Wholesome Dwelling: Eat in Season: Strive zucchini and pulp
The zucchini plant is currently producing abundantly. The delicate taste, the soft skin and the creamy white pulp are a perfect addition to any summer dish.
Zucchini, or zucchini as the Italians call them, are low in calories and their skin is full of antioxidants, mostly astaxanthin, zeaxanthin, alpha and beta carotenes – they thus help with eye health and help protect our skin from sun damage.
The slightly bitter taste of zucchini is due to its antioxidant; Cucurbitacin, which is liver protective, anti-inflammatory and combats yeast overgrowth.
Recent research has shown that the polysaccharides in zucchini contain an unusual amount of pectin, which nourishes the beneficial bacteria in our intestines. A specially structured polysaccharide that often contains special chains of D-galacturonic acid called homogalacturonan is a unique molecule that has been linked in repeated animal studies with protection against diabetes and better insulin regulation.
As stated in Digby Law’s vegetable book, zucchini are best eaten when they are no bigger than our fingers, while the meat is tender and sweet, and before it has developed bitter seeds and ingested too much water to taste anything. But because the plant is so productive, it swells up quickly in the season and turns into pith.
If you can’t find zucchini that small, try to get the smallest possible ones, for example at your farmers’ markets. If you’re lucky, you can even get tiny specimens with a flower attached. These flowers are great stuffed with garlic-scented goat cheese and poached in bone broth!
Young firm zucchini can be spiralized with a special device from a kitchen specialist and served warmed up instead of pasta as a nutritious, low-calorie alternative. I like to chop and core the larger ones and roast them with chopped red onions, paprika, garlic cloves – drizzled with olive oil and dried Italian herbs.
The pulp is ideal as a filo pastry filling with ricotta – sweet with honey, vanilla and grated lemon zest, like a strudel, or savory with garlic and dill – served with a side salad. I often prepare this old Hungarian recipe of a delicious vegetable stew – which you can enjoy in summer as in winter if you prep and freeze the pulp:
Mark stew with spicy sausage
n 1 large mark peeled, pitted and finely grated with a food processor
n 2 red onions, finely chopped
n 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
n Handful of fresh dill (or 1 heaped tablespoon of dried)
n 1 pot of fresh organic cream
n Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Fry the onions in olive oil for a few minutes, then add the garlic, dill and pulp. Season well and, while simmering gently, release the juices under the lid and cook for ½ hour.
Turn off the heat and stir in the crème fraicheche. Serve with grilled whole meat sausage – I love Rigney’s Grain-Free Sausage from the Curraghchase Farm or a French Toulouse sausage. A spicy burger pattie is also a great option.