Are courgettes safe to eat?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question, “Are courgettes safe to eat?”. We will discuss in depth the health benefits and risks of eating courgettes. We will also look at different ways to eat courgettes.

Are courgettes safe to eat?

Yes, courgettes are safe to eat unless they taste bitter. Bitter courgettes have a high level of chemicals that cause a disease called toxic shock syndrome.

Courgettes along with squash and cucumbers are members of the cucurbit family of plants. 

Courgettes are available in a variety of forms and sizes. The tall, curly courgette known as ‘tromboncino’ or ‘tromba’ is a unique cultivar. Courgettes are called zucchini in America which is the Italian term for them. Courgettes are versatile in the kitchen, since they may be prepared in several ways or even eaten fresh!

What are the risks of eating courgettes?

Toxic squash syndrome

When a person consumes a gourd fruit or vegetable that has extraordinarily high quantities of cucurbitacins, toxic squash syndrome develops.

Gardening and producing veggies and plants yourself is a source of pleasure but home-grown fruit isn’t always as harmless as it looks — at least, not when it relates to rare ‘poison courgettes.’

Cucurbitacins are uncommon because farmers carefully manage plants such that they generate few or no chemicals that are poisonous to people.

Cucurbitacins are bitter-tasting chemicals that may make humans sick.

If there is an unintentional cross-pollination of plants or a stray batch of seeds utilized by amateur gardeners, however, produce with the potential to cause sickness can develop.

Cucurbitacin-rich vegetables like courgette don’t often appear deadly, which makes them even more hazardous because you don’t realize they’re poisonous until you eat them and taste the bitterness.

What are the symptoms of toxic shock syndrome?

Toxic squash syndrome can cause the following symptoms:

  • Vertigo
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Hair loss is an unusual occurrence.

If you consume bitter food and subsequently develop any of the symptoms listed above, you should consult a doctor.

What causes toxic shock syndrome in courgettes?

Toxic squash disease can occur from home-grown garden seeds or self-seeding volunteer plants; if bitterness is detected, the fruit should be removed immediately and medical treatment sought if necessary.

In the commercial seed business, this is extremely unusual since seed raisers take steps to minimize cross-pollination with other cucumber family crops that carry potentially toxic substances.

Supermarket courgettes, squash, and other vegetables are normally grown from hybrid seeds, with very little chance of cross-pollination in the farming sector, so the commercial product is quite safe.

How to reduce cucurbitacin levels in courgettes?

Anyone thinking about growing courgettes must be cautious about the seeds they utilize.

When plants are produced from preserved seeds, where unintended cross-pollination may have happened, the issue is more likely.

Avoid utilizing preserved seeds or plants developed from cuttings of other plants when growing courgettes at home. It should be safe to purchase seeds from a respected brand or garden center.

Cucurbitacin-affected plants should be entirely removed from the garden.

Infected fruit must not be eaten and afflicted plants must be removed since they induce stomach disturbances.

What are the benefits of eating courgettes?

Courgettes have a low-calorie count and a high water level, making them a great diet food. 

They don’t have a lot of nutrients, but they do have a lot of vitamin C, which is good for your immune system, and a lot of potassium. Potassium is important for blood pressure regulation. 

The soluble fiber in the skin delays digestion, which helps to keep levels of glucose in check. Soluble fiber also aids in the prevention of constipation and the relief of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.

How to eat courgettes?

Courgettes can be prepared and cooked in a variety of ways. Young courgettes are wonderfully shredded into ribbons or thinly chopped into a salad and garnished simply with chili, minced mint, lemon, and extra virgin olive oil. 

Courgettes can be sautéed, roasted, grilled, barbecued, or added to desserts for a delicious treat. Stuffed courgettes are available in larger sizes. The blooms are also delicious, and filling them with ricotta and mint is a delightful combination.

It’s fine to keep courgettes at room temperature if you expect to use them within two days after purchasing them. Otherwise, keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Always buy small, strong courgettes with smooth skins and brilliant green or yellow color should be weighty for their size.

Courgettes do not require peeling; simply clip the ends and cook whole or cut into pieces or strips before washing.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question, “Are courgettes safe to eat?”. We discussed in depth the health benefits and risks of eating courgettes. We also looked at different ways to eat courgettes.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.

References

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jul/29/good-for-you-courgettes-food-and-drink-health-and-wellbeing
https://www.jamieoliver.com/vegepedia/courgette/
https://www.waitrose.com/home/recipes/food_glossary/courgette.html

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.