If you’re looking to squash rumors about winter and summer varieties of your favorite vegetable*, look no further than this helpful guide. (*Squash is technically a fruit.) While summer squash and winter squash are obviously related, the primary differences lie in their maturity and growing times.
Summer squash is best consumed when its skin is soft and tender, while winter squash is best when its exterior is rigid and hard. Both depend entirely on their length of time on the vine, with the latter spending up to a whopping 120 days (40-60 days with summer squash, by comparison).
Due to the difference in texture, it’s no surprise that they’re appropriate in different dishes. Winter squash is ideal for baking and stuffing while summer squash is better served sliced, chopped, and cooked down. Winter squash can also be stored for several months outside of a refrigerator, while chilled summer squash must be eaten within a week or two of purchase.
Examples of summer squash include green and yellow zucchini, pattypan, crookneck, and cousa. Examples of winter squash include butternut, spaghetti, acorn, and pumpkin.
Since summer has officially arrived (or at least it feels that way), we’ve rounded up seven of our favorite summer squash recipes for you to enjoy in the coming months. All hail the mighty zucchini’s versatility in baking and cooking!
1. Summer Squash Pizza
Your weekly Papa John’s order is about to get a homemade upgrade with this quick and easy summer squash recipe. And you’ll save money on delivery too! Get our Summer Squash Pizza recipe.
2. Savory Summer Squash Quick Bread
Honestly, you could put anything and bread and we’d find an excuse to eat it. Bring on the carbs. Always. Get our Savory Summer Squash Quick Bread recipe.
3. Grilled Summer Squash with Feta and Mint
Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that leave the biggest impressions. This can certainly be applied to grilled summer squash with hints of cheese and herbs…the perfect BBQ side! Get our Grilled Summer Squash with Feta and Mint recipe.
4. Linguine with Squash Noodles and Pine Nuts
The pasta kind of defeats the purpose of using a squash noodle (from a health perspective, at least), but the variety of textures and fresh ingredients makes this an Italian dinner to remember. Mangia! Get our Linguine with Squash Noodles and Pine Nuts recipe.
You shouldn’t need an animated rat or a trip to France to convince you that ratatouille is always a delicious way to eat your summer vegetables. Take our word for it, this colorful dish never misses the mark. Get our Ratatouille recipe.
6. Spiced Zucchini Muffins
Jazz up your boring breakfast with these zucchini-based zingers. They’re certainly a much healthier alternative to Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Get our Spiced Zucchini Muffins recipe.
7. Zucchini Layer Cake with Tangy Buttercream Frosting
Looking to sneak some green into your kids’ cuisine? Zucchini is the perfect ingredient for a summertime treat. And who can honestly resist buttercream frosting? Get our Zucchini Layer Cake with Tangy Buttercream Frosting recipe.