Zucchini and Squash

Types of Zucchini and Squash

Types, Selection and Storage

Zucchini are also called courgettes and can greatly range in size depending on maturity. Zucchini can also be dark or pale green or yellow. The most common type of squash are button squash also called pattipan squash. Button squash can be bright green to deep yellow in colour. Choose glossy skinned squash and zucchini with few blemishes. Avoid squash and zucchini that are soft or spongy. Zucchini flowers are edible and have a very short shelf life so should be used soon after purchase. Store unwashed zucchini and squash in the crisper section of the refrigerator, washing promotes decay.

Availability

Squash and zucchini are available all year round but are best in the summer months. Zucchini flowers are only readily available in summer-autumn.

Using

Zucchini and squash do not need to be peeled. When zucchini and squash are more mature they can have a large amount of seeds which can be removed from the centre of the vegetable before use. Mature zucchini and squash are good with their seeds removed then stuffed and baked. Young zucchini can be eaten thinly sliced and raw. Zucchini and squash can also be baked, grilled, barbequed, stir fried, fried, braised, boiled and steamed. Zucchini slices can be battered and made into chips. Zucchini and squash can become waterlogged so are best cooked in a little water and butter and oil rather than boiled or steamed. Small zucchini can be pickled similarly to cucumbers. Zucchini flowers can be stuffed, battered and deep fried, unstuffed flowers can be chopped and fried and added to risottos, pasta or omelettes.

Nutrition Information

Summer squash varieties are a source of fibre, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, riboflavin, niacin, zinc, and vitamins A, B6 and C.

Zucchini

Also called courgettes. Regular green zucchini is generally sold when between 20-40cm in length. Younger zucchini are generally more tender than more mature, bigger zucchini though some people prefer the more developed flavour of larger zucchini. Flesh is white and crisp.

Availability

All year round.

Zucchini Flowers

Zucchini plants develop two types of zucchini flowers, male and female. Both types are used in cooking. The female flower is larger with a sweeter stem. The male flower is generally smaller with a thin stem. Choose fresh looking flowers and use soon after buying. Remove stamens, anthers and ovaries before cooking.

Availability

Peak season is from November-May but flowers are available at other times of the year.

Squash

Squash can be pale green to dark yellow depending on the variety. Squash has a mild flavour and soft edible seeds. Squash is delicate so look for glossy, unmarked squash and treat carefully.

Availability

Available most of the year.