Summer Squash: All About It

Although it is treated as a vegetable in a culinary context, botanically, summer squash are actually fruits. They are prolific plants, and are commonly referred to as summer squash because, unlike winter squash, they are harvested and consumed before their skins harden.

Like all squash, summer squash originated in the Americas thousands of years ago. In fact, the name squash derives from the word askutasquash, a word from the Narragansett language meaning “a green thing eaten raw”.

The zucchini we know today was developed in Northern Italy in the late 19th century, and it is believed that Italian immigrants brought this new squash variety with them to the United States in the 1920s.


  • Zucchini can be eaten raw, steamed, fried, sautéed, or grilled. They are terrific “spiralized” and used in place of pasta.
  • Squash and zucchini blossoms are edible and are quite a delicacy. They are most often stuffed, dipped in a light batter, and fried.
  • Zucchini are wonderful in baked goods. It’s best to squeeze as much water as possible out of it before adding it to the batter.


Zucchini and summer squash will keep for a week or so. Store it unwashed in a loose plastic bag in the crisper drawer.


  • Grill it! So simple and yummy. Brush slices of zucchini with a bit of oil, then grill for 2-3 minutes per side. Serve as is or dress it up with lemon and herbs, top it with romesco sauce, or drizzle it with a bit of balsamic vinegar.
  • Spiralize it! Lightly sauté your zucchini noodles then toss them with pesto, simmer them in a curry or broth, or eat them raw in a salad.
  • Make fritters! Mix grated zucchini with eggs, a bit of flour, and seasoning of your choice. Spoon into a hot, oiled pan to make small fritters, fry them for 2–3 minutes on each side, and serve them with a yogurt and dill sauce.

Printable version (with a recipe!)

Cooking Tips Meet the Veggies meet the veggies squash summer squash

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