ZUCCHIN – THE KING OF AUTUMN
Gardeners usually call pumpkin the queen of autumn. But why not choose a king for her? It can rightfully become a close relative of the pumpkin - zucchini.
ZUCCHIN UNIQUE VEGETABLE
What is so attractive about this seemingly inconspicuous vegetable with a dull color and weak taste? It turns out that the beneficial properties of zucchini make it a natural medicine, and its neutral taste allows this vegetable to be used in combination with most foods.
Zucchini is one of the first to please us with vitamins: the harvest can be harvested 3-5 days after the ovary appears. In addition, its young fruits consist of 70% active water, which cleanses the body and improves blood flow.
Zucchini pulp contains a lot of easily digestible carbohydrates, mineral salts, and a lot of vitamins (C, B1, B2, PP). There are also thiamine and folic acid. The pulp has an almost ideal proportion of sodium and potassium. If you count kilocalories, then there are only 100 in 27 g of fresh zucchini.
This vegetable is hypoallergenic, so it is one of the first to be used in complementary feeding for babies. But zucchini is especially useful for older people. Its pulp has a diuretic effect, so the vegetable is recommended for edema, kidney disease, gout, as it removes uric acid. It has a positive effect on the functioning of the heart and blood vessels, reduces cholesterol levels, promotes the outflow of bile, and has a positive effect on the liver.
Like pumpkin, zucchini is a versatile vegetable. Moreover, unlike pumpkin, it can be eaten at any ripeness. You can prepare a variety of dishes from zucchini, they can be canned, but it’s even healthier to eat them raw – as part of salads and vegetable smoothies.
The best preparation from overgrown squash is caviar. In winter, it is an excellent appetizer and addition to the holiday table, and during Lent, caviar can be used as a spread on bread or as a filling for Lenten lavash or pita bread.
REMOVING ZUCCHURES FOR STORAGE
If you plan to store zucchini, you should take care of this when choosing seeds. Only varieties that develop a thick skin at the time of ripening will be stored well. Zucchini, which has a thin skin, is not suitable for winter storage, unless it is suitable for freezing.
You can determine if the zucchini is ready for harvesting by gently tapping it. If the sound is dull, the fruit can be cut off. You cannot tear it off or break it off, otherwise the stalk will begin to separate, and the zucchini will not last long. Be sure to leave a tail at least 5 cm long. In the future, it will be used to judge the safety of the fetus. As soon as it begins to rot or get wet, the zucchini is sent for food.
To prevent zucchini from rotting during storage, they must first be dried thoroughly.
The weakest point of a zucchini is the white spot on the side on which the fruit lay in the garden; the process of rotting always begins with it. To prevent this from happening, it is better to lay the zucchini in the sun with the white spot facing up and allow the skin to harden. After this, the vegetables can be stored.
The main feature of successful storage of zucchini indoors is darkness, so it is better to put them under the bed or put them in a cabinet. When stored in the light, the seeds in zucchini begin to germinate right inside the fruit. At the same time, the taste quality deteriorates greatly, the fruits begin to taste bitter.
It is believed that zucchini is best stored at a temperature of 46°C and a humidity of no more than 75% (or close to these parameters) in a well-ventilated area. This could be a basement or cellar. The shelves are lined with a layer of dry hay, straw or sawdust, you can also lay cardboard, and zucchini is laid out on them in one layer (they should not touch each other!) with the stalks facing out. Based on them, as already noted above, the condition of the fruit is determined.
You can try storing zucchini in the pantry. They are laid out on shelves or hung in nets, each individually. The nets can be taken from under the onions, even with the remains of the onion peel, in this case it will play the role of an antiseptic.
In a box on the balcony, zucchini can be stored in dry sawdust or river sand, but for this you do not need to put them down, but place them vertically, placing them so that the stalks point up. It is advisable to place straw or sawdust in a layer of a couple of centimeters at the very bottom of the box.
If it is very cold on the balcony, then... In addition to a blanket or thick blanket that can be used to cover the top of the zucchini, you can wrap it in kraft paper before placing it in the box. regular newspaper or cloth. The material on which the zucchini lies or comes into contact must be organic.
SPAGHETTI MUST RIPEN
Zucchini from the spaghetti group can be consumed like all others, by picking their young ovaries. However, the main feature of this zucchini is that its taste is revealed when it is fully ripe. You can make healthy vegetable noodles from the ripened fruits. To do this, cut the zucchini in half, remove the seeds and bake for an hour in the oven on foil, cut side down. Use a fork to separate the cooled pulp into fibers and add butter or your favorite sauce to them. This side dish goes well with any food - meat, fish, cheese. Just boiled spaghetti squash did not impress me with its taste.
It is not difficult to obtain a harvest of fruits with “pasta” pulp, since this crop is grown in the same way as other varieties of zucchini. Their maturity is determined by the hardening of the skin and the change in color of the fruit from greenish or gray to yellow.
The most common varieties of spaghetti squash are: Raviolo and Portion F1.
Raviolo is a mid-season variety. Its plants are large, creeping, densely leafy, with a strongly branched stem, like all white-fruited zucchini. The cylindrical fruits are white at the technical stage, but turn yellow when fully ripe. The flesh is creamy orange. The fruits fill slowly, and the pulp in the form of noodles occurs only in ripened fruits that have become yellow, 120-130 days after emergence. Therefore, as soon as the plant has 4-5 leaves, the crown is pinched and the growth of the lashes is limited after fruit set.
Portioned F1 is a hybrid that ripens in 85-90 days. The plant is semi-bushy. The fruits are oval, yellow-orange, weighing 800 g. The pulp is fibrous, rich yellow, with a slight aroma of vanilla. The fruits are stored well only 1 - 2 months after harvesting. To obtain spaghetti, fruits with already hardened crust are selected and boiled whole in salted water.
Reference by topic: A seedless method of growing zucchini and the best varieties for it
© Author: Natalia Solonovich, agronomist Photo by the author
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