Summer Squash


Summer Squash is the fruit (vegetable) of a gourd that is highly perishable and the skin and seeds can be eaten.
The name summer squash refers to a number of varieties of thin skinned squashes that are primarily grown and harvested in the summer months. Varieties include; zucchini, scallop squash, patty pan squash, crookneck squash, straightneck squash, and cocozelle squash.


Other names: cocozelle squash, patty pan squash, scallop squash, crookneck squash, yellow squash, zucchini
Translations: Summer Skvoša, Vasaros Skvošas, Vara Squash, Ljeto Squash, Mùa hè Bóng quần, Sommer Squash, Летний Сквош, Καλοκαίρι Squash, الصيف الاسكواش, 여름 스쿼시, Letní Squash, 西葫芦, Calabacitas, Letné Squash, קיץ סקווש, Лето сквош, サマースカッシュ, Courgettes, गर्मी स्क्वैश, Carabasseta, Літній Сквош, Kesäkurpitsa, Лято скуош

Physical Description

For best flavor and most tender seeds, squash should be picked young, from 6 to 10 inches long. Pattypan, a saucer-shaped squash, should be no more than 4 inches in diameter.

Colors: Yellow, white, green, green and white striped, pale green or cream colored depending on the variety.

Tasting Notes

Flavors: Bitter, Sweet
Mouthfeel: Crisp, Juicy, Tender
Food complements: Use herbs and spices to enhance the flavor of mild summer squash. dill, Pepper, Basil, Marjoram, Chives
Wine complements: Chardonnay
Beverage complements: Iced green tea
Substitutes: Zucchini, Patty pan squash, Crookneck squash

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: may, june, july, august, september
Peak: may, june, july, august, september
Choosing: Summer squash bruises easily and should be handled with care. Look for firm, glossy skin; fairly heavy for size. Stored in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator, they should keep for a week. Freezing softens the flesh of the squash, but it will still be usable in casseroles and other dishes where crispness is not important
Buying: Available at markets yearround and in the mid to late summer at farmers markets.
Procuring: Summer squash is easy to grow either from seed or seedlings. They require fun sun and regular watering.
Plant anytime after the danger of frost has passed, from early spring until midsummer. Some gardeners have two main plantings - one for early summer harvest and another for late summer and fall harvest. Any well-drained garden soil produces excellent yields of summer squash. Certain mulches increase earliness and yields, because the roots are shallow.

Preparation and Use

A summer squash casserole recipe.

* 1/4 cup chopped onions
* 3 tablespoons butter
* 3 hard cooked eggs, chopped
* 3 summer squash, diced, about 3 cups
* 2 eggs, beaten
* 1/3 cup half-and-half
* 1/4 cup soft bread crumbs tossed with 1 tablespoons melted butter

In a saucepan, sauté onion in butter. In a large bowl, combine onions and butter with summer squash and chopped hard cooked eggs. Place squash mixture in a greased 1 1/2-quart casserole. Mix beaten eggs with half-and-half; pour over squash in casserole. Sprinkle top with buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Cleaning: Rinse lightly.

Conserving and Storing

Summer squash only keeps for a few days; store it in your refrigerator's crisper drawer. It's best when you can cut it directly off your plant and eaten the same day.


For dieters and health enthusiasts, squash is a great addition to a healthy eating lifestyle. It is high in fiber and contains vitamin C,
beta-carotene, and folate. These nutrients make summer squash a tool in preventing cancers, heart disease, and diseases of inflammation such as arthritis and asthma.

History: Remains of the squash have been found in Central America and Mexico dating back as far as 7000 BC. From its southern origin, squash spread throughout North America. The name squash is apparently derived from the Algonquin "askoot asquash", meaning "eaten green". The plant found its way to Europe when the early explorers returned home.



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