Zucchini is a member of the squash family and the powerhouse of health. It is a member of the cucurbits, but rather than hard skin and long growing tendrils- it grows as a bush and has tender skin. What makes this fruit special is its easiness in almost every aspect. It is easy to grow, easy to maintain, easy to harvest, easy to prepare, and use in the kitchen. If you have a child at home, planting zucchini is the perfect project for them. Children can get excited quickly seeing that the plant they have grown is producing quickly.
The ripeness of zucchini also has an interesting aspect to it. It has peak flavor while still young and tender and it tends to be a prolific grower. You can grow this delicious fruit at home and enjoy it in sweet and savory recipes. Even its’ yellow flowers can be harvested and are edible.
This vegetable is perfect for those individuals looking to start a healthy diet and lowering their carb intake. Zucchini offers no calories and it has zero fat in it, what it offers is high fiber content which is good for your digestive system. This plant contains a myriad of nutrients such as vitamin A which improves immunity and helps maintain good eyesight. This plant may also help lower blood sugar levels, and also may contribute to a healthy heart.
The most important information for you while growing this plant is knowing when to harvest zucchini. The right time ensures that you have access to the most flavor-packed fruit. Did I say it’s a fruit? It is because it actually is, botanically speaking, a fruit. Although in the culinary context, zucchini is referred to as a vegetable since it is prepared in the same way as vegetables are prepared.
Almost any soil type can suit zucchini, well-drained soil works best with lots of sunlight. It also needs an adequate amount of organic matter as it allows the zucchinis’ roots to grow strongly while getting the required nutrients.
Zucchini Harvest Season
When it comes to harvesting, the zucchini plant needs regular picking at a certain point of growth. Each plant can give you once reasonably sized zucchini after every two days. Just 4-5 plants can give you a really good amount of fruits.
While at times it may seem that the zucchini seems unhealthy, such as having yellow or spots, it is nothing to be alarmed of. A zucchini naturally has some spots and yellow tints on it, it is actually a sign that the plant is healthy.
Zucchini harvest season depends on when you plant it. It thrives in warm weather and has a short growing season. You can typically harvest zucchini about two months after you plant it. Generally, the ideal temperature for growing this fruit ranges from 60-70 degrees F. Simply plant it within two months having a temperature this warm. Three weeks after the last frost of spring marks the earliest time you can plant it. This date now determines your date of harvest. Generally, it takes 45 to 60 days after planting till you can pick your zucchini.
When you’re picking zucchini, size is an important indicator of its ripeness and flavor. It is recommended to frequently harvest smaller zucchinis as it produces more fruits-rather than letting them grow larger and larger. The bigger your zucchini is, the harder its’ seeds will be and spongier its’ flesh. For a large zucchini- pick it when it is around 8 inches in length with a diameter of 2 inches.
When is Zucchini Ripe?
To understand when to harvest zucchini, you must know how to determine when the fruit is ripe. You just need to look for the right cues that indicate it.
So, when is zucchini ripe? A ripe zucchini will have glossy skin and it will be firm but you will still be able to create a dent in it with your fingernail. So it should be firm but not too soft. If the zucchini gets overly soft, it means it’s becoming inedible. However, soft ones can be used in zucchini bread.
Another important factor is the color. A zucchini with a uniformly green color all over the fruit is generally ready to harvest.
The ideal size to look for when picking zucchini would 6 to 8 inches in length. At this size, the fruit will have maximum meat, less seed, and will be very tender and flavourful. But you can pick and eat zucchini at any stage once it is 4 to 5 inches long.
You should try not to pick the ones with signs of damage like bruising or marring. Once the skin has broken, zucchinis can become spoiled quite quickly.
When to Harvest Zucchini Flowers
Zucchini plants produce male as well as female flowers that are pollinated by bees and other insects. However, the male flowers grow on the stem of the main plant whereas female flowers show up at the end of the fruit. The female flowers are the best tasting ones. As these flowers are edible, people commonly ask when to harvest zucchini flowers.
The ideal time to harvest the zucchini flowers, whether male or female, is right before they naturally fall off. However, if you want fruit- do not harvest too many or all of the flowers at once. The best time to pick the flowers is early in the morning when the dew on them is dry and the blossoms have completely opened. When you pick them, leave a few for pollination.
Handle the blossoms carefully as they are very delicate. And they have a short shelf life. Immediately place them in the refrigerator after picking them and sprinkle them with some chilled water. Then dry them gently.
How to Cut Zucchini Plant
Zucchini plant leaves can grow quite large which provides shade and reduces sunlight that reaches the plant and surrounding ones. This is why it is often recommended to prune zucchini plant leaves. It also improves air circulation. You should be careful not to prune too many leaves. Cut the bigger ones and make cuts close to the plants’ base. Also, cut off any brown or dead leaves. However, do not cut the stems as this increases their risk of disease.
Here’s how to cut the zucchini plant. You have to hold the fruit at its end. Then, using a sharp knife, cut the stem above the fruit. You should also leave a portion of the stem on the fruit. And remember to wear gloves while you cut it.
There are a lot of facts about zucchini, and one of them, that we just shared with you earlier is that zucchini is a fruit. But there is much more to the zucchini than this, and we will share with you some facts about the zucchini.
Zucchini in singular form is called “zucchina”, so from now on every time you refer to a single zucchini, call it “zucchina”. Sources differ on which singular form to use, some term it in a masculine form “zucchino”, and while the others use a feminine term “zucchina”. Both terms are correct, so feel free to use any of those.
Did you know that the flowers of zucchini are also edible? Unless you grew up in Italy, this is not familiar to any one of us. What’s more, these flowers can be eaten raw, surprising isn’t it? Traditionally, however, most of the time they are being cooked by frying them. In Italian cuisines, the flower is stuffed with some cheese and herbs then is dipped in a light batter and pan-fried in oil.
As mentioned earlier, the zucchini is full of nutrients, but did you know that it has more potassium than a banana? Also, according to World’s Healthiest Foods Nutrition info, nutrients found in zucchini can help prevent cancer and heart diseases. Even the more reason as to why you need to plant some zucchini in your garden.
Ever wondered where the term zucchini comes from? You can guess this by referring to the people that treat the flowers as a delicacy. That’s right it is an Italian term, it is a diminutive of the word “Zucca” which means squash.
There’s no reason not to grow fresh zucchini in your home-garden especially considering it is so easy. Try Garlic-Parmesan with sautéed zucchini, a very delicious choice using this tasty fruit. It is also filled with so many nutritional benefits like Vitamin C or A, potassium, and folate. In fact, it helps reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well.
If you’re looking forward to this gardening activity, just remember when to harvest zucchini and that size is key when you do.
Now that we have shared with you this topic, do you have any thoughts or tips you can share? Any questions that bother you? Feel free to simply comment on them below! Don’t hesitate to communicate with us, we are welcome with whatever thoughts you have. We also offer other guides that may interest you such as When to Harvest Turnips and How to Prune Pepper Plant.