Zucchini is one of the most popular varieties of squash. It’s also quite versatile. From sautéing and steaming, to baking to juicing, zucchini adds a delicate flavor to any dish.
One of my favorite parts of late summer and early fall was my mom’s zucchini bread. Coming home after school, you would see me chowing down with a hunk of her zucchini bread fresh from the oven with melting butter. Yum!
I’ve altered her recipe a bit for more healthy eating (Mom didn’t know of spelt flour or alternative sweeteners), but the feeling is the same.
Zucchiini Orange Loaf
- 4 eggs or egg substitute
- 1 ¾ cups honey or agave nectar
- ¾ cup applesauce* or canola oil
- 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 cups zucchini pulp
- 3 ¼ cups spelt, quinoa, or whole grain flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp cloves
- 2 tsp grated orange peel**
- ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
*applesauce is a great way to lower the calories and fat of traditional bread and muffin recipes calling for oil. Choose an unsweetened or low sweetened apple sauce (or better yet, make your own!).
**use fresh orange peel from the oranges you’re using to juice! Use eith
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add honey, orange juice, applesauce (or oil), and the zucchini pulp, and continue to beat until well-blended. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Bake 45-55 minutes in a non-stick (slightly greased) loaf pan.er organic oranges or wash the rind well. Create orange peel by using a rinder, a veggie peeler, or a grater.
Get some Antioxidant Super Powers! Zucchini provides 20% of your daily value of manganese and 17% of your daily value of Vitamin C. Manganese feeds your mitochondria, which are your cellular energy centers. And Vitamin C brings all around health goodness.
Zucchini also contains beta-carotene and zinc. Alongside are some less common antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxantin, both of which are known to support strong, healthy eyes and prevent macular degeneration.
Zucchini provides a vast array of B-vitamins including folate, B1, B2, B3, B6, and choline. This spectrum of B vitamins provides support to blood sugar metabolism. The aforementioned manganese and zinc also add a boost. Extra support arrives with magnesium (10% of the daily value), and omega 3s (8% of the daily value).
Zucchini is a good source of fiber and of pectin, which helps maintain sugar balances and prevent type 2 diabetes.
Squash seeds have anti-microbial properties. This feature is great for digestive tract health and wellness. Squash seeds have a long history of being used against intestinal tapeworms and parasites.
Zucchini (and squash in general) has a long and distinguished history. Scientists have found squash seeds in Mexico caves that have been preserved for over 10,000 years. Cultivation of this summer/late summer veggie began in Mexico and Central America and spread rapidly throughout the Western hemisphere.
For many Native American tribes, squash was considered to be a staple. Along with corn (maize) and beans, the trio was called the “Three Sisters.”
Christopher Columbus brought squash to Spain, while other explorers of Portuguese and Spanish descent introduced the vegetable around the world.
Today, zucchini is cultivated worldwide. Top squash-growing states are California, Georgia, New York, and Florida, though Mexico tops the bill of squash production and exportation as 95% of all U.S. imported squash is of Mexican origin.
Selection and Storage
Look for zucchini that feel heavy for their size. Choose ones with dark green skins that are not overly hard. Note that the skin may naturally be striped or speckled. Choose skins that are unblemished as zucchini are tender. Medium-size zucchini have the best consistency and flavor. If growing your own zucchini, you can eat the squash blossoms.
Store the zucchini in the refrigerator. Keep it unwashed and in a container with a lid. The squash will last for up to 7 days.