Courgettes are more than 95% water, and so offer only a modest amount
of nutrients. The high water content, however, means that they are very
low in calories. In addition, they are inexpensive and can be eaten
raw or cooked.
Courgettes can grow quite large, but when allowed to do so, they have
coarse, stringy flesh and large seeds. They taste best when small to
medium sized, not more than 7" long. Choose courgettes that are
also firm and fairly heavy for their size; otherwise, they may be dry
and cottony within. Farmers' markets and greengrocers sometimes offer
baby courgettes just 1" to 2" long; these are particularly
tender and sweet, and the flowers are a real delicacy.
skin of courgettes is thin and fragile, delicate enough to puncture
with a fingernail. Unfortunately, some shoppers do just this, they prick
the skin to test for tenderness, leaving the vegetable susceptible to
decay. Look for courgettes with sound, glossy exteriors; avoid those
with skins showing nicks, pits, bruises, or soft spots. They should
be plump (not shrivelled), the stem ends fresh and green. Colour should
be uniform and bright.
Place courgettes in perforated plastic bags and store in the refrigerator
. They should keep for up to a week.
Wash them well and trim the ends. Courgettes need not be peeled or seeded
unless it is oversized and has a thick skin or large seeds.