Who has made the "mistake" of planting too many zucchini or summer squash plants, and then scrambled to find doorsteps to drop off extras? Take them please! There are too many! Or is it just time to eat a whole LOT of summer squash in the next month?
Nutritionally, 1 cup of chopped zucchini contains around 20 calories, 4g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, and is a source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A and potassium. Like other veggies, zucchini are not a significant source of fat, protein, or sodium.
- Buy: Choose zucchini and summer squash that are small to medium in size. Large squashes are edible, but be aware they tend to have tough skin and flesh. Look for squash with deep colors - often yellow, green, or a mix - that are firm to the touch. Avoid squash that have insect damage, soft spots or bruises.
- Price: Fresh zucchini costs $1.64 per pound (or about $0.85 per 1 cup) on average, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Store: Place zucchini and summer squash unwashed in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. With longer storage, squash may start to soften and wrinkle. Do not wash before storing, as this can speed up decay.
- Prepare: Wash squash under cool water and cut into desired sized pieces for your recipe. Squashes are mild vegetables and can be added to many recipes without changing the flavor.
- Preserve: While zucchini on its own is not recommended for canning, we can preserve them at home in other ways. Try freezing zucchini or canning recipes like Pickled Bread-And-Butter Zucchini, Zucchini-Pineapple, Tomatoes with Okra or Zucchini, and Summer Squash Relish.
Eat: Summer squashes are versatile veggies that work well in both sweet and savory recipes. Many of us are familiar with zucchini bread and stuffed zucchini. Also add them to pasta or use as the pasta (zucchini noodles!). This whole post is devoted to a variety of zucchini dishes for you to enjoy!
Roasted Zucchini | Print recipe
Zucchini Pineapple Bread | Print recipe
Summer Squash and Onion Packets | Print recipe
Roasted Ratatouille | Print recipe
Summer Chili | Print recipe
Post originally published in 2016; content updated in 2021.
Healthy Eats and Repeat
How much difference is there between canned and frozen foods? How should you cook venison? When is the best time to buy avocados? Get answers to these questions as well as other tips, tutorials and recipes for common kitchen foods and items with University of Illinois Extension Nutrition & Wellness Educator Caitlin Mellendorf’s blog Healthy Eats and Repeat. Build your best life. Trust Extension to help.
Caitlin Mellendorf is an Illinois Extension Nutrition and Wellness Educator serving DeWitt, Macon and Piatt Counties in Central Illinois. She is a Registered Dietitian and her work focuses on helping community members gain the knowledge, skills and tools to live healthier, more nutritious lifestyles. This includes providing programs and answering questions about heart health, diabetes, food safety, food preservation, grocery shopping and cooking. You can reach Caitlin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 217.877.6042. Check out her nutrition blog Healthy Eats and Repeats for seasonal recipes and of an exploration of common kitchen foods.