The courgette is an annual herbaceous plant of the Cucurbitaceae family; its scientific name is Cucurbita Pepo.
It has creeping stems, large bristly lobed leaves and edible yellow flowers. Like the squash, the courgette comes in many forms: long and bendy, cylindrical, round or pear-shaped. Whatever their shape, all varieties share a more or less mottled green colour.
Like the squash, the courgette came from the Americas, and only appeared in Italian cuisine in the 17th century, when it was an immediate hit.
The flowers, buds and mature fruit of the courgette are eaten in a variety of recipes.
Courgettes are 95% water and contain very few calories; their flavour is mild but distinctive. They are rich in vitamins A and C and carotenoids, which give them a significant antioxidant effect.
Their relaxing properties have been common knowledge for centuries, and they were eaten to facilitate sleep and alleviate fatigue.