Types of Zucchini and Summer Squash

From chayote to pattypan, there's more than just green zucchini

Seasoned yellow Squash and green zucchini
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  • 01 of 09

    So Many Varieties of Summer Squash

    Zucchini and Other Summer Squash
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    We may be familiar with zucchini, but there are many additional types of summer squash out there, from crookneck to pattypan. Depending on where you live, you may also know this prolific summer and early fall favorites as courgettes or marrows.

    While they're named "summer squash," these vegetables tend to have a fairly long harvest season and are available well into fall in most areas, overlapping with winter squash.

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  • 02 of 09

    Chayote Squash

    Pear Squash
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    Also known as pear squash, these light green pear-shaped squash with wrinkled skin are excellent examples of the close botanical relationship between squash, cucumbers, and melons. Like other summer squash, chayote is tasty raw (sliced or chopped) in salads, as well as cooked and added to soups and stews. This Latin American vegetable is delicious stuffed with meat, cheese, rice, and seasonings and grilled until hot.

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  • 03 of 09

    Crookneck Squash

    Yellow Summer Squash (Crookneck)
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    Crookneck squash add a little bit of flair to the summer squash family. Mild in zucchini flavor, these summer squash are often bright yellow in color but can also be a delicate pale green. They have a distinctive narrowing at their tops and often a seductive curve to their shape. Use just like zucchini and grill, saute, or steam.

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  • 04 of 09

    Cocozella Di Napoli

    light-zucchini.jpg
    Photo © Molly Watson

    This light green, striped Italian heirloom zucchini variety has great flavor and the bonus of not turning woody and bitter as it grows. Use it in any recipe that calls for zucchini, but its lovely flavor works particularly well in a zucchini and mint salad.

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  • 05 of 09

    Pattypan Squash

    pattyypan.jpg
    Photo © Rob Melnychuk (Getty Images)

    Pattypans come in yellow, dark green, light green, cream, and even a ghostly white. They also range in sizes from teeny tiny to up to 4 or 5 inches across. They can be chopped or sliced and cooked like any summer squash, hollowed out and stuffed, or halved and grilled like their long and green brethren.​

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  • 06 of 09

    Yellow Zucchini

    Yellow Summer Squash
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    In a lucky twist of vegetable fate, yellow zucchini keeps its bright sunny color when cooked, so you can use yellow zucchini just like green but will end up with a brighter, more colorful dish. Yellow zucchini is perfect in a zucchini frittata since the yellow blends in with the eggs, making the summer squash flavor a bit of a surprise. It is also wonderful when combined with green zucchini, creating an appealing contrast of color.

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  • 07 of 09

    Green Zucchini

    green-zucchini.jpg
    Photo © Molly Watson

    This is the summer squash most of us picture when we hear the word "zucchini." The smaller-sized zucchini has a mild flavor and wonderfully delicate and smooth texture; if left to grow too big, however, they turn tough and woody.

    There is a lot to be done with green zucchini, but a favorite is turning them into pickles. They are also delicious when made into crispy fries, incorporated into an egg casserole, and as the main flavoring in a tender muffin.

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  • 08 of 09

    Round (Eight Ball) Zucchini

    Eight Ball Zucchini
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    These small, very round zucchini can be used in the same way as the long, thin zucchini, although it is worth noting that these round ones are particularly good for hollowing out, stuffing, and roasting or baking. Try a simple breadcrumb-stuffed recipe, or spice it up with a Buffalo chicken stuffing.

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  • 09 of 09

    Zucchini With Flowers

    Summer Squash with Flowers Attached
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    During the height of summer, you can find zucchini and summer squash at the market that still have their flowers attached. It's a fabulous two-for-one—the edible flowers along with the fresh zucchini. Simply remove the flowers and chop them up; use the ultra-tender zucchini to make a simple shaved, raw zucchini salad and then toss with the flowers.

    You may also come across the flowers sold on their own, which have a delicate but distinctive zucchini/summer squash flavor. They are traditionally battered and fried, but are also delicious stuffed with rice or even in an omelet.