Dark Green Zucchini Seeds!
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The delicate flavor, soft shell and creamy white flesh of summer squash is a perfect addition to any summer meal. While especially plentiful in the U.S. marketplace during the summer months, summer squash is actually available through the year. Summer squashes, members of the Cucurbitaceae family and relatives of both the melon and the cucumber, come in many different varieties. While each variety may have a distinct shape, color, size and flavor, all varieties share some common characteristics. Regardless of variety, all parts of summer squash are edible, including the flesh, seeds and skin. Some varieties of squash also produce edible flowers. Unlike winter squash, summer squash are more fragile and cannot be stored for long periods of time unless frozen. For Native Americans, squashes were considered as one of the "three sisters" along with corn (maize) and beans.
What's New and Beneficial about Summer Squash
Although summer squash has long been recognized as an important food source of carotenoids, only recently have research studies documented just how fantastic summer squash can be when it comes to these key antioxidants. For some groups of study participants, summer squash turns out to be the primary food source of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene in the entire diet! For lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin (three other health-supportive carotenoids) summer squash also comes out among the top three food sources in several studies.
When we think about food and antioxidants, what first comes to mind might be fresh fruit and vitamin C, or bright orange carrots and beta-carotene. Yet several recent studies have underscored the unique contribution made by summer squash to our antioxidant requirements. While not as rich in some of the more widely-publicized antioxidants like beta-carotene, summer squash is a very strong source of other key antioxidant nutrients, including the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Since the skin of this food is particularly antioxidant-rich, it's worth leaving the skin intact and purchasing summer squash to help avoid potential unwanted contaminants.
If you usually microwave or boil your summer squash, you'll be interested to know this: steaming is much better than either of these two methods in terms of nutrient retention. New evidence shows that summer squash can retain a large amount of its antioxidant activity after steaming. Using zucchini as their summer squash, researchers found that steaming was a better way to preserve zucchini's antioxidant activity than boiling or microwaving. Interestingly, even previously frozen zucchini held on to its antioxidant activity fairly well after steaming. These findings are great news for anyone enjoys steamed vegetables and who sometimes needs to freeze surplus vegetables for later use.
We tend to think about squashes, both summer and winter, as starchy vegetables. This thinking is correct, since about 85-90% of the total calories in squashes (as a group) come from carbohydrate, and about half of this carbohydrate is starch-like in composition and composed of polysaccharides. But we also tend to think about polysaccharides as stagnant storage forms for starch that cannot do much for us in terms of unique health benefits. Here our thinking is way off target! Recent research has shown that the polysaccharides in summer squash include an unusual amount of pectin—a specially structured polysaccharide that often include special chains of D-galacturonic acid called homogalacturonan. It's this unique polysaccharide composition in summer squash that is being linked in repeated animal studies to protection against diabetes and better regulation of insulin. We expect to see future studies on humans confirming these same types of benefits from consumption of summer squash.
As a general rule, summer squash has not been as thoroughly studied from a health benefit standpoint as many of the other World's Healthiest Foods. Much of the research evidence specific to summer squash and its health benefits comes from animal versus human studies, and these research studies often look at squash as an overall food group rather than examining specific benefits from summer (versus winter) squash. However, in spite of these research limitations, there are still well-documented health benefits that are offered to us by summer squash!
No category of health benefits from summer squash is better researched than the category of antioxidant benefits. As an excellent source of manganese and a very good source of vitamin C. summer squash provides us with a great combination of conventional antioxidant nutrients. But it also contains an unusual amount of other antioxidant nutrients, including the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants are especially helpful in antioxidant protection of the eye, including protection against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. While we often think first about carrots as providing us with antioxidant-related eye health benefits, we also need to start including summer squash in our list of antioxidant-rich foods that can provide us with health benefits in this area.
If properly handled and prepared, summer squash also provides us with special antioxidant advantages in terms of its antioxidant stability. Recent research has confirmed strong retention of antioxidant activity in summer squash after steaming. Research has also confirmed excellent retention of antioxidant activity in summer squash after freezing. These findings mean that the antioxidant benefits of summer squash are available to us under a wide variety of circumstances. We have the option of enjoying raw summer squash, briefly steamed summer squash, and previously frozen summer squash while still coming away with well-documented antioxidant health benefits.
Zucchini plants can be started from seed either indoors, or directly in the garden. You should start your zucchini seedlings indoors about 2 weeks before your last frost date. Zucchini grow very long roots, so start your seeds in small pots that are several inches deep and be very careful not to break the roots when you transplant. The seeds should be planted about 1 inch below the surface of your potting soil.
Because you can get 16 or more fruits per vine, you really don’t need that many plants. Three or four is usually enough for a family. If you get too over-zealous, you will almost certainly be overrun with zucchini at harvest time.
Alternatively, you can sow the seeds directly outdoors after the threat of frost is past and the soil has warmed up. See the transplanting section for more on planting right into the garden.
Terms and conditions, READ THIS PLEASE: Orders over $14 from this ad will be shipped with tracking, Otherwise: Seeds will be shipped economy/standard or first class 2-10 day shipping (NO TRACKING and no planting instructions to keep seed costs to the buyer low), in a ziplock baggie. Our goal is to save you money on quality seeds. We are responsible sellers, and we make sure our buyers are well taken care of. Shipped within 2 business days after payment. We are a seller that caters to experienced gardeners. (germination and plant care information is readily available online, but if you can’t find germinating and care instructions, please feel free to message us). Most of our listings include germination instructions, so we do not ship growing instructions. Multiple orders of a single item will be combined into 1 ziplock. We are not responsible for buyer germination success, seeds have been tested. Seed count is approximate, and packaged by weight. Seeds vary in size, weight is exact, and based upon empirical count, quantity is estimated. Liability of seller is limited to the cost of the item(s).
Zellajake Farm and Garden: "Seeds for all your planting needs" since 2013