchini (known as courgettes in the UK) are in fact beautifully tender vegetables with a fresh, delicate flavour. Try one of the fantastic recipes below and start the fight back against zucchini abuse.


Zucchini were not widely eaten in Europe before the twentieth century and some sources claim that it was developed from the squash, first brought to Europe from the Americas during Christopher Columbus' crusades. Squash have been cultivated in Central America for more than five thousand years and zucchini play a prominent role in Mexican cuisine today.


A member of the cucurbit family, zucchini are related to watermelons, gherkins and cucumbers. Zucchini are usually marrows harvested at a young age, although the mature fruit of certain varieties of squash may also be sold as zucchini.


Smaller, younger zucchini have more flavour. Look for firm, heavy-feeling zucchini with unblemished bright and glossy skins.

Up to a week in the fridge.

Wash well and trim both ends. The zucchini is a versatile ingredient and can be baked, fried, steamed or stewed according to recipe.


Zucchini flowers can often be found on the menus of French or Italian restaurants. Smaller flowers are given a tempura treatment (fried in a light batter); larger flowers are typically stuffed with tomatoes and herbs or goat's cheese.