Eating Zucchini Raw: Harmless or Dangerous?

Zucchini are a healthy vegetable that you can also easily grow yourself. On top of that, you can prepare the green squash in a variety of ways: fried, boiled, gratinated, grilled or pickled. But can zucchini be eaten raw?

The zucchini season is long, depending on the weather, the vegetables can be harvested here from June to October. Anyone who grows the green vegetables themselves can usually look forward to the first harvest from the middle to the end of June and can always eat fresh home-grown zucchinis throughout the summer months.

And that pays off: in addition to a lot of water, courgettes contain important vitamins, minerals and iron. But is it better to eat the summer vegetables raw or rather heated, i.e. boiled or fried?

Eating zucchini raw: the benefits and dangers

Zucchini belong to the pumpkin family. Green courgettes are the most common, but there are also yellow and white courgettes. Zucchini can be used to prepare delicious vegetable side dishes, stews and casseroles or cook zucchini noodles (zoodles) – zucchini is also a highlight when grilled. But many eat zucchini raw. Is that healthy or rather a concern?

Basically, there is nothing wrong with eating zucchini raw. On the contrary, raw zucchini are even healthy: the vitamins and nutrients contained in the raw zucchini are retained in any case – they could be lost during cooking.

The zucchini peel contains the most vitamins. It is therefore best to use organic zucchini, then there are guaranteed no synthetic pesticide residues on the skin. With organic goods, it is sufficient to wash the courgettes with water, you do not need to peel the vegetables.

Eat zucchini from your own cultivation raw?

You can usually eat bought zucchini raw without hesitation. Because only cultivated zucchini varieties are sold. These do not contain the bitter substance cucurbitacine or only in small amounts.

However, the zucchini from your own garden could be contaminated with cucurbitacins due to backcrossing. Then you must not eat them raw or cooked, because the bitter substance is retained even when heated.

Also read: Grow zucchini yourself? When that can be toxic

Beware of bitter zucchini

You can quickly tell whether the zucchini contains cucurbitacine by the taste: if the zucchini tastes very bitter, you should never eat it. Because the contained cucurbitacins can lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is best to dispose of bitter zucchini in the organic waste.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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