Round Zucchini is a variety of a common zucchini that’s grown in a few countries where it has become a staple of local cuisine. Now, when all food is global so are these unique looking plants, mostly used as a vessel for cooking.
These are known as a “Tondo di Piacenza” in Italy and “Ronde de Nice” in France. The US market for them was created relatively recently, in 90s when they were used by high end restaurants and chefs beyond the Italian American community.
Round Zucchini Trivia
- -Zucchinis were brought to Europe by Christopher Columbus.
- They are in the same plant family as squash
- The flower of the plant is also edible
Round Zucchini Buying Guide
When it comes to the ripeness of the plant, round zucchini should be bought in the same way as any other zucchini. However, the roundness of it takes into account only when it comes to its size, since they are mostly cooked as they are.
When it comes to its size, you should figure out the portions you’re planning to make and for how many you plan to cook. The size of the zucchini will shrink during roasting a bit, which is also something to factor in.
Round Zucchini Production & Farming in Texas
Round Zucchini grows well in all areas of Texas. It’s a warm season garden vegetable meaning that anyone can grow it at home as well as commercially if they do it in the proper timeline. They take up a lot of space meaning that they won’t do well in small gardens.
It feeds of and helps feed the plants around it. That means that it won’t do well as monoculture. When they were grown by Native Americans it was done in a form of three sisters planting, the other two plants being beans and corn.
It grows best in the soil with enough of organic matter. That’s accomplished by having enough compost, leafs or by having a cover crop that will grow before it and that you’ll be able to use to protect and enrich the soil.
They will require a lot of water and you’ll do best to water the soil once a week.
Round Zucchini should be harvested before it’s fully grown. That way it will be more tender and easier to manage and transport. It’s put to cut it and not pull it from the vine.
Zucchinis are often found on a dirty dozen list meaning that the pesticides are used on them and that there are residues for a long period of time.
This plant originated in the Mesoamerica but that original vegetable doesn’t resemble the one we’re using today very much. It was transported to Italy by the first explorers and there it went to a variety of iterations until it become what we considered to be Zucchinis.
This variety was made in Italy and France and it was cultivated by combining different squashes. It came to the US late and is still a somewhat rare plant mostly used by chefs and high end restaurants.
Zucchinis don’t need to be carefully packed due to their thick and protective skin. That means that they are mostly packed in open cardboard boxes or in closed ones, and sometimes even in open sacks. They are sold by the pound and they are usually marketed in the cases containing 10 kg each.
They go directly to the market from the farm with some dirt left on as a proof that these are fresh produce.
Enjoying Round Zucchinis
There are two main ways to eat round zucchinis. The first is to do it as you would with any other zucchini. There are plenty of varieties within that, meaning you could roast, fry them or mash them as you would potatoes. They are also a great addition to salads and pastas.
The second way to do so, is to use the round shape of the zucchinis and to stuff them instead of cutting them. The qualities are the same and it helps a lot with presentation.
The zucchinis should be kept whole and unwashed when stored. You should place them in a simple plastic bag and then place that bag in a fridge. They can be kept this way for 1 to 2 weeks, but you may notice that the skin is starting to shrivel a bit over time.
Since the shape and the size of the round zucchinis are their most important feature, the recipe here utilizes them and uses the round zucchini as a vessel to be stuffed.
Cut off the top of the zucchini and scoop out the center leaving at least a good 1/2 inch border all around.
Chop the zucchini that you just removed finely.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a frying pan, cook the chopped onions, the garlic, and half the zucchini in the olive oil until tender, about 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat, and add salt & pepper, cheese, tomatoes and the chopped parsley.
Stuff the zucchini, and place in a baking dish.
Cook for 45 minutes or until fork tender and the filling is golden brown.
Serve either warm or at room temperature.
Zucchini is also rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are beneficial plant compounds that help protect your body from damage by free radicals. Carotenoids — such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene — are particularly plentiful in zucchini. These may benefit your eyes, skin, and heart, as well as offer some protection against certain types of cancer, such as prostate cancer. Research indicates that the skin of the plant harbors the highest levels of antioxidants. Yellow zucchinis may contain slightly higher levels than light green ones.
When Are Round Zucchini in Season in Texas?
To find out when Round Zucchini are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.