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Courgette

Courgette are a type of squash, usually eaten cooked. They usually have the same shape as a small cucumber, although certain varieties look more like an eggplant or a globe.

Courgettes should be eaten when they are young usually no more than six inches long because although they grow to as big as three foot by that time they have tough flesh and the inside is often very watery. A large courgette is often known as a marrow.

Technically courgettes are fruit, although most chefs treat them as a vegetable. They can be cooked in a wide variety of ways, including boiling, steaming, frying, grilling and baking. The most important thing to realise is that if a courgette is cooked for too long it will disintegrate into a somewhat watery sludge, which for most dishes is unappetising (although this is the intention in ratatouille of which courgette is one of the main ingredients).

Growing courgettes is relatively easy but they tend to be ready to pick all at the same time, leaving growers with a glut in the peak of summer. They can be preserved and zuchinni relish is delicious with cheese.

Zuchinni produce flowers which the Italians often pick, stuff with cheese and deep fry as a delicious appetizer.

Courgettes are known as zucchini in Italy and the United States. They also widely known as Italian squash.