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A Holiday For Zucchini?

(Flickr)

Today is another one of those goofy made-up holidays — it’s Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day.

It’s a good thing. I have a neighbor who always grows lots of vegetables in her backyard garden, and she shares it with the neighborhood. If I’m not home to answer the door, she leaves it on the front porch.

We think of zucchini as a vegetable. We serve it with our main course, but it’s actually a fruit. It’s from the squash family.

Squash is native to North and South America and was introduced to Europe by early explorers. But the various varieties of zucchini were developed in Italy. It’s probably one of the most versatile foods because of all the ways it can be used and cooked. It can be baked, steamed, boiled, grilled, barbequed, fried, deep fried, even stuffed. It can be used in recipes like souffles, breads, cakes, soups, even lasagna. It can be eaten raw, sliced or shredded.

Zucchini is one of the easiest things to grow and they grow quickly. They’re usually picked when they’re about 8 inches long but can grow to be 3 feet long. The world record longest zucchini was 7 feet 10 inches long in 2005. The heaviest zucchini on record was 29 and a quarter pounds.

What’s the difference between a zucchini and cucumber? They may look the same. They have the same color, but they’re very different. The skin of a cucumber is cold and waxy. The zucchini is rough and dry. Cucumbers are usually served cold. Cucumbers wilt when they’re cooked, but stay crunchy.

Zucchinis are usually cooked. They soften up, turn sweet and brown when they’re cooked in the oven or on the stove.

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