Gourmet Food Source
Courgettes are a useful vegetable to grow; they are very productive in the garden and very adaptable in the kitchen. Part of the squash family they are the smaller relation of the marrow, pumpkin and squash though left to grow will eventually turn into a vegetable marrow.
How to Grow
I find courgettes very easy to grow, usually sown in mid spring in single pots under cover before leaving out to harden off once the risk of frost has passed. I give the plants plenty of space and most importantly water and as with other, larger squashes lots of it. They need a good general purpose feed and once the fruits have reached an average size should be picked to encourage new growth. If picked regularly you can expect a good crop throughout the summer and I find that two plants at most will give me plenty of courgettes. I try to avoid watering the leaves or the fruit, and I find that by placing a plastic bottle with the bottom cut off into the ground alongside the plant it allows the water to go directly to the root.
How to Cook
Imagination is called for with courgettes on two fronts, firstly because you are going to have a lot of them if growing yourself and secondly they can ere on the bland side. They do, however make a very good soup with the help of some nutmeg, salt, pepper and cream and they are an integral part of Italian cooking. Courgettes are an important vegetable in many soups, pastas and egg dishes throughout Italy; they are of course essential in ratatouille and once cooked with some olive oil, garlic, herbs and lemon a real joy to eat.
Content and picture © Miles Collins