Courgettes have a mild, fruity and slightly nutty taste. If the zucchini tastes bitter, then you should definitely avoid it.Stop eating when the taste is bitter!
Those who have not experienced it themselves can hardly believe it. The delicious, slightly fruity and nutty zucchini can taste bitter. But be careful: then they are toxic. In 2015, a man even died of poisoning due to a bitter zucchini. Although this is the only registered case so far, the fact is that the bitter taste of a zucchini indicates toxins.
Here we inform you about the formation of these toxins and recommend effective precautionary measures.
Where does the bitter taste of zucchini come from?
The bitter taste is due to deposited cucurbitacine. Zucchini and closely related plants such as pumpkins and cucumbers produce these bitter substances to protect them from predators. The enrichment in wild varieties is significantly higher than in cultivars and increases with the size of the zucchini.
What precautions can be taken?Harvest your zucchini when it is relatively small. Not only because of the poison, but also because of the much better taste.
Never cultivate zucchini together with decorative gourds. The accumulation of cucurbitacins in ornamental gourds was not reduced by breeding, since the plants are not intended for consumption. Due to the close relationship between zucchini and gourds, the plants can cross. If you use the seeds of your zucchini as seeds for the next year, the likelihood that more cucurbitacins will deposit will increase.Never expose your zucchini to long dry periods. Heat and drought promote the deposition of the toxins.
If you want to rule out any risk, you should only buy seeds from gardening retailers. The first generation zucchini are certainly free of cucurbitacins.
What to do with bitter zucchini?
If you notice a bitter taste, you must dispose of the zucchini completely. Composting is possible without risk. Cucurbitacins are completely broken down in the compost and do not get back into your garden if you spread compost in the beds. However, heat does not destroy the bitter substances. Therefore, contaminated zucchini remain poisonous even when cooked.
What are the symptoms after eating?
Typical human body reactions to cucurbitacine include nausea and nausea. If you notice these symptoms after eating zucchini, you should immediately consult a doctor. However, it is much better if you stop eating immediately at the first sign of the bitter taste.
However, if you ignore the bitter taste and eat large amounts of contaminated zucchini, you are exposing yourself to serious health risks. In the very rare extreme case, poisoning by cucurbitacine can even lead to death.