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Zucchini – food facts

Zucchini is a summer squash that grows readily in this climate. The flowers that grow on the stem and at the tip of the new squash are both edible. (And harvesting the flowers also reduces the overproduction for which zucchini is known.) Although the squash family originated in the Americas, the zucchini was bred in Italy in the 19th century after squash was imported there.

Related: Yellow squash and crookneck squash are 2 other popular summer varieties, but zucchini is also related to the winter squash, including acorn squash, butternut squash, Hubbard squash, muskmelon,

Harvest season in the LV: July through October

Growing conditions: Well-drained soil enriched with plenty of compost; full sun.

Pollination: All squash are pollinated primarily by bees.

Cooking/Preparation required: Often eaten raw, used to dip yogurt, made into soup, fried, or baked.

Fertilizers or pesticides: Zucchini and all summer squash should be grown without pesticides. Commercial squash is often contaminated with pesticides that are endocrine-disruptors or carcinogens and may also come from GMO stock; consider buying organic.

Nutrients: Folic acid, potassium, and pro-vitamin A.

NOTE: Nutrient content can vary greatly depending on soil conditions, with organic methods and a soil rich in organic matter generally producing the best results.

‘Dirty Dozen’ or ‘Clean Fifteen’ ratings do not necessarily apply to produce grown on local farms — you need to check with the farmer to determine if and when any fertilizers or pesticides were applied.