Summer Squash Varieties - What's the Difference?
There are several different summer squash varieties available to the backyard vegetable gardener. Most varieties are similar in taste and texture. The variety you choose is really just a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer straightneck varieties because they are easier to slice uniformly. Some people prefer crookneck varieties for stuffing. Other folks like the look of the scalloped/patty pan varieties. The choice is up to you. All varieties of summer squash are grown on similar plants in similar soil conditions.
Here is list of some of the more common varieties of summer squash, along with fruit descriptions:
Straightneck Varieties - these summer squash are easy to identify - they have a straight neck. Most are yellow in color and are harvested when they are about 6 inches long. Most varieties of straightneck squash are almost cylindrical in shape.
- Butterstick Hybrid - this straightneck squash is bright yellow with smooth skin, closely resembles zucchini in size and shape
- Sunray Hybrid - this straightneck variety is buttercream in color, smooth skin, uniform shape, good for grilling
- Early Prolific Straightneck - this variety is creamy yellow in color with fine texture and smooth skin, certified organic
- Prolific Straightneck - this variety produces pale yellow squash with slight ribbing in the skin, texture is white and firm
- Saffrom - rich yellow color, this straightneck varieties produces consistent size and shape, good squash flavor, heavy yields
Crookneck Varieties - these varieties are also easy to identify - they are curved at the top. They are egg shaped at the bottom with a tapered, narrow neck. Most crookneck varieties are yellow in color and are harvested when they reach about 6 inches long. Some varieties have a smooth skin, while others have visible bumps.
- Pic-N-Pic - this crookneck summer squash variety has
gold/yellow skin that is smooth and tender, flesh is fine in texture
- Early Summer Crookneck - this variety produces vibrant yellow squash with bumps on the skin, very meaty texture, certified organic
- Early Golden Crookneck - bumpy, bright yellow skin and tender flesh, good for stuffing, sauteeing or grilling
Scallop/Patty Pan Varieties - these varieties of summer squash are more unique and resemble minature flying saucers. They are usually yellow or green in color and are harvested when they reach 3-4 inches in diameter. These varieties usually have a slightly nutty flavor and are prized by professional chefs for their rich taste and unique shape.
- Peter Pan Hybrid - this summer squash variety features light green fruits and a meaty texture, slightly sweet and tender flavor
- Sunburst Hybrid - this variety is buttercream yellow with a small green ring on the top, mild white flesh
- Sunny Delight Hybrid - produces squash with smooth, pale yellow skin, early producer, good squash taste
- Sunbeam - very flavorful, slightly nutty taste, deep yellow in color with a small green tip, flesh is tender
Click here to learn about planting summer squash
Click here to learn about watering and fertilizing summer squash plants
Click here for help diagnosing and solving common summer squash plant problems
Click here to learn about harvesting summer squash
Click here for some of our favorite summer squash recipes
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