The Culprit of Bitter Zucchini

cucurbitacin_eOne of our favorite meals is sauteed zucchini, toasted pine nuts, fresh basil, coarsely chopped Uglyripes and pasta (and salt, pepper and olive oil of course). It's lightning-fast to prepare, is eaten slightly warm to room temperature and the leftovers make a killer frittata. However, recently our local market has been selling us zucchini that's pretty darn bitter.

I poked around the web looking for the cause. Apparently, a class of steroids called Cucurbitacins (depicted is Cucurbitacin E) are responsible for making eggplant, cucumbers and various varieties of squash bitter. Produce Pete (who, incidentally, should put up a blog) suggests selecting zucchini that are small and shiny. The larger the fruit the more likely they are to possess these bittering agents.

We here at Dave's Beer are contemplating soaking a split zucchini in brine (akin to the treatment some give Eggplant) to remedy the situation. Anyone ever try this? Leave your experience in the comments. Thanks.