Summer Squashes and How to Cook Them

We’re all pretty familiar with zucchini, the cucumber-lookin’ squash with a mild flavor and a lot of versatility. But what about zucchini’s other summer siblings? Here’s a list of some summer squashes you’ll see popping up all over produce stands in the next few months, and a few ways to cook them!

Zucchini (Courgette)

Zucchini

Zucchini is the most widely known summer squash, and one of the most versatile. These squashes will grow like weeds in home gardens throughout the summer, and most growers tend to have a crazy abundance of this vegetable all season long! With so much zucchini, it’s no surprise that there are hundreds of ways to prepare this vegetable. From crisp and savory zucchini chips to low-carb zucchini “noodles” the possibilities are endless. Check out the recipes below! (You can always substitute with yellow zucchini, which is the same as zucchini, just with yellow skin. See also: Romanesco squash, which is basically zucchini with ridges and often a lighter skin.)

We weren’t kidding when we said it’s SUPER versatile!

Yellow Crookneck Summer Squash

Image Source: Blue Apron

Image Source: Blue Apron

Yellow crookneck squash is often overlooked for its bright green cousin, but don’t skip over this yellow summer squash. It’s a little denser than the zucchini varieties, which means it can stand up to longer cooking times, and won’t turn super mushy when you give it a quick grilling. They’re also great raw, so feel free to slice a few matchstick-size pieces to top a salad, sandwich, or appetizer.

Pattypan or Sunburst Squash

Pattypan (Sunburst) Squash

Image Source: Frugal Nutrition

This summer squash presents a pretty picture, but often a confused chef. Sometimes called Pattypan and sometimes called Sunburst, these small little squashes are adorable, and often used as garnishes, especially at buffet tables. Beyond that, many people have no idea how to cook them! However, they have a buttery squash flavor and a slightly dense texture, making them a great option for unique summer dishes.

Squash Blossoms

Image Source: The Garum Factory

Image Source: The Garum Factory

Everyone’s favorite time of year: fried squash blossom season. A Southern delicacy, fried squash blossoms are made by stuffing the blossoms of the zucchini plant with anything from cheese and sausage to crab and vegetables, then breading and deep frying them. You can also find freshly stuffed squash blossoms served cold, and more! These blossoms are the perfect shape and size for stuffing,

8-Ball Squash/Round Squash

After pattypan, 8-ball or round squash is the next coolest thing! A totally round squash, these look much more like the rotund fall and winter gourds than the slimmer summer squashes. They’re easy to use, with a flavor much like zucchini, but they look like a round “8-ball” from the billiard table. The shape is actually a bit easier to work with, making them a perfect vessel for hearty stuffings. You can even use the larger ones as soup bowls!

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