How to Enjoy the Delicious Versatility and Nourishment of Pennsylvania’s Bounty

July 13, 2018

No matter how you access local vegetables – farm stand, roadside stand, farmers market, or CSA –  there’s rarely a Pennsylvania growing season that passes without delivering an abundance of zucchini. Thankfully, zucchini is incredibly versatile. You can even eat it raw! This time of year, it’s often eaten right off the grill with just a pinch of salt and pepper. It doesn’t get any easier than that! However, when you’re ready to excite your palate and explore something new, you can count on paveggies.org’s recipes to guide you through that exploration. The recently redesigned website features recipes for almost every type of Pennsylvania vegetable you could imagine, and the latest zucchini recipes come complete with a video tutorial, too.

Zucchini Noodle dishes, like the one featured here (below), are a crowd favorite and come together in no time, but don’t write off the Zucchini Fritters and Chocolate Zucchini Muffins featured in the PA Veggies video as well. No matter which recipe, or recipes, you decide to follow, it all starts with finding the best local vegetables.

First, start at a local source. Local vegetables are not only more flavorful, they contain more nutrients than “cross country” vegetables, because there is less time between harvest and consumption. When it comes to zucchini, you should consider selecting those that are on the small side, as the flesh will be more tender and the vegetable will have more flavor. The best size for zucchini is about six to eight inches long and two inches or less in diameter. If the zucchini has a darker skin, then the nutrient content is richer. Some of the most sought after nutrients that zucchini contains include fiber, vitamin c, and potassium. They have a low calorie count, making them a perfect, healthy vegetable alternative for several carb-heavy dishes, like pasta. When you work in additional vegetables, like tomatoes, onion, or fennel, grown fresh by your local farmers, zucchini noodle dishes can really sing, and impress a crowd.

Since zucchini grows so abundantly during its season, farmers are often eager to sell it in bulk. When you’re buying bulk, it’s best to connect with your farmer directly. Chances are, you won’t just get the best product and piece of mind knowing where your food came from, you’re likely to get a better price, too. You can head to your local on-farm market, a roadside farm stand, or a farmers’ market and discuss details with the crew on-site. Consider calling ahead if you don’t want to chance the availability of your large order. Farmers will often take note of your request and include it in the next harvest when they can’t fulfill it that same day. Once you’ve obtained your desired amount and you’re ready to begin preparing, it’s easy as pie to make additional servings with each recipe from the PA Veggies’ video, and freeze leftovers for the future.

Zucchini Noodles

Change the way you think about pasta, and lower the carbohydrates count, with this delicious vegetable alternative!

What You’ll Need:

  • Vegetable spiralizer
  • 2 large zucchini, stems and bottoms removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • Zest from 1/2 a lemon
  • 4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon mint leaves, cut into thin strips (chiffonade)

How to Make:

  • Spiralize the zucchini into thin noodles.
  • Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat.
  • Add garlic and lemon zest to the olive oil.
  • Sauté until fragrant, being careful not to brown the garlic.
  • Add the zucchini to the skillet and toss while heating.
  • Don’t overcook! Just heat the zucchini through.
  • Top with Parmesan and mint. Serve and enjoy!

Expert Tips:

  • Add chili flakes or sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Substitute spiralized carrots for half of the zucchini.
  • Garnish with bread crumbs and paprika.

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PA Pumpkin PSA: Don’t Toss Them! 
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Blueberry Hill Farm will have more cauliflower at the market on Saturday. Did you know that cauliflower is loaded with vitamin C? It's also a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, magnesium, and vitamin B-6. Try roasting some this weekend!
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