Availability, Nutrition, and Recipe Suggestions

summer squash

In Season:  Summer Squash & Zucchini are available from the field starting around the Summer Solstice each June.  Abundant Harvests continue through the high summer, with limited production continuing until fall frosts.  Some years we’ll grow a special June crop of Zucchini in our fieldhouses allowing for an early start to the harvest.

Storage:  Summer Squash & Zucchini can be stored for a couple of days on the counter; however to keep them at their maximum freshness we recommend storing them in the fridge in a plastic bag (we don’t use any food grade waxes which are sometimes used in the grocery industry – so if you don’t wrap them in plastic the delicate fruit will start to lose moisture rapidly).

Preservation:  My favorite method of preserving zucchini is in the finished form of zucchini bread; simple recipes abound online – we liked this website’s name so… [Best Ever Zucchini Bread from Butter with a Side of Bread] and if we are feeling truly indulgent add some chocolate chips – farmers need their calories!  For a healthier preservation technique we suggest natural fermentation [Fermented Food Lab].

Production Notes:  In season we harvest fruits every 2 or 3 days depending on rainfall and temperature.  This naturally provides a nice variety in sizing.  While we don’t specialize in baby zucchini, we’ll include “Select” sized varieties for the most demanding customers.  Our larger or “Premium” zucchini still provide good quality because of their freshness.  Summer Squash & Zucchini are members of the cucurbit family (along with cucumbers and melons).  We have found increased fall productivity using powdery mildew resistant varieties; Desert from High Mowing is quite vigorous.

Varieties:  We focus our production on staple varieties of summer squash and zucchini; including a straightneck yellow squash and multiple varieties of dark green zucchini.  Our production systems and scale are not well suited for the “boutique” varieties including baby patty pan and the easily scratched, soft skinned Cousa Squash.

Nutrition:  According to WHFoods.com Summer Squash & Zucchini are a good source of the minerals copper and manganese.

Deep Nutrition:  Yellow varieties are noted as an excellent source of carotenoids [WHFoods.com] especially Lutein and Zeaxathin; it’s important to eat the skin to maximize the nutritional benefit – making a great case for fruit and vegetables which aren’t sprayed with dangerous chemicals…

Deep Science:  Lutein and Zeaxathin are two antioxidants known to help reduce macular degeneration and as we noted on our Kale Crops Page, Lutein has been linked to reducing macular degeneration and according to a recently published study from the University of Illinois may help “counter cognitive aging.

Preparation:  A quick wash will help remove any remaining field dirt (we typically rinse the fruit after harvest to help provide a bit of moisture and thereby ensure good quality throughout the market day).  Slice them thick or thin depending on your recipe; or grate or spiralize and you are off…

Summer Squash & Zucchini Recipe Suggestions:

  • I’ve long been a fan of pairing basil with squash and Zucchini… a la Sauteed Summer Squash with Basil [NY Times Cooking]
  • Grated Zucchini Salad with Basil & Tomato [Food 52]