31 Days of Vegetables

Summer Squash: The Best Ways to Pick It, Cook It, and Eat It

updated Jul 14, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

While zucchini seems to suck up the summer squash spotlight, let’s not ignore its sunnier, brighter cousin, sweeter in taste and disposition: the plain old summer squash. The markets are bouncing with golden squash, long and skinny and short and fat. From pattypan squash to the regular variety, here’s how to love summer squash a little more this summer and enjoy it even more.

The Summer Squash Top 5

Five must-reads for those inundated with squash this summer.

  1. Why summer squash was the devil but now it’s amazeballs.
  2. THE best way to cook squash, one of our most popular dishes ever.
  3. We especially love squash on this farmers market pizza.
  4. The most beautiful squash salad.
  5. Can we swap squash in for hot dogs?

What Is Summer Squash?

Summer squash is a tender squash, picked young and immature so that its skin is thin and edible. It’s a broad variety of squashes, but they usually grow on small, low bushes rather than vines. They aren’t able to be stored as long as winter squash and are best picked and eaten young.

Types of Summer Squash

Most summer squash are some variety of Cucurbita pepo and grows on a bushy plant vs. a vining plant. They come in a cheery variety of shapes and sizes, although for best flavor pick them young. (Avoid those squash as big as your arm!) We especially

What’s the Difference Between Summer Squash and Zucchini?

Zucchini is a type of summer squash. Zucchini and other varieties summer squash are all very closely related, and should be both picked relatively young and small for the best flavor and texture. Summer squash is usually yellow and curved or even crooked at the neck, versus straight like a zucchini. These differences are primarily cosmetic and functionally speaking they can be used practically interchangeably.

Summer Squash Nutrition

There are 16 calories in 100g summer squash (about 3/4 cup sliced). This also includes about 28% of your daily Vitamin C recommendation.

There are 2.3 net grams of carbs in 100g of squash, which makes it relatively low in carbohydrates and suitable for a low-carb or keto-friendly style of eating.

How to Freeze Summer Squash

To freeze summer squash, you use the same method as you would use to freeze zucchini and other soft summer vegetables. First quickly blanch the vegetables to prevent them from getting mushy in the freezer, then plunge in ice water and freeze quickly in a single layer. Then transfer to bags and freeze for up to a few months.

The Best Ways to Use Up Leftover Summer Squash

Honestly, just freeze it! If you want an excuse to make zucchini bread, you can swap in grated squash for the zucchini and use that instead.

Or use one of the recipes below.

Our Top 10 Summer Squash Recipes

Ten recipes that show some of the best of what squash can do.

What’s your favorite recipe or use for summer squash? Any favorite way to cook it?

31 Days of Vegetables: How to fall in love with vegetables in 31 days. How many of these splendid veg have you eaten this month? Take a look at the whole list and take our July challenge to eat every single one!