FoodLink - Purdue Extension

summer squash

Cucurbita pepo
Other Name(s): squash, zucchini, yellow squash
Available from May to October


Cocozelle, crookneck, pattypan, straightneck, white scallop, zucchini.


This video demonstrates techniques for cutting summer squash.

Zucchini and yellow squash are generally eaten cooked; however, you can eat them raw, especially when quite young and small.

Cutting Summer Squash: To make rounds, simply make parallel cuts across the squash, anywhere from  very thin to about ¼ inch thick. To make sticks, cut the squash across into the length of sticks you would like. Take each section and cut lengthwise in half. Place each half cut-side down on a cutting board and make additional lengthwise cuts at the desired width. To dice, hold all the sticks together and cut them across to create the size dice desired. Older large summer squash will have large seeds in the center that are not desirable to eat. If you are cutting up one of these, you may want to remove the center seed area before cooking.

Raw: Cut raw summer squash into rounds or sticks and eat with dip or yogurt. Larger raw summer squash can also be shredded (by hand or in a food processor) and used in quick breads, muffins, or fritters.

Roast: Heat oven to 425°F. Cut squash to preferred size pieces. Place in roasting pan and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, then add a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for about 15 minutes or until squash is tender.

Microwave:  Cook in a microwave-safe covered dish with ¼ cup water for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. 

Sauté: Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter in a skillet over medium heat and place squash rounds flat onto the skillet. Flip after 2 to 3 minutes, once squash begins to brown.  Continue to cook until the other side browns.  Sprinkle with salt to taste and serve.

Steam: Place cut summer squash into steamer basket over a pot of 1 inch of boiling water. Cover and steam for about 4 minutes or until tender.

Grill: Cut squash lengthwise into long oval strips, about ½ inch thick.  brush with oil and lay on a hot grill rack. Flip after a few minutes. Vegetables grill faster than meat, so watch carefully for burning.


Short-Term Storage

Keep summer squash refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.


Long-Term Storage

Summer squash can be frozen or dried.

Learn more about freezing vegetables.

Learn more about drying vegetables.

Quick Fact

Summer squash are harvested early in their development before the rind becomes hard and the seeds inside develop fully. In contrast, winter squash are harvested after the rind is hard and the seeds are fully developed.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size

1 Cup Sliced







% Daily Value

Total Calories









Dietary Fiber



Total Sugars



Total Fat



Saturated Fat













 20 mg



2 mg



 9 mg








Vitamin A

 11 ug


Vitamin C

 22 mg








Food Safety Tips

Always keep fresh produce away from raw meat and raw meat juices to prevent cross-contamination.

Follow the safe food guidelines for all fresh produce.

Related Resources

Summer squash are in the cucumber family along with winter squash and melons. Summer squash are very easy to grow in the home garden and will produce squash throughout the summer if you harvest them regularly and keep them disease-free. Most summer squash varieties are bush type plants rather than vines.

Plant seeds 1 inch deep, 24-36 inches in rows at least 30 inches apart. If planting in hills, plant 3 plants in hills 4 feet apart.

Harvest summer squash when the fruit is immature, while the skin and flesh are still tender. Plants will continue to produce new flowers and fruit if you harvest them regularly, providing squash
throughout the summer.

After pollination, summer squash are ready to pick in 4-8 days. If you don’t inspect the
plants every day or two, the squash will quickly grow too large. Flowering may decrease. If you
find an overmature fruit, pick and discard it.

Harvest elongated varieties (zucchini, crookneck) when they are less than 2 inches in diameter
and 6-8 inches long. Scalloped types should be 3-4 inches in diameter. If the rind is too tough to be marked
by a thumbnail, it is too mature for the table. The first fruit is ready to harvest 40-50 days from

The estimated yield per 10 feet row is 60 fruit (about 15 pounds).

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