Green onions are small to medium in size and grow in clusters of elongated, straight leaves and narrow, slender bases. The dark green leaves are smooth, stiff, and hollow with small, central tubes. Connecting into the leaves, the white base is dense, succulent, and firm with small white roots growing from the bottom of the base. Green onions are crisp and juicy with a grassy, sweet, and slightly pungent flavor that is milder than mature onions.
Green onions are available year-round, with a peak season in the spring and summer.
Green onions are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as stir-frying, sauteing, roasting, and grilling. Commonly used raw, both the white base and green leaves of Green onions can be utilized in preparations. The onion can be sliced or chopped and sprinkled over a salad, noodles, pizza, pasta, casseroles, stews, and curries, garnished over soup such as egg drop or tortilla, minced onto deviled eggs or in pancakes, mixed into salsa, baked into biscuits, layered in sandwiches, or added to stir-fries. The whole onion can also be flash blanched and grilled, which brings out robust and sweet flavors allowing for bolder pairings such as grilled fish and meats. Green onions pair well morels, chanterelles, sweet peas, Swiss chard, collard greens, broccoli, snow peas, carrots, radishes, bell pepper, citrus, eggs, and meats such as pork chops, poultry, turkey, and seafood. The leaves and bulb will keep up to five days when wrapped in plastic and stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
Leeks will not form bulbs or produce cloves like their cousins, but instead develop an edible, 6 - 10 inch-long, round stem that can measure 2 inches in diameter. The leek's cylindrical, white, edible root gradually becomes a stalk with a fan of dark green, flat leaves. Offering an earthy, mild onion flavor, the texture of a leek is crunchy when raw and silky when cooked. Leeks are considered to be the sweetest and most mild members of the onion family.
Leeks are available year-round with a peak season in late winter or early spring.
Though leeks are often interchangeable with onions and garlic, they can require specific preparation and are often highlighted in recipes for their particular flavor. Slowly cook sliced leeks in olive oil and butter until soft, then toss with beans and pasta. Cook with potatoes and vegetable broth, the puree for a classic potato-leek soup. Slow-cook with butter and cream and serve with seafood such as seared scallops. Grill whole or halved leeks and serve as a started or topping for bruschetta. Braise in wine and vegetable stalk until very tender, then top with a mustard-based vinaigrette. Add sauteed leeks to quiche, savory tarts or pies. To store, refrigerate in a plastic bag up to three days.
Red onions are small to medium in size, averaging 10-15 centimeters in diameter, and are round to slightly oval in shape. The bulb is wrapped in red-purple thin, papery, parchment-like skin that is delicate and easily flakes off when touched. Underneath the skin, there is a burgundy wine-colored sheath that protects the flesh, and the dark purple flesh is firm, crisp, and coarse with many layers of white and purple rings. Red onions are crunchy, pungent, sweet, and slightly spicy when raw and when cooked their flavor lessens and grows mildly sweeter. The intensity of the pungent flavor varies depending on age, particular variety, and the amount of sulfur in the growing soil or the fertilizer used.
Red onions are available year-round.
Red onions are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as grilling, roasting, braising, caramelizing, and pickling. The coarse-textured onions are heavily utilized as a sandwich onion and can be layered on burgers, wraps, gyros, and paninis. The onions can also be chopped and tossed into leafy green salads, minced into salsa or guacamole, or pickled in red wine vinegar and layered on tacos, pizza, and fried rice. In addition to fresh preparations, Red onions can be grilled for a smoky flavor. Red onions pair well with eggs, avocados, olive oil, nuts, grilled meats, melting and fresh cheeses, acidic ingredients such as citrus, vinegar, and tomatoes, vibrant herbs including basil, cilantro, parsley, and tarragon and warming spices including cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, and star anise. The bulbs will keep 1-2 months when stored in a cool, dry, and dark place with good air circulation. When sliced, Red onions will keep 7-10 days when stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Shallots are small to medium in size, averaging five centimeters in length, depending on the specific variety, and are oblong with tapered ends. The bulbous bulbs are encased in a dry, papery, thin skin that flakes when touched and ranges in color from copper, gold, pale pink, to red. Inside the skin, there are clusters of cloves divided into individually wrapped segments similar to garlic. Small Shallot varieties average 2-3 cloves, and larger varieties typically contain 3-6 cloves. The firm, dense, and juicy cloves are off-white to translucent with light purple rings. Shallots are aromatic, spicy, sweet, and crisp when raw and when cooked, they develop a delicate, sweet, and savory flavor with notes of garlic.
