Q:

Do you need to peel zucchini?

A:

Zucchini does not need to be peeled unless the fruit is very old and has developed a tough skin. If this is the case, the flesh of such zucchini is stringy, and the seeds, which are supposed to be edible, are tough.

The ideal size for a zucchini is a bit under 8 inches in length. While very large zucchini are tough, zucchini that are too small may lack flavor. The fruit should be handled carefully, as any blemish can cause it to decay. It should be washed just before it is prepared and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Zucchini can be eaten raw or cooked. Although it is the fruit of a vine, it is treated like a vegetable.

Zucchini can be served in salads, soups and stews such as ratatouille. It can also be fried or baked in a casserole. Even the flowers can be stuffed with cheese, dipped in batter and fried. Cooks use the male flowers for cooking, as the female flowers produce the fruit.

The zucchini plant is native to the Americas and is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family. It is very easy to grow and thrives in hot weather. Many gardeners who grow zucchini soon find that they have too much of it.

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