Summer Squash Guide: What's What And How To Cook Them (PHOTOS)

08/06/2013 09:25 am ET
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We know we've already talked your ears off about how much we love summer squash, but we're going to do it some more. From the delicate squash blossoms to the very first baby squash of summer to the late summer bocce-ball-sized numbers, we really can't get enough. We've talked about zucchini recipes, yellow squash recipes, squash blossom recipes and beyond, but we want to make sure you know what you're getting when you dive head-first into squash season at your farmer's market. So we put together a little summer squash guide.

Zucchini/Courgettes
zucchini
We're pretty sure you're familiar with these by now, but the special bonus about getting peak season summer zucchini is that their skins are smooth, thin and totally edible. No peeling necessary. The general rule with summer zucchini is that the darker the skin, the more vegetal the flavor. Get tons of awesome zucchini recipes here.

Yellow Squash/Yellow Zucchini/Yellow Straightneck Squash
yellow squash
Yep, these are really just yellow zucchini. You can treat them exactly the same, but know that they're a bit more tender than their green counterparts, so will cook faster. Because the skin and flesh of this squash is so tender, they're a perfect candidate for raw squash ribbon salads, and quick (even raw!) soups. Get some great yellow squash recipes here.

Yellow Crookneck Squash
yellow crookneck
This is a slightly different cultivar from the straightneck yellow squash, which causes the neck to curve and the skin to get bumpy. This squash tends to be slightly more dense than its cousins, so it can stand up to a bit longer steam, braise, etc.

Round Squash/Round Zucchini/Avocado Squash
round squash
Because this squash is shaped like an adorable little orb, and tends to be denser than straightneck squashes, it's a great candidate for stuffing and roasting. We also love to grill and pan fry thick slices, especially of avocado squash. It's not related to the avocado, but does an impressive impersonation when you slice into it. Like this:

Pattypan Squash/Scalloped Squash
pattypan squash
Come on. Let's just go ahead and call these the cutest squash of all time. These taste and behave pretty identically to round squash, but are often used in restaurants because they're so nice to look at.

Zephyr Squash
zephyr squash
This hybrid squash is definitely in contention for prettiest vegetable of all time. They're tender and thin-skinned, so they cook quickly and taste exceptionally mild.

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