If you enjoy a vegetarian or vegan diet, or perhaps if you simply want an easy way to get your five a day then zucchini is a great choice of food.
While this fruit is often treated like a vegetable, it has a very sweet and fresh taste that goes well with a lot of summer dishes.
You may sometimes hear zucchini being called courgette, depending on which part of the world you are in but as Shakespeare so rightly said ‘a rose by any other name still smells as sweet.’ And this couldn’t be more fitting than with the zucchini.
If you have ever wondered what does zucchini taste like and want to start including it in your diet, we are going to give you all the information you will need.
What Is Zucchini?
Zucchini is often thought to be a vegetable, after all, it is treated like one during preparation and placed in savory dishes, unlike fruits, which are typically eaten in sweet dishes (although not always; think duck a l’orange and pork with apple sauce.)
However, despite popular belief, zucchini is a fruit and is part of the summer squash family.
Zucchini can be found growing across the United States although they are particularly common in warmer climates and are often grown in Central America.
While the fruit is typically what is eaten, it is also possible to eat the flowers but you likely won’t find these in the supermarkets.
What Does Zucchini Taste Like?
Zucchini, being a fruit, has a much sweeter and fresher taste than many other foods that are treated as a vegetable. There is a richness to the texture but zucchini doesn’t have an overpowering feel to it.
The taste is very mild and pleasant meaning that this food pairs well with a variety of other things as a side dish.
Do zucchini and cucumber taste the same?
The long, green fruits of the zucchini plant look remarkably similar to cucumber, which is also known for its sweet fresh taste.
While these could be compared, there are some clear differences in both the taste and texture of zucchini and cucumber.
Where cucumber has a crisp bite to it, zucchini is much softer and almost feels thicker when eaten. Furthermore, while both are sweet and fresh, zucchini leans more towards being slightly bitter and much more hearty than cucumber.
Just because you love cucumber, that isn’t to say that zucchini will be enjoyable for you and vice versa. These are two very unique fruits.
What Does Zucchini Taste Like When It’s Bad?
Zucchini is best eaten when it is as fresh as possible, much like other fruits and vegetables, it can deteriorate quickly. This is especially true if it is not stored correctly.
Keeping zucchini in the fridge will prolong its life and while it should remain covered with a paper bag, it is always a good idea to leave the bag open slightly to allow for better airflow. Stored this way, a zucchini will last up to two weeks.
Before you eat a zucchini, you should be able to tell a good deal about its quality just through visual cues.
For example, when they begin to degrade, the skin of the zucchini will typically shrivel and begin to look dry. The inside of the fruit may also lose moisture and this is a giveaway that it may not be good to eat.
However, if you want to brave it, the evidence will be in the taste. A bad zucchini will have a much more bitter taste and this is thanks to a chemical called cucurbitacins which develop in this fruit over time.
It is rare to find this chemical in high amounts in a zucchini but if you do notice a very bitter taste, avoid eating it as this could cause stomach upset.
Is It OK To Eat Raw Zucchini?
For the most part, zucchini is cooked before being eaten but that is not to say that you cannot eat it raw, if you prefer.
Eating raw zucchini will not cause any harm, but many people find that the taste is not as pleasant.
What does zucchini taste like when it’s raw?
Raw zucchini has a much more bitter flavor than its cooked counterpart. This is not always pleasant, although unharmful for the most part.
However, there have been studies that have shown that eating overly bitter zucchini can cause health problems and this is related to the cucurbitacins that we discussed earlier.
Furthermore, the texture of a raw zucchini is much harder than when it is cooked. That being said, if you were to bite into a raw zucchini, it would be very easy to get your teeth into as these aren’t particularly tough fruits.
What does cooked zucchini taste like?
Most people prefer to cook zucchini. It can be baked but most commonly it is pan-fried which gives it a nice browned color and a soft texture.
Once zucchini is cooked, it loses a lot of its bitterness and delivers a sweet, warming flavor. It is quite a versatile fruit and can be eaten alone or as an accompaniment to meats and fish.
Zucchini is also frequently spiralised to create zucchini noodles which are a great alternative to pasta if you suffer from a gluten intolerance or are trying to cut out carbs.
Furthermore, this fruit is used to make zucchini bread which is sweet and is often flavored with things like walnut or cinnamon.
Zucchini is nothing if not a diverse fruit; it can be eaten in various ways and with a delicate, sweet flavor and a soft texture it is easy on the palate.
When eaten raw, zucchini can be a little bitter although some people don’t mind this. However, it is important to be mindful of zucchini that tastes overly bitter as this could be a sign that it is bad and should be thrown away.