The courgette is the staple summer vegetable, but it is grown throughout the year in the French Midi region. It belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family as squash or melon. Including foods like courgettes in your meals allows you to boost your mineral intake: for example, 100 g of this succulent vegetable provides 240 mg of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium for only 15 Kcal. Courgettes also contain essential vitamins such as vitamin B3, vitamin C (7 mg for 100 g), provitamin A (0.35 mg for 100 g), as well as fibre, which helps with digestion. We therefore recommend it to people having suffered from an ulcer or gastritis.
There are numerous varieties of courgettes. Here are a few examples: the most well-known is the "Diamond" courgette (green and smooth) but there are also other, more unusual types, such as the "Gold Rush" (golden yellow) of the "Patisson Patty" (flattened, with rounded edges).
It is recommended to eat courgettes soon after purchase, because they lose their nutrients after five days. Like for most fruit and vegetables, a large proportion of vitamins are found in the skin of the courgette. To fully benefit from them, eat courgettes with the skin on, as long as you have access to organic products or those grown by a local market gardener, without the use of chemical treatments. Even if certain nutrients will be lost, it is possible to freeze the courgette or put it in jars at the height of the season, in order to conserve it.
There are dozens of ways to cook courgettes. They are delicious and easy to cook raw, in a carpaccio or in cut into thin, tagliatelle-shaped slices, seasoned with a bit of basil, olive oil and parmesan, or even finely diced in a salad. A vital ingredient in ratatouille and caponata, courgettes can also be eaten grilled in the oven or on the barbecue. When steamed, they keep their flavour and nutrients, but they can also be used to make soups, both hot (with chick peas for texture and garlic and curcuma for taste) and cold (in a green gazpacho with cucumber, peas and mint).
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