Courgette or zucchini? Courgette is the French term and favoured by the United Kingdom, whereas zucchini is Italian and a more common term in America. Both are well known names for this popular vegetable in New Zealand.
Biggest is not the best when it comes to courgettes. The most flavoursome are those that are small to medium sized, and the darker the skin, the richer the nutrients.
The most common varieties grown are green with skins ranging from a deep dark green to the heirloom varieties that are light green and striped.
A wonderful alternative to the most common green variety, yellow courgettes are available in a limited capacity at the height of the season.
Small and spherical instead of oblong, scallopini come in both yellow and light green. Their interesting shape and colours make them a quirky addition to a menu.
The courgette flower can be male or female, the male version being the one not attached to a baby courgette. These delicate, specialty products are available in limited supply during the summer months.
Enjoy courgette raw or cooked. Courgette ribbons or zoodles make a great base for a zesty side salad or pasta sauce vessel, not to mention tick the gluten free, low carb and (depending on the sauce) even the vegan box. Stuff courgette flowers with chicken or mushroom farce, crab mousse or ricotta. At the other end of the scale, larger individual courgettes can also be stuffed and baked.
Add courgette ribbons as a topping on wood fired pizza, chargrill them for breakfast alongside some haloumi and roasted tomato, sauté with onion and garlic or stew
with traditional Mediterranean ingredients like eggplant, capsicum, tomato and basil.
Courgettes can also be used in chocolate or citrus cake/ muffins as a sweet option.
Courgettes particularly pair well with lemon, mint, basil, eggplant, capsicum, red onions, tomatoes and mushroom along with soft cheeses, like feta, halloumi, ricotta and mozzarella.
The majority of local crops come out of Northland, greater Auckland and Manawatū regions.
Courgettes grow well in warm temperatures, which is why they are prolific and well priced in the summer months. While available all year round in New Zealand, we often import courgettes from Australia in the winter months.