Summer Squash Types

Summer Squash Types:

One of the best things about summer squash versus winter squash is that they are completely edible, the skin, seeds and flesh, which means they can be eaten raw. However, summer squash are much more fragile than winter squash and do not keep as long. There are many varieties of summer squash to choose from, the most commonly found are:

Zucchini: Zucchini can be dark or light green, and generally have a similar shape to a ridged cucumber. A related hybrid, the golden zucchini is a deep yellow or orange color. When used for food, zucchini are usually picked when under 8 in. in length, when the seeds are still soft and immature. Mature zucchini can be as much as three feet long, but the larger ones are often fibrous and not appetizing to eat.

Yellow Squash:  It has mildly sweet and watery flesh and thin tender skins that for many recipes don’t need to be peeled off.  The squash grows on vined plants reaching 2 to 3 ft in height that thrive in mild weather.  It is often used in recipes interchangeably with zucchini in which it is fried, microwaved, steamed, boiled, or baked.

Pattypan: Its small size, round and shallow shape, and scalloped edges, somewhat resembles a small toy top, or flying saucer. Pattypan comes in yellow, green, and white varieties. The squash is most tender when relatively immature; it is generally served when it is no more than two to three inches in diameter.

Summer Crookneck Squash: They have bumpy, yellow skin and sweet flesh. The taste is closer to winter squashes than to summer squashes, although it is a short-season bearer.  The squash taste best when harvested at approximately 6 inches in length

Straightneck Squash: Also called yellow zucchini, good-quality yellow Straightneck should be firm, smooth-skinned and small in size. The surface will shiny and bright yellow in color. Large squash will be less tender than smaller product.

Winter Squash Types:

Winter squash comes in many shapes, sizes and varieties. Some of the more well-known squashes are:

Acorn: A smaller variety with ridged skin and color ranging from a beige or buff to orange to dark green. It is one of the most widely available and has sweet and smooth-tasting flesh with a somewhat stringy texture.

Buttercup: This is a square and stocky variety with a turban-shaped top that becomes bigger as the squash matures. It is green in color with orange flesh that is somewhat dry and dense with a taste that is similar to sweet potatoes with a nutty flavor, as well.

Butternut: A very good all-purpose squash with a soft beige color, wide bottom and thick, narrow neck. The neck is solid flesh while the wider bottom contains the seed cavity. When cooked, the flesh is bright orange, firm, moist and has a creamy texture.

Hubbard: This is a very large squash with extremely hard skin. They have an irregular shape with tapered ends and blue-gray skin. The flesh is very moist and dense and is good for pie-making.

Kabocha: A smaller variety, kabocha ranges in color from orange to green and is rough-skinned with very dense flesh. The flavor of this squash is rich and sweet when cooked.

Pumpkin: This variety ranges in size from quite small to very large, the smaller sizes containing sweet, firm flesh. It has a round shape and orange color and is popular for making Jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween.

Spaghetti: An oblong shaped variety with a thin, hard shell and golden yellow skin. The flesh is very fibrous, resembling spaghetti when cooked, with a sweet and mild taste. The larger this squash becomes, the thicker the fibrous strands of the flesh will be.

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