Welcome to our Zucchini Baby Food Recipes section – and if you’ve arrived here looking for Courgette Baby Food Recipes, don’t worry… you’re in the right place!
Zucchini (or Italian squash) – a popular summer squash – is also known as a courgette in many parts of the world… and to confuse matters even more, some people also call it a vegetable marrow!
To keep things simple, however, we’ll stick to the name ‘zucchini’ in the recipes on this page!
When you think of vegetables to use for making baby food, you may not immediately think of zucchini.
But zucchini …
All in all, these characteristics make it a useful addition to baby’s diet!
*Whilst zucchini does provide nutritional value to the diet, it doesn’t attain the ‘Super Food’ status of its cousin, the winter squash (butternut squash and spaghetti squash, for example).
This is because winter squashes are harvested when mature (hence the thick, tough skin) and summer squashes (including zucchini) are harvested when immature.
You can introduce zucchini to your baby from 6 months of age (although you should always check with your doctor before introducing any new foods into your baby’s diet).
Zucchini puree – whilst easy to make – is probably not the best choice for baby’s very first food, however.
But zucchini – served alone as a puree – tends to be on the runny side, because it has a very large water content. The best option is to serve it ‘partnered up’ with another puree your baby is already enjoying!
Good partners include…
Almost ALL the nutrients in zucchini are contained in the peel – so we do NOT recommend peeling zucchini for your baby.
This is actually true of many fruits and vegetables (see our article – Should I Peel Fruits and Vegetables for my Baby?).
Zucchini skin is very tender and seems to puree quite well – and, although you can still see the ‘bits’ of skin in the puree, they are usually so soft that they don’t tend to cause any problems with gagging.
However, some parents prefer to peel zucchini if they are concerned that their babies may have difficulty in digesting the skins.
Our babies ate zucchini – skins and all – from 6 months of age with no digestive issues at all, but it’s very important to remember that what works for one baby may not work for another!
That being said, we’d actually recommend delaying zucchini until later in baby’s first year rather than removing the skin – peeled zucchini really offers very little in the way of nutrients.
No – the seeds in zucchini are very soft and tender and are easy to puree or mash.
Do, however, beware of particularly large zucchini or those with a hard skin.
The seeds will likely be harder, too – and less suitable for use in your baby food recipes.
As mentioned above, zucchini is a small summer squash which is picked when the seeds are immature. If you’re lucky enough to find zucchini available with the flowers still attached, then you can be sure they’ve been picked at the perfect time and are very fresh.
Zucchini is similar in shape to the cucumber and can be green, pale green or yellow – usually striped and sometimes speckled.
Always look for small zucchini (5 to 6 inches or so) – they are superior to larger ones in both texture and taste.
Avoid those that have ‘squashy’ spots – the skin should be glossy and blemish free.
You can store them in the refrigerator for around 3 days. Unlike winter squash, zucchini are delicate – make sure they’re completely dry when you refrigerate them, or you may find they begin to develop soft, sunken patches.
It is possible to freeze fresh zucchini – but beware! Because of their high water content, their texture changes completely once frozen. On thawing, they will become decidedly mushy – not too much of a problem if you’re using them in a stew or soup – but not so appealing if you were planning to serve them alone!
One of the best things about zucchini is the ease of its preparation!
Simply wash thoroughly under running water, cut off both ends, then slice or dice according to the recipe you’re following!
Zucchini is extremely versatile…
It can be boiled (in a VERY little water), sauted, steamed, microwaved, stuffed or barbecued! You can even grate it and add it to your bread or muffin recipes – it adds moisture and a welcome boost of nutrition.
If you DO use zucchini in your baking, remember that you may need to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe to compensate for the extra moisture in the zucchini.
Wash the zucchini, remove the top and bottom, then cut it into slices. Steam them for a few minutes, until tender.
If you prefer to boil the slices, you need just a little water – because the water content of zucchini is already so high! Cook only to the point where the zucchini becomes tender – overcooking reduces the nutritional value and turns them to a mush!
Once cooked, transfer the zucchini to a food processor and blend until smooth – you shouldn’t need to add any extra liquid.
…however, it may seem even more watery when thawed!
This can sometimes be remedied by giving it a good stir – or read our article How to Thicken Baby Food Purees for some other methods!
Raw zucchini makes a nice addition to salads and can be grated or even sliced into sticks.
Whilst some older babies may enjoy it as a finger food, the texture may pose a challenge (and therefore a choking hazard) for others.
Use your discretion – based on your baby’s development – when offering uncooked zucchini to your baby.
Zucchini has such a delicate flavour that you can easily add it to other dishes without altering their taste.
This can come in rather handy if your little one refuses to eat veggies – sneaking some zucchini puree into a pasta sauce, for example, means you can ensure your tot gets the nutrition he needs without him even realizing!
Try adding sliced, diced or pureed zucchini to your baby’s soups, stews and casseroles.