Did you know that zucchini leaves are edible? The young ones are tender and tasty - a great leafy green to add to all kinds of dishes. I stood admiring my zucchini plants today and their massive array of young leaves. So much extra food beyond the zucchini itself.
A great leafy green!
Here's seven simple ideas of ways to cook with zucchini greens:
- add to soups, finely chopped or blended
- add into curries - chopped finely and added close to the end of cooking
- stir fry - add toward the end of cooking, just a minute will do
- risotto - again, add towards end of cooking.
- spanikopita - mix with a range of greens to make a great deep green spanikopita filling
- salad (very young leaf)
...you get the picture.
They are also great lightly steamed for a minute or two with garlic and a drizzle of oil.
Zucchini leaves are quite tender and don't take long to cook. Avoid the older leaves. They tend to be a little tough and bitter.
Choose spray free, homegrown or organically-grown leaves
You never seem them at the shops and for sure you don't want to eat them if plants have been sprayed. Your homegrown chemical free plants are a different thing entirely.
Eating the leaves helps the plant
An added bonus is that pruning some of the leaves allows more light into the centre of the plant which helps fruit development and improves air circulation helping to prevent mildew - a common problem.
Eat the flowers too
Don't forget that the flowers are edible too. Remember to go for the male flowers, because the zucchinis form below the female flowers.
I typically avoid harvesting too many because they help to provide protection for the forming zucchinis. Again, it's as I usually recommend - a leaf from here and a leaf from there.
|Male flowers on zucchini plant|
Do you have a special zucchini leaf recipe?
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Labels: food, foraging, gardening, no-dig garden, permaculture garden