Where Did Zucchini Come From?

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All squashes, including zucchini, originated in the Americas. Archaeologists have found evidence of zucchini in Mexico as early as 7000 BC. Ancient Central Americans ate a diet rich in corn, beans and squash, a combination known today as "the three sisters." The zucchini itself is actually the immature fruit of the cucurbita pepo plant.

Explorers

  • When European explorers conquered the region in the 1500s, they brought back exotic foods from the New World, including zucchini.

Names

  • In Italy, zucchini became known as zucchino. The French and English name is courgette.

Colonial America

  • The American colonists developed the word "squash" from several Native American terms meaning "something eaten raw."

Famous Ties

  • George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were avid horticulturalists who grew many varieties of squash.

Related Plant

  • The cocozelle, a relative of the zucchini, was developed in Italy and is smaller and striped.

Hybrids

  • New zucchini hybrids are being developed today, including some crossed with the fluted patty pan squash.

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References

  • Photo Credit morguefile.com
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