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zucchini

What Are The Nutritional Benefits of Zucchini?

Zucchini juice tonic with ginger & lemon

Ever wondered what to do with leftover zucchini juice when making shredded zucchini fritters, muffins or low-carb pizza crust? By all means, don’t throw it down the sink! Instead, make this quick and easy immune-boosting zucchini juice tonic with added ginger and lemon. Have it as a shooter or dilute with some ice or water, and feel energised, hydrated and nourished from within.

Whenever you grate zucchini for baking or quiches, you should squeeze the flesh to get rid of excess juice from the vegetable. This ensures that zucchini doesn’t give out all that liquid into your dish, which can turn whatever you’re making into a soggy mess.

After grating two medium zucchinis, you will usually have quite a bit of leftover juice. What do you do with it? It can be tempting to pour it out but you’ll be wasting precious nutrients and an opportunity to hydrate with something delicious.

You can use leftover zucchini juice in soups and stews but I recently started making these ginger and lemon tonic shooters and I can’t get enough of them. In fact, I seek out recipes using grated zucchini just so I have leftover juice to play with.

Benefits of this zucchini juice tonic

Zucchini juice contains the same nutrients as the vegetable (minus the fibre) and is rich in folic acid, Vitamins C,  K, manganese and antioxidants such as carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, most of which are found in the skin of the zucchini (where the colour is). Zucchini is also very hydrating.

Ginger is an amazing superfood and contains nutrients and compounds with many proven health benefits and powerful medicinal properties. While lemon juice has potent antioxidant properties, helps to fight cold and flu and assists with digestion.

Together, these three ingredients create a powerful combo that helps to boost the immune system, stimulates digestion, lowers inflammation and much more. This zucchini juice tonic tastes invigorating and zingy and you can feel all those vitamins and nutrients rushing through your body.

How to shred zucchini

Obviously, you can simply use a juicer or a blender to extract the zucchini liquid, especially if you’re not planning to use the grated flesh in cooking. I often use grated zucchini to make fritters, muffins, cakes and quiches, so I use the larger hole of a hand-held grater. Wash the zucchini well and grate it together with the skin.

Some people recommend to sprinkle zucchini with salt and leave it for a few minutes to draw out the juice. Don’t do this if you want to make the tonic! Unless you like salty, briny juice.

Once grated, take a handful of the flesh in your hands and squeeze it over another bowl to catch all the juices. Set the flesh aside for further use. Continue with the rest of the zucchini and squeeze as hard as you can.

Adding ginger and lemon juices

To make ginger juice, I simply grate a knob of ginger (with the skin on is fine) into the same bowl as the zucchini juice. Then add the lemon juice and mix it altogether. Finally, strain all of the combined juice through a sieve into a jug or a cup to filter out any zucchini pieces and ginger flesh. Press any caught flesh in the sieve with your fingers or the back of the spoon to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

Sweeten the zucchini juice tonic with a teaspoon or half a teaspoon of honey, maple syrup or other preferred sweetener and you’re ready to shoot.

How long will the tonic keep?

I always think that freshly squeezed juice is best if consumed right away but if you want to make a larger batch or you have some leftovers, simply store it in an airtight jar or bottle in the fridge for up to 3 days.

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