Nutrition Corner: Make zucchini a great addition to any summer meal

August 9th, 2017 3:41 pm

The zucchinis have started to multiply in the garden and it’s possible that, by now, you have run out of ways to enjoy them. But they are a great addition to summer meals. They are low cost and can be stored unwashed in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Zucchini is a summer squash meaning the skins are tender and can be eaten as opposed to the winter varieties. The summer squash are high in water content and are a great way to add “volume” to your meals without a lot of calories. They are good sources of vitamin C, A and several B vitamins. One half cup is almost 20% of our daily needs for vitamin A and C for only 20 calories. Leave the skins on to get fiber, as well. Summer squash also has potassium. One half cup has about 5% of our daily needs. Most likely, we will eat one cup, which then doubles the nutritional value.

Some interesting facts about squash are that it was the first dish the Indians taught the settlers how to cook. The word zucchini is Italian and means “sweetest.”

Zucchini can be substituted for yellow summer squash in most recipes. If you grow either zucchini or summer squash, check your garden daily. The best are small, 6 to 8 inches. If they get too big, the skins are tough. Large zucchini need to be shredded for used in baking breads or muffins, adding to soups or even in a recipe for zucchini pancakes.

Even the novice cook can make a great vegetable side dish with zucchini. Sauté with fresh chopped garlic in canola or olive oil and your favorite fresh chopped herbs. Turn zucchini slices over and slightly brown on the other side. In less than 10 minutes you have a great tasting side dish. Here is a recipe to get you started.

Lemon Rosemary Zucchini

1 T extra virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced

2 tsp finely minced fresh rosemary

2 cups chopped zucchini (2 medium)

1-3 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add pepper and rosemary, sauté for 2 minutes. Add zucchini, salt and pepper. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until the zucchini is tender. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice and serve. Recipe source-

Nutrition Corner Mary R. Ehret Corner Mary R. Ehret

Mary Ehret is the Penn State Extension Nutrition Links Supervisor in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, Carbon, Sullivan and Bradford counties. Reach her at 570-825-1701 or at