Zucchini or courgette is a summer squash which can reach nearly a meter in length, but is usually harvested immature at 15 to 25 cm. In the British Isles, a fully grown zucchini is referred to as a marrow, along with certain other squashes and pumpkins, it belongs to the species Cucurbita pepo. Zucchini can be dark or light green, a related hybrid, the golden zucchini, is a deep yellow or orange color. In a culinary context, zucchini is treated as a vegetable, botanically, zucchinis are fruits, a type of botanical berry called a pepo, being the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower. Zucchini, like all squash, has its ancestry in the Americas, in the United States, Australia and Germany, the plant is commonly called a zucchini, from Italian, zucchina, diminutive of zucca, gourd, marrow, pumpkin, squash. In the United Kingdom, Ireland and New Zealand, a fully-grown, in South Africa, the fruit is typically harvested as a baby vegetable, approximately finger size, and is referred to as “baby marrows”. The female flower is a golden blossom on the end of each emergent zucchini, the male flower grows directly on the stem of the zucchini plant in the leaf axils, on a long stalk, and is slightly smaller than the female. Both flowers are edible and are used to dress a meal or to garnish the cooked fruit. Firm and fresh blossoms that are slightly open are cooked to be eaten, with pistils removed from female flowers. There are a variety of recipes in which the flowers may be fried as fritters or tempura, stuffed, sautéed, baked. Zucchini, like all squash, has its ancestry in the Americas, however, the varieties of green, cylindrical squash harvested immature and typically called zucchini were developed in northern Italy, long after the introduction of cucurbits from the Americas. Its been cultivated in north of Iran too known as Kachelik, the word zucchini and this culinary variety of C. pepo arose independently and simultaneously in 19th-century Tuscany and northern Italy. Zucca is the Italian word for pumpkin/squash and zucchino/zucchina are diminutive forms, zucchino, the masculine form, is the first form to be documented in writing. The Treccani, Istituto dellEnciclopedia italiana, another highly respected authority, gives zucchina as the main Italian word. Zucchini is used in Italy, Australia, Canada, and the United States, Zucchini is one of the plural forms in English, as well as the singular form. The first records of zucchini in the United States date to the early 1920s and it was almost certainly brought over by Italian immigrants and probably was first cultivated in the United States in California. A1928 report on vegetables grown in New York State treats Zucchini as one among 60 cultivated varieties of C. pepo, when used for food, zucchini are usually picked when under 20 cm in length, when the seeds are still soft and immature. Mature zucchini can be as large as a baseball bat, the larger ones are often fibrous
Image: CSA Striped Zucchini
Harvest-ready, though not yet full-grown zucchini on plant; the glossy skin is progressively lost after the first week following anthesis.
Golden zucchini produced in the Netherlands for sale in a supermarket in Montpellier, France in April 2013