Shallots are available year-round.
Shallots are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as roasting, sauteing, and grilling. When raw, they can be chopped and mixed into salads, topped on bruschetta, blended into sauces such as B?arnaise, minced into guacamole, and stirred into dips such as French vinaigrette's. When cooked, Shallots can be sauteed with salt, pepper, butter, cream, citrus, or vinegar and paired with meats or cooked vegetables, combined into lentil stews, baked into casseroles, or tossed with pasta. They can also be roasted and dipped in a mixture of Greek yogurt and olive oil. Deep-fried Shallots are used as a condiment and served with porridge in Asia. Shallots pair well with tomatoes, mushrooms, green beans, garlic, capers, baked oysters, Parmesan cheese, beer. The bulbs will keep up to one month when stored in a cool, dry, and dark place.
Spanish onions are medium to large in size, averaging 5-10 centimeters in diameter and are globular in shape with rounded to slightly tapered ends. The bulb is encased in a light yellow to copper, dry, papery skin. The flaky, layered skin surrounds a white to cream-colored translucent flesh. The ringed flesh is firm, crisp, and juicy. Spanish onions are crunchy with a pungent flavor when raw, and when cooked, they develop a nutty, mild flavor with sweet undertones.
Spanish onions are available year round.
Spanish onions are the most common cooking onion and are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as dry-roasting, sauteing, grilling, caramelizing, and braising. Known for their use in the classic French Onion soup, Spanish onions are popularly chopped and used as a flavoring for soups, stews, and stocks. The onions can also be caramelized by cooking over low to medium heat, cooked into gratins, casseroles, and braises, or added to roasted meats and vegetables as a hearty side dish. Spanish onions pair well with cream sauces, curries, pasta dishes, parsley, basil, Dijon mustard, potatoes, green beans, peas, beets, turnips, tomatoes, paprika, red wine, light bodied vinegar's, meats such as pork, poultry, turkey, veal, steak, beef, and white fish, goat, cheddar, and aged sheep?s cheese. The bulbs will keep 1-2 months when stored whole in a cool, dry, dark place with plenty of air circulation.
Vidalia onions are medium to large in size with a globular, flattened, squat shape, narrowing at the stem and root ends and widening around the middle. The bulb is encased in a pale copper-gold to light yellow, thin parchment-like skin. The dry and flaky skin protects the firm, white, and juicy flesh and within the flesh, there are many thin, layered rings. Vidalia onions are crisp and tender with a mild, sweet flavor.
Vidalia onions are available in the mid-spring through late summer.
Vidalia onions are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as grilling, roasting, frying, sauteing, and braising. When used fresh, the onions can be sliced and tossed into salads, layered in burgers, wraps, and sandwiches, or minced into salsa or dips. The onions can also be caramelized, adding a deep, rich sweetness to any dish, grilled for pulled pork sandwiches, or slow-cooked with stews, mashed potatoes, or casseroles. Vidalia onions can add sweetness to desserts, served with heirloom tomatoes in a simple salad with an oil-and-vinegar dressing, mixed into creamy pasta, boiled in French onion soup, fried into rings, or used as a pizza topping. Vidalia onions pair well with yogurt-based dips, curry powder, honey, chives, pears, mango, ginger, asparagus, goat cheese, meats such as pork, beef, poultry, and fish.
A member of the Nightshade family, the Green Bell pepper is closed related to the Wax pepper. Easily recognized for its bell-like shape, the Green Bell pepper has a thick outer skin and hollow center. Green Bell peppers offer a crisp texture, with a green flavor that has lingering mild acidic notes.
Green Bell peppers are available year-round.
Banana peppers are slender and elongated, averaging 5 to 12 centimeters in length, and have a signature curved and conical shape with tapered, pointed ends. The skin is waxy, smooth, and ripens from yellow to orange or red when fully mature. Underneath the surface, the flesh is thick and crisp, encasing a central cavity filled with many small, round cream-colored seeds. Banana chili peppers are mild with little heat and have a tangy, slightly sweet flavor that is enhanced maturity.
