When are zucchini and other summer squash in season?
How to buy & store
To pick the best summer squash look for ones that are firm and heavy for their size. When 2 zucchini are the same size, but one is heavier, that means it has a higher water content and is fresher (and not dried out). The skin should be smooth and shiny, with no pitting.
Choose squash that are 6-8 inches long (for green or yellow zucchini) for the best flavor and texture. The larger ones will have tougher flesh and more seeds. If you do end up with a giant zucchini, they are great for shredding into breads or cooking into a soup where you aren't looking to highlight the zucchini flavor.
To store zucchini, sources are split on whether it should go in the fridge or on the counter. The reason for this is the optimal storage temperature is between 41 and 50 degrees F. Your fridge is usually set to 37 which can cause 'chilling damage' (loss of quality and sunken pits) after 1-2 days in the fridge, but your home will be much warmer than 50F.
Fresh squash can be stored for a few days to a week on the counter (unless the room is really warm), and they will also last a similar amount of time in the fridge. If you buy more than one, try storing one on the counter and one in the fridge to see what works best in your home.
I store the ones I pick from my garden on the counter and they last weeks.
Pre-sliced and zucchini noodles can be stored in the fridge. It's best to put them in an airtight container lined with paper towel (to absorb excess moisture). They can last a few days this way, ready for your meal-prep.
Should I buy organic?
Zucchini and summer squash from the US are categorized to have a high pesticide risk by Consumer Reports analysis on the testing data provided by the Environmental Protection Agency. That means 1-5 servings a day puts the pesticide amount and toxicity past the 'known levels to be safe.'
Zucchini from Mexico have so few pesticides in the same tests, that they are near-organic levels.
Each recipe below only uses ingredients that are in season at the same time as summer squash, or ingredients that have a year-round season. Since their season overlaps with the beginning or end of other fruits and vegetables, the recipes are grouped into early season, late season, or anytime they are available.
Zucchini bread recipe that uses 2 cups of zucchini, one bowl, and bakes up perfectly fluffy and moist. (You don't even have to wring out the moisture from the zucchini).
Southwest zucchini soup with corn & chipotle - this soup is creamy without dairy, thanks to the zucchini.
This zucchini potato soup recipe takes a typical loaded baked potato soup and swaps out some potatoes for zucchini. And no one ever notices the difference!
Another zucchini soup that's unique, yet warm and comforting. Toasted walnuts and thyme flavor this delicate soup that is topped with a drizzle of your favorite honey. Get the recipe for zucchini soup with toasted walnuts & honey.
Zucchini quiche with cheese & herbs that uses up 2 cups of zucchini. Try flavor variations like sausage & bell pepper or bacon & everything bagel spice.
Burst tomato and zucchini spaghetti with avocado sauce - recipe by Pinch of Yum
Tomatoes and zucchini are in season at the same time, and avocados are great all year long.
Crisp zucchini bites with garlic aioli dip - recipe by Natasha's Kitchen
Greek quinoa grilled zucchini boats - recipe by Kristine's Kitchen
Garlic parmesan "zoodles" - recipe by Gimme Delicious Food
Zucchini tomato basil salad with lemon-basil vinaigrette - recipe by Good Life Eats
Zucchini alfredo - recipe by Damn Delicious
Grilled peach, corn, and zucchini salad with lemon-basil vinaigrette - recipe by The Simple Veganista
Baked eggplant and zucchini sandwiches with avocado aioli - recipe by Floating Kitchen
Eggplant and zucchini are in season at the same time!
Zucchini, cheddar, and chive buttermilk quick bread - recipe by A Pretty Life
Mediterranean zucchini-noodle pasta salad with sun-dried tomato dressing - recipe by Healthy and Heavenly Oven
Cheddar and sausage stuffed zucchini boats - recipe by The Garlic Diaries