The etiquette rules on how to serve and eat zucchini. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest.

What zucchini etiquette is

Zucchini etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat zucchini. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow the etiquette to serve zucchini to your guests appropriately.

As a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat zucchini at the dining table and avoid offending your hosts or embarrassing yourself.

how to eat and serve zucchini

What you should know about zucchini

Zucchini is a type of summer squash.

Zucchini is cylindrical or oblong in shape. Its skin is smooth, thin, and dark green in color. The flesh inside is creamy white in color and has small soft seeds in the center. The seeds are edible. Zucchini has a mild and slightly sweet flavor and a rather tender texture.

Etiquette rules to serve and eat zucchini

1) How to store zucchini

You can store zucchini in the pantry at room temperature. Keep it in a dry and cool place, far from sources of heat and direct light. Keep zucchini this way for up to 5 days.

However, it is best to keep zucchini in the fridge. The ideal temperature for storing zucchini is between 0°C and 4°C (32°F and 40°F). Store it in a perforated plastic bag. It will last for up to 7 days.

It is possible to freeze zucchini. You can freeze it raw or cooked. Ideally, before freezing raw zucchini, blanch it first for 3-4 minutes. Then, let it cool and drain. Place it in an airtight container and store it in the freezer. Frozen zucchini can last for up to 10 months.

Store sliced or cooked zucchini in the fridge in an airtight container. It will last for up to 3-4 days.

2) How to clean zucchini

To clean the zucchini, rinse it under cold running water. Scrub it lightly with a brush to remove any dirt or debris. Then, place it on a towel or on kitchen paper to dry. Alternatively, you can also wipe it with a damp cloth.

When zucchini turns bad, its skin becomes soft, discolored, or wrinkled. Its inside flesh may feel slimy or mushy. Discard zucchini if it smells sour or rotten.

3) How to cook zucchini

You can serve zucchini raw. However, it is common to cook zucchini for better flavor and texture.

The most common ways to cook zucchini include stir-frying, sautéing, grilling, roasting, baking, or steaming. You can also use it as an ingredient in soups, stews, and casseroles.

The most popular dishes with zucchini are zucchini bread, zucchini fritters, zucchini noodles (also known as zoodles), stuffed zucchini, and ratatouille. You can add zucchini to salads and sandwiches too. Slice it thinly and add them raw or lightly grilled.

4) How to serve & present zucchini

Zucchini is appropriate for any occasion. You can serve it at formal or informal meals. They are most common at lunch and dinner, while they are unusual for breakfast and as a snack.

You can serve zucchini as a side dish or complement. The ideal serving temperature depends on the recipe. However, it is typical to serve zucchini cooked and warm or at room temperature.

The most polite ways to serve zucchini to your guests are to present it neatly sliced or diced. Serve zucchini in a serving shallow bowl. Present it with serving utensils, such as tongs or a slotted spoon.

Accompany zucchini with seasonings, such as olive oil, salt, herbs, and spices.

5) Food and wine to pair zucchini with

Zucchini pairs well with a variety of flavors, such as garlic, lemon, basil, parsley, thyme, and oregano. It also goes well with vegetables like tomatoes, onions, peppers, and eggplant.

You can serve zucchini to accompany meat, such as chicken, pork, and shrimp. The mild and slightly sweet flavor of zucchini makes them a perfect pairing with white fish, such as cod, sea bass, or branzino.

Avoid pairing zucchini with strong and overpowering flavors. Avoid seasoned or blue cheese, strong vinegar, or spicy peppers.

Zucchini pairs well with light-bodied white wines. Suggestions include Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and unoaked Chardonnay. Rosé wine is also a great option. It is best to avoid full-bodied and tannic wines as they can overpower the mild flavor of zucchini. Similarly, sweet drinks like sugary sodas and fruit juices may not pair well with the taste of zucchini.

6) How to eat zucchini

The most polite etiquette for eating zucchini is to use a fork and knife. Cut the zucchini into bite-sized pieces before eating it. It is generally not considered polite to eat zucchini with your fingers.

The skin and the seeds of the zucchini are edible. Thus, you do not need to discard them.

Zucchini etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the most common zucchini etiquette mistakes:

  • 8/10. Serving zucchini without properly cleaning it.
  • 7/10. Serving overcooked and mushy zucchini.
  • 6/10. Presenting zucchini cut it into overly large or irregularly-shaped pieces.

Additional information for properly serving zucchini

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and correctly plan a menu.

Zucchini is a low-calorie vegetable. It contains about 31 calories per 100 grams. A single medium-sized zucchini contains around 33 calories.

How to buy the best zucchini

A crucial factor in zucchini etiquette is serving your guests the best product possible.

Season and availability 

Zucchini is typically in season from late spring to early fall. The peak harvest season occurs during the summer months.

Choose the best

In commerce, zucchini is most commonly found fresh in the produce section of grocery stores. You can also find it canned or frozen.

Some popular varieties of zucchini in commerce include Black Beauty, Greyzini, and Golden Zucchini.

To buy the best zucchini, look for a firm texture and smooth skin. Good zucchini should feel heavy for its size. Their skin color should be bright green and free of discoloration or blemishes. Avoid zucchinis that are overly soft, bruised, or with wrinkled skin, as these are signs of aging and lower quality.

Alternatives to zucchini

As a substitute for zucchini, try other squash varieties such as Yellow Squash. Avoid using cucumber as an alternative to zucchini, as they are very different in texture, flavor, and cooking properties.