Summer squash season is here in all its juicy, crisp, delightful glory. From round and smooth to crooked and lumpy, summer squash (like their autumn counterparts) come in a cornucopia of shapes, colors, and sizes. Most of us are well-versed in grocery store staple varieties like zucchini, but your Farm Box may bring you a few that leave you scratching your head.
We got you covered! Below, we’ve listed a few of our favorite varieties, how to tell what you’ve got, and the tastiest way to use them.
This variety has so many variations, you may not know that they’re all the same plant! Their color ranges from deep gold to pale butter yellow, their necks can be crooked or straight, and their skin might be smooth, bumpy, or anything in between! Their only consistent common features are a fat bottom that tapers towards the neck, white, creamy flesh, and larger seeds than you might find in other summer squash. Excellent served raw or cooked, yellow squash works well in both savory recipes and baked goods—they’re a super substitute in zucchini bread!
These little yellow numbers are often confused with yellow squash, but they’re a horse of a different color. (Well, okay, a fairly similar color … ) The way you can tell them apart is by shape. Yellow zucchini’s shape is much more like green zucchini: the squash is fairly long and straight, the base is not bulbous, and it does not taper at the neck. You can use yellow zucchini in any recipe where you would normally use green zucchini; we think they make baked goods taste even better due to a slightly higher sugar content, so give them a try in chocolate zucchini muffins!
Green Fordhook Zucchini
This heirloom variety is a little different from the typical grocery store zucchini found year-round, bringing a ton of flavor and versatility to sweet or savory preparations. Its firm, mild flesh is best eaten raw—try making zoodles, shaving them onto salads, or use them to make amazing bread-and-butter pickles!
Scallop or Pattypan Squash
We love the look of these cute little squash! Their fun, floral, flying-saucer shapes and muted colors look right at home in a retro 70’s kitchen, but they bring a modern, mild flavor and crunch to everything from salads to sautees. Best when roasted or broiled, these are fantastic in any stuffed squash recipe.