Banana chili peppers are best in the summer but available year-round.
Banana chili peppers are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as frying, baking, and roasting. When used fresh, Banana chili peppers can be chopped and used as a garnish on salads, hot dogs, pizzas, and sandwiches or blended into salsa. The peppers can also be pickled and served on cheese boards or used as a topping on cooked meats. In addition to fresh and pickled preparations, Banana chili peppers are popularly stuffed and fried, cooked into pepper jelly, or roasted with other vegetables and meats. The sweet peppers can even be used to top ice cream. Banana chili peppers pair well with cured meats, Italian sausage, fried chicken, roasted ham, bacon, cucumbers, artichoke hearts, olives, cabbage, shallots, spinach, arugula, Romano cheese, rice, and quinoa. The peppers will keep 2-3 weeks when stored whole, unwashed, and loosely placed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Green Jalape?o chili peppers are curved to straight pods, averaging 5 to 15 centimeters in length and 2 to 5 centimeters in diameter, and have a conical shape tapering to a rounded point on the non-stem end. The skin is smooth, taut, and glossy, ripening from dark green to red when mature. Underneath the surface, the thick flesh is crisp, green, and aqueous, encasing a central cavity filled with round and flat, cream-colored seeds. Green Jalape?o chili peppers have a bright, vegetal, and grassy flavor mixed with a mild to moderate level of spice.
Green Jalape?o chili peppers are available year-round.
Green Jalape?o chili peppers are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as roasting, baking, grilling, simmering, and stir-frying. The green peppers are considered to be one of the most versatile culinary varieties and can be chopped into salsas, blended into hot sauces and marinades, diced into dips and guacamole, or cooked into jelly. The peppers can also be sliced into stews, soups, and chili's, baked into muffins and bread, chopped for ceviche, sprinkled over pizzas, or used as a topping over nachos and tacos. In addition to cooked applications, Green Jalape?o chili peppers are a common pickling pepper and can be used as a condiment on hot dogs and sandwiches. Their thicker flesh also makes them ideal for stuffing with vinegar, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, beans, corn, cheese, cream-based sauces, pork, and ground beef. Green Jalape?o chili peppers pair well with fruits such as kiwi, pineapple, mango, and watermelon, cheeses such as feta, cheddar, and cream cheese, meats such as bacon, pork, beef, and poultry, shrimp, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, carrots, radish, corn, avocado, potatoes, cilantro, and arugula. Fresh peppers will keep up to one week when stored whole and unwashed in a paper bag in the refrigerator. The peppers can also be frozen up to three months.
Orange bell peppers are medium to large in size, averaging 5-8 centimeters in diameter and 5-12 centimeters in length, and are rounded, square, and block in shape with 3-4 lobes and a thick green stem. The smooth skin is firm, glossy, and bright orange, and underneath the skin, the equally bright orange flesh is thick, juicy, crisp, and succulent. There is also a central, hollow cavity that contains very small, flat and bitter cream-colored seeds and a thin, spongy white to pale orange membrane. Orange bell peppers have an aqueous crunch and are sweet with a fruity flavor.
Orange bell peppers are available year-round, with a peak season in the summer.
Orange bell peppers are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as baking, roasting, grilling, and sauteing. When used fresh, the peppers can be chopped into salads, sliced and served as an appetizer with dips, layered in sandwiches, or minced into salsas. They can also be sauteed with eggs, cooked into pasta sauce, blended into a soup or chili, grilled on skewers, stir-fried with other vegetables and meats, or served with tacos. In addition to cooked preparations, Orange bell peppers are commonly hollowed and used as a serving vessel for soups, dips, and stuffing. Orange bell peppers pair well with basil, oregano, thyme, spinach, beets, tomatoes, garlic, quinoa, rice, lentils, onion, fennel, sausages, steak, poultry, calamari, fish, eggs, pine nuts, crumbled blue cheese, goat cheese, citrus vinaigrette, and potatoes. The peppers will keep up to one week when stored unwashed in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
Red bell peppers are medium to large in size, averaging 5-8 centimeters in diameter and 5-12 centimeters in length, and are rounded, square, and block like in shape with 3-4 lobes and a thick green stem. The smooth skin is firm, glossy, and bright red, and underneath the skin, the pale red flesh is thick, juicy, crisp, and succulent. There is also a central, hollow cavity that contains very small, flat and bitter cream-colored seeds and a thin, spongy white to pale red membrane. Red bell peppers have an aqueous crunch and are sweet with a fruity flavor.
