A member of the summer squash family, zucchini is a versatile vegetable in the summer garden. The plant produces prolifically from mid-summer until the first fall frost kills it off. There are many varieties of zucchini available, from the long, green types readily available at most grocery stores to those bright yellow in color, as well as small, perfectly spherical varieties. Frequent harvesting encourages the plant to set more blossoms and fruit. Pick the zucchini at the right time using the proper method to ensure you have the best quality vegetable, but don't damage the plant.
Examine the zucchini on the plant for ripeness. Harvest when the zucchini is at its full color and the skin is still glossy. Long zucchini are generally 6 to 8 inches long at prime picking time, while spherical zucchini are about 5 to 7 inches in diameter when ready-to-harvest.
Support the zucchini in one hand. Avoid yanking or pulling on the stem.
Cut through the stem with a sharp knife using the other hand. Leave 1 inch of stem attached to the zucchini.
Store the zucchini in the refrigerator until ready to use. Zucchini can also be sliced, shredded and frozen as well, but be aware that thawed zucchini releases a lot of liquid.
Things You Will Need
- Wear cotton gloves when harvesting to ensure you do not scratch or mar the skin of the zucchini with your fingernails.
- Do not yank, pull or twist the vine when harvesting. This can cause permanent damage to the plant.