Summer squash is a warm-season vegetable that is harvested while the rind is tender and before the fruit matures. These plants are prolific and have amazingly beautiful blooms. Once they begin producing fruit, harvesting is required every two or three days. If you like summer squash, experiment with all varieties to see which one you like best. Freeze or can any extra so that you can enjoy a warm, savory dish featuring summer squash on a cold winter’s day.
Yellow Summer Squash
Yellow summer squash takes on many varieties of its own and can grow with a long fruit with the stem end either being straight or crooked. The fruit can be either smooth or bumpy. The most common varieties of yellow summer squash are Early Yellow Summer Crookneck and Early Prolific Straightneck. Other varieties of yellow summer squash include Sundance and Goldbar. Yellow summer squash matures in 50 to 53 days of planting.
Zucchini look much like the long, straight, yellow summer squash except that its skin is usually a dark green in color. There are some varieties of zucchini that grow fruit with skins that are yellow or white. There are many zucchini varieties: Black Zucchini, Black Beauty, Cocozelle, Vegetable Marrow White Bush, Aristocrat, Chefini, Classic, Elite, Embassy, President and Spineless Beauty. Another zucchini variety that is often mistaken for yellow summer squash because of its color is Golden Zucchini. Zucchini varieties typically mature within 48 to 55 days of planting.
Scalloped (Patty Pan)
Scalloped summer squash are a pretty type, shaped like small discs with scalloped edges and can vary in color from white, which is the most common color, to yellow or green. Some have multicolored skins and these squash reach maturity in 50 to 60 days. Scallop varieties of summer squash include White Bush Scallop, Peter Pan, Scallopini and Sunburst.
Mideast or Cousa
Mideast summer squash grow shorter and thicker than the yellow and zucchini varieties and its skin is usually a light green. The fruit grows cylindrical, much like that of zucchini varieties, tapering towards the stem and matures within 50 days of planting. This variety is used in Middle Eastern cuisine.