With so many different types of summer squash, taking a minute to learn about the differences in flavor and texture, and the best way to use them, will help you choose the best type for your needs. Better yet, grow a few varieties and mix things up with beautiful harvests all summer long.
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8 best types of summer squash to grow and eat
In this article, I share my 8 favorite types of summer squash that I like growing in my own garden. Zucchini and yellow crookneck squash are the most common, but hopefully after reading this article you will find a new type to try in your garden this summer.
Don’t forget, summer squash is best when harvested young and the skin is soft and tender. Summer squash should be consumed within a week or two of harvest and should be kept refrigerated.
Want more tips for growing and harvesting squash? This article shares 5 tips for growing summer squash.
Black beauty zucchini
Black beauty zucchini is easy to grow, productive, and an early producer with glossy dark-green fruit and creamy white flesh.
Flavor and texture: Mild flavor; best when harvested young and seeds are small. Firm texture freezes well.
Best for: Salads, soups, makes great zucchini noodles (also known as ‘zoodles’), and grated in baked goods. Very versatile and mild.
Zucchini Lemon Poppy Seed Bread is a family favorite. Surplus zucchini is not a problem when you have this recipe.
Looking for zucchini recipes? We love using extra zucchini in Carla’s Calabacitas.
Cube of butter squash
Cube of butter squash is an excellent producer on a small plant. Can be picked any size from small to large.
Flavor and texture: Buttery flavor with creamy white flesh; good flavor raw or cooked. Tender – holds it shape well when cooked.
Best for: Fresh eating, in stir-fries, or roasted on the grill.
Lebanese squash (often called Koosa or Dirani) is a versatile, Middle Eastern favorite. It is a heavy producer on a compact plant with continuous production.
Flavor and texture: Mild, white creamy flavor. Firm texture.
Best for: Harvest small to use fresh, or let it grow larger to use in dozens of recipes, including stuffed. Use in any recipe that calls for zucchini.
Baby round zucchini
Baby round zucchini (also known as ‘Ronde de Nice’) is a prolific producer and easy to grow with only 45 days to harvest.
Flavor and texture: Mellow, sweet flavor. Tender texture.
Best for: Use as an individual serving bowl – especially suited for stuffing or roasting. The blossoms are delicious.
Yellow crookneck squash
Yellow crookneck squash is a bush-type plant that is prolific and easy to grow. Harvest while skins are soft. Pick often for best flavor and continual production.
Flavor and texture: Flavorful and firm fleshed.
Best for: Any type of eating – delicious steamed, fried, or roasted.
Costata Romanesco is an Italian ribbed semi-vining heirloom with large leaves and about half the production of other plants. Harvest fruits up to 18 inches long. In Italy, they are picked at 4-5 inches long when blossoms are still attached.
Flavor and texture: Nutty, complex flavor and firm texture with distinctive ribs.
Best for: Delicious raw or cooked. Good producer of blossoms for soups, salads, and pastas. Often fried whole with flower still attached.
Grey zucchini (also called harukan or calabacita squash) is a staple of Mexican and Latin diets. A heavy producer, the grey-green fruit is best when harvested at 6 inches. The fruit stores well.
Flavor and texture: Mild flavor with firm flesh.
Best for: Any type of recipe – baked, roasted, fried. Delicious in Carla’s Calabacitas (a family favorite recipe).
Patty-pan squash is best harvested at 2-3 inches in diameter for tender skin and flesh. Plants yield a high amount of fruit.
Flavor and texture: Buttery, nutty flavor is considered by some to be the best tasting of all summer squash. Firm texture holds up to high heat.
Best for: Enjoy them fresh, stuffed, baked, fried, steamed, or stir-fried.
Here’s a bonus type: The gourd luffa (loofah)
Although luffa is often grown as a sponge, if harvested when it is less than 6 inches long it is edible and similar in taste and texture to summer squash. Once it is longer than 6 inches, the insides become fibrous, and it is too tough to eat.
Flavor and texture: Mild flavor and firm texture.
Best for: Roasting and in stir-fry.
Interested in growing luffa as a sponge? This article tells you how.