Zucchini!

Zucchini4cropsmThe question of what to do with too much zucchini is one that has plagued humankind for millennia. The modern zucchini’s ancestors came from Central and South America, and were part of the local diet as far back as 5500 B.C. (I wonder how you say, “Zucchini, again?” in ancient Mayan?)

Europeans knew a good thing when they saw it, and within 50 years of European invasion of Central America, zucchinis (well, their ancestors, anyway) were being cultivated in Europe. The vegetable we grow today as zucchini was developed in Italy in the 19th century (hence the Italian name we use for it), and it has been overwhelming home gardeners all over the world ever since.

The good news about zucchini is that you really can’t eat too much. It is low in calories (only 18 per half cup), and is full of nutrients like beta-carotene, folic acid, and vitamins C and E. Of course, there really is only so much zucchini one can eat, and because I plant several varieties, we reach the point of zucchini saturation pretty quickly. The overflow goes to the goats, who eat it happily for a while, and then they, too, get tired of it. Eventually, some zucchinis are forgotten in the garden, and grow into giants. My biggest last year was nearly a metre long. I thought that was pretty impressive, until I learned that the longest zucchini ever grown measured 2.39 metres (7 ft 10.3 in)! Now there’s something to aspire to this year!

In the meantime, it’s zucchini for dinner again tonight!