Zucchini is a type of summer squash. You may also know it as a “courgette,” depending on where in the world you live. This hardy squash grows readily in a range of environments, and it has a broad assortment of uses, from sweet zucchini bread to raw “pasta” made from strips. Many markets carry this squash in the summer, and it is also a snap to grow at home, although some caution is advised, as the plants can produce way more fruit than one would think is physically possible.
Physically, zucchini are shaped roughly like sausages, with green skin which may be mottled with white spots. Some varieties come in yellow as well. The squash has a mild flavor which is perhaps best described as “springlike,” and a crisp, snappy texture when raw. When it is cooked, the texture softens considerably, and it can become mushy very quickly.
As a general rule, the smaller the type of summer squash is, the better it is. This is certainly true of zucchini, as this squash turns woody if it gets too large, and some specimens may develop prickly hairs with age as well, forcing cooks to scrape or peel the rind. A good courgette will feel heavy for its size, indicating that it has lots of moisture, and it will have a firm, even texture with no sunken spots or signs of mold. Squash blossom can be cooked in a variety of ways as well.