Writen by Naomi Sager

Summer squash season is now in full swing, and here at Common Roots, we’ve been enjoying the bountiful harvest. This vegetable grows quite rapidly, so daily we’ve been seeing several new ones mature to a harvest-able size!

While the term summer squash is often synonymous with zucchini, summer squash is actually a more all-encompassing name: there are several varieties of summer squash, with zucchini being just one of them.

Unlike winter squash (think acorn, butternut, etc.), summer squash have a much more delicate skin, and do not keep as long. Summer squash have a relatively mild taste, with different varieties possessing particular flavour profiles (such as sweet, or nutty tasting), and can all be eaten raw or cooked (some varieties have a denser flesh, making them more suited to cooking).

Below is a list of some common varieties of summer squash and their attributes:

Green Zucchini
-Soft and thin green skin, dense flesh
-Great for cooking and baking
-Versatile: can be used in sweet and savoury recipes

Yellow Zucchini 
-Relatively uniform width from end to end (not to be confused with yellow squash, which can be identified by their wide bottom and tapered neck)
-Similar to a green zucchini, but slightly sweeter tasting
-Great to mix with green zucchini for a striking colour combination

Yellow Squash
-Wide bottom and tapered neck
-Larger seeds
-Smaller ones are the best option if you’re looking to eat them raw, while the larger ones are ideal for cooking as they’re slightly more dense

Costata Romanesco Zucchini
-A ridged zucchini variety, identified by its light green ridges and darker green valleys
-Nuttier tasting than a typical zucchini
-Lovely raw or cooked

Cousa Squash
-Slightly sweet and nutty flavour
-Light green with white striations
-Common in a variety of Middle Eastern recipes, particularly “Kousa Mahshi”– a rice and ground meat stuffed cousa, served in a tomato broth (recipe: https://feelgoodfoodie.net/recipe/kousa/)

Pattypan Squash
-Very unique shape: circular with scalloped edges, can be yellow, green, or a combination of the two colours
-Crunchier than other summer squash varieties 

These are just a few varieties of summer squash that you often see grown in Nova Scotia, but there are many other uncommon varieties existing as well. Summer squash are truly such a versatile vegetable, with uses including grilling or roasting them, grating them to add to baked goods or freeze for later use, relish or chow making, and pickling, among other things!

These squash are as versatile as they are abundant, so be sure to check them out and give them a try this summer!

(Image courtesy of TheKitchn.com)

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