At this time of year, courgettes grow fast and furious. If gardeners or allotment holders overlook them for a few days, modestly proportioned specimens will rapidly reinvent themselves as marrows. But small is beautiful. British courgettes are best now, when they are finger-slim, sweet, and slightly nutty-tasting, before they turn into bloated water bombs.
Courgettes appear to keep well in the fridge, but they become bitter over time, so it's more important to eat them fresh than you might think. The less liquid added to them, the better. Courgettes are excellent cooked on a cast-iron grill or barbecue, then drizzled with olive oil and herbs. A crumbly garnish of salty white cheese doesn't go amiss. They make the basis for an interesting veggie main course grated in a Greek or Turkish-style fritter, with lots of chopped dill.
Why are courgettes good for me? Courgettes contain very few calories and have a high water content, which makes them a dieter's friend. They aren't a powerhouse of micronutrients, but they do provide useful amounts of immune system-boosting vitamin C, and significant levels of potassium, which is key to controlling blood pressure. The soluble fibre in the skin slows down digestion, and so stabilises blood sugar and insulin levels. Soluble fibre also helps prevent constipation and relieves irritable bowel symptoms.