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Summer Squash: Selecting, Nutritional Information, Home Canning & Freezing Instructions and Recipes!

Summer Squash: Selecting, Nutritional Information, Home Canning & Freezing Instructions and Recipes!

summer squashSummer Squash Picking Tips and Varieties

Summer squash comes in many varieties and sizes. Choosing a summer squash that meets your needs and the taste you will like can be tough without a guide!  This page provides you that information, plus nutritional analysis and links to our freezing and canning pages!

Summer squash is best when harvested very young and used right away,

The yellow and orange flesh of the summer squash is nutritious and rich in vitamins,


Picking summer squash

Summer squash comes in many sizes, flavors, shapes and colors.


Younger small summer squash are almost always better, with firmer flesh and smaller seeds


For a quality squash, choose one that has a smooth, shiny skin and is free of cracks, wrinkles or soft spots. .

Picking the squash

It's best to use a knife and cut through the stem that attaches the squash to the rest of the plant. Some squashes can be snapped off without a knife but you may damage the plant, so a knife is best. 

Storing Summer Squash

Summer squash do not have a long shelf life and require refrigeration except for a few hours. Even in a fridge, they should be used within a few days as they will begin to become soft and dry out after a few days. Cut pieces of squash should be tightly wrapped and refrigerated. Luckily, cut squash can be frozen for use later. .

Varieties of Summer Squash

Below are the most popular summer squash varieties. Each variety has its own unique flavor and texture, making them versatile ingredients in a variety of dishes

Name Photo Description Best uses
Zucchini   Versatile and can be used in various dishes such as saute's, stir-fries, grilled, roasted, or baked into bread or muffins.
Straight, cylindrical green squash with a smooth skin.
Yellow Crookneck   Distinctive curved neck with yellow skin and a bulbous base.
Ideal for grilling, saute'ing, or as a colorful addition to salads and soups.
Costata Romanesco   Ribbed Italian zucchini with dark green stripes. Perfect for slicing and grilling, or used in pasta dishes and frittatas.
Cousa   Middle Eastern variety with light green or pale yellow skin. Often stuffed and baked, used in stews, or sliced and added to soups.
Eight Ball   Small, round zucchini with dark green skin. Perfect for stuffing, grilling, or slicing into rounds for saute's and stir-fries.
Greyzini   Unique hybrid between zucchini and pattypan squash. Can be used interchangeably with zucchini and pattypan in various recipes.
Pattypan   Small, round or scallop-shaped squash with pale green or yellow skin. Great for stuffing, roasting, steaming, or slicing and using in stir-fries or salads.
Sunburst   Small, scallop-shaped squash with yellow skin and scalloped edges. Great for grilling, saute'ing, or using as an attractive garnish for dishes.
Ronde de Nice   Small, round zucchini with pale green skin. Ideal for stuffing, roasting, or slicing and adding to soups and stews.
Yellow Crookneck   Distinctive curved neck with yellow skin and a bulbous base.
Ideal for grilling, saute'ing, or as a colorful addition to salads and soups.
Yellow Straightneck   Similar to yellow crookneck, but with a straight neck and yellow skin. Excellent for grilling, saute'ing, or slicing into salads and stir-fries.


Cooking Summer Squashes

Summer squash can be cooked in various ways, each bringing out different flavors and textures. Here are some popular cooking methods for summer squash:

  •  Saute'ing:
    - Heat a small amount of oil or butter in a skillet over medium heat.
    - Slice or dice the squash and add it to the skillet.
    - Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender and lightly browned.
    - Season with salt, pepper, and any desired herbs or spices.
  •  Grilling:
    - Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
    - Slice the squash lengthwise or into thick rounds.
    - Brush the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    - Grill for a few minutes on each side until tender and grill marks appear.
    - Serve as a side dish or use in salads, sandwiches, or other recipes.
  •  Roasting:
    - Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
    - Slice the squash into uniform pieces or leave them whole if they're small.
    - Toss the squash with olive oil, salt, and any desired herbs or spices.
    - Spread the squash in a single layer on a baking sheet.
    - Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is tender and golden brown.
  •  Steaming:
    - Fill a pot with a few inches of water and place a steamer basket inside.
    - Slice or cut the squash into desired shapes and sizes.
    - Place the squash in the steamer basket and cover the pot.
    - Steam for about 5-7 minutes or until the squash is tender but still slightly crisp.
    - Season with salt, pepper, and herbs, or use as a base for other dishes.
  • Stir-frying:
    - Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat and add oil.
    - Slice or julienne the squash and add it to the hot pan.
    - Stir-fry for a few minutes until the squash is crisp-tender and lightly browned.
    - Add any desired vegetables, seasonings, or sauces and continue cooking until everything is cooked through.

    - Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and some flesh to create a hollow.
    - Fill the hollow with a stuffing mixture, such as cooked grains, cheese, herbs, and breadcrumbs.
    - Place the stuffed squash in a baking dish and bake in the oven until the filling is cooked and the squash is tender.
  • Raw in Salads:
    - Slice or shave the squash into thin strips or rounds.
    - Toss the raw squash with other salad ingredients like greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and dressings.
    - Enjoy the crunchy texture and fresh flavor of the raw squash in salads.


Other Picking Tips

[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pick and why!]  [Picking tips for Vegetables] [ Strawberry picking tips] [ Blueberries picking tips]










Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes

[ Easy Home Canning Directions] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]