Red bell peppers are available year-round, with a peak season in the summer.
Red bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A, and also contain vitamins E, K, and B6, potassium, manganese, fiber, folate, and thiamin. They also contain lycopene, which is an antioxidant that has been known to help protect the body and fight free radicals.
Red bell peppers are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as roasting, grilling, saut?ing, baking, and stir-frying. The sweet pepper can be chopped and tossed into green salads, mixed with orange and yellow peppers for a crunchy side dish, or sliced and layered on vegetable platters with dips such as hummus, yogurt, or dressings. They can also be cooked and blended into marinara sauces, stews, chilis, or soups, sliced and layered with squash and tomato and baked into a gratin, used as a pizza topping, grilled and placed in sandwiches, rolled into fajitas or tacos, or baked into a casserole. In addition to fresh and cooked preparations, Red bell peppers can be canned or pickled for use as a condiment. Red bell peppers pair well with basil, coriander, parsley, rosemary, arugula, garlic, onions, pesto, tahini, salsa, guacamole, cheeses such as goat, parmesan, and mozzarella, zucchini, snap peas, corn, tomatoes, anchovies, pork, poultry, steak, vinegar, olive oil, olives, black beans, chickpeas, pine nuts, and rice. The peppers will keep up to one week when stored unwashed in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
Yellow bell peppers are medium to large in size, averaging seven centimeters in length and five centimeters in diameter, and are rounded, square, and blocky in shape with 3-4 lobes and a thick green stem. The smooth skin is firm, glossy, and pale green when young, transforming to bright yellow with age. Underneath the skin, the vibrant yellow flesh is thick, crisp, and succulent, with a hollow cavity that contains very small, flat and bitter cream-colored seeds and a thin, spongy membrane. Yellow bell peppers are crunchy and juicy with a mild, sweet flavor.
Yellow bell peppers are available year-round, with a peak season in the summer.
Red potatoes are small to medium in size and are round or oval with a somewhat uniform shape. The thin skin is ruby to deep red and is smooth with some light brown speckling, spots, and indentations. There are also a few medium-set eyes found across the surface of the skin. The flesh is crisp, white, and firm. When cooked, Red potatoes have a waxy and dense texture and a mild, buttery, and earthy flavor.
Red potatoes are available year-round.
Red potatoes are best suited for cooked applications such as boiling, mashing, baking, or roasting. They readily absorb accompanying flavors and offer a textural element in a variety of dishes both cold and hot. Red potatoes are considered an excellent salad potato because they hold their shape well when cooked and can be roasted and smashed when small in size. They can also be used in soups, stews, and curries, or served baked or mashed. Red potatoes are popularly diced and sauteed for breakfast hash or sliced thin and used on pizza. They can be cubed, roasted, and served alongside meats as a hearty side dish. Red potatoes pair well with lemon, garlic, parmesan cheese, rosemary, herbs, basil, dill, parsley, goat cheese, leeks, sausage, Shishito peppers, and green beans. They will keep for a couple of weeks when stored in a cool, dry, and dark place.
Mini white potatoes are small to medium in size and are oblong to round with a slightly flattened and irregular shape, approximately five centimeters in diameter. The smooth, off-white to cream-colored skin is thin to the point where it almost appears translucent and is speckled with faint, medium-set eyes and brown spots. The white flesh is firm, dense, and has a low starch content and a waxy texture. When cooked, White Rose potatoes are smooth and creamy with a buttery and earthy flavor.
Mini white potatoes are available year-round, with peak season in the late spring through early summer.
Mini white potatoes are best suited for cooked applications such as boiling, frying, baking, or mashing. The mini white potato will stay firm and hold its shape when cooked making it an ideal choice for scalloped potatoes, casseroles, and potato salads. Boil, mash, and serve as is or use it to stuff tacos, thicken soups, or make twice baked potatoes. Mini white potatoes pair well with onions, garlic, poultry, shallots, smoked Gruyere cheese, rosemary, mustard, and white pepper. White Rose potatoes will keep up to two weeks when stored in a cool, dry, and dark place. Avoid refrigeration as the cold temperatures will cause the potato to become overly sweet and turn a dark unappetizing color.
Yams are medium to large in size and are ovate and cylindrical in shape with tapered ends. The rough skin showcases a brown-rose hue and is often speckled with darker spots and faint lines. It is also covered in small, root hairs and shallow eyes. The flesh is a vibrant orange and is firm, dense, and moist. When cooked, yams retain their bright orange-yellow hue and offer a moist, starchy, and fluffy texture. Its flavor is sweet with a subtle earthiness and nuances of chestnuts.
Yams are available year-round, with peak season in fall through winter.
Yukon Gold potatoes are medium to large in size and are round to oblong with a slightly flattened shape. The smooth, thin, and gold to light brown skin is relatively eye free creating a uniform texture and shape. The skin is also speckled with many small, brown spots. The flesh is yellow to gold, firm, moist, and waxy. When cooked, Yukon Gold potatoes take on a creamy and tender consistency with a rich, buttery, and earthy flavor.
Yukon Gold potatoes are available year-round.
Yukon Gold potatoes are best suited for cooked applications such as roasting, grilling, frying, mashing, sauteing, and boiling. Extremely versatile, these potatoes can be boiled and mashed or used to make gratins, hash browns, and purees. Yukon Gold potatoes are also a popular potato choice for French fries. They pair well with cream, butter, garlic, bacon, cheese, fried and scrambled eggs, and herbs such as oregano, cilantro, sage, basil, and tarragon. Yukon Gold potatoes will keep up to two weeks when stored in a cool, dry, and dark location.
Typically measuring about two and one-half inches long and one inch in diameter, the popular Russian Banana fingerling potato is also harvested when it is four to five inches long. This potato's flesh is characteristically very waxy and moist. One of the grower's very favorite variety.
Fingerling potatoes are available year-round.
This potato is absolutely delicious roasted with olive oil. Taking advantage of its creamy consistency, grill or roast this tasty potato in the oven; smash it; add sour cream and salt and black pepper to taste.
The Red radish is grown mainly for its root; a small, scarlet globe with a crisp and peppery, translucent, white flesh. Their roots range in diameter from one to three inches. The radish produces green leaves that grow from the root above ground, which are also edible. They have the texture of watercress and a bit of its flavor, but with a great mustard like bite as well.
Red radishes are available year-round.
Red radishes are one of the most commonly used radishes in culinary preparations and can be utilized in both cooked and raw preparations, making them a versatile ingredient in the kitchen. Sliced thin they can be used to add spice and a refreshing crispness to tacos, sandwiches, pasta and pizza. They can be roasted, braised, grilled or pickled. Their flavor pairs well with butter, cream based sauces, fresh herbs, lemon, onion and shellfish. To store keep Red radishes dry and refrigerated. For best texture and flavor use within one to two weeks.
The classic butternut squash is one of the most popular varieties. Producing a rich, golden-yellow flesh with excellent texture, butternuts are a smooth long-necked bowling pin- or bell-shaped squash encased with a pinkish-tan hard rind. Having a relatively small seed cavity in its bulbous end, its tender flesh offers a superb creamy flavor. This old favorite offers fine eating and consistent flavor. Yielding more meat than most other squashes, butternuts weigh two to five pounds.
Butternut squash is best in the fall and winter months, but is available year-round.
To prepare, cut well rinsed squash in half lengthwise; remove seeds. Bake, roast, grill or puree.
A quintessential variety of tomatoes: From bright red, sun-gold orange and pale yellow in color to juicy, low-acid and tomato-true flavors, this is an idyllic mix of pronounced and wonderful varieties.
Cherry tomatoes are at their peak late spring through summer, but available year-round.
Beefsteak tomatoes, aptly named for their large size and meaty texture, have a classic tomato flavor, however, depending upon the variety, they can also be sweet to the taste. They are heavy, reaching weights as high as four pounds, and they range in color from pink, to vibrant red, to orange. Most are smooth in shape, although there are a few ribbed varieties, such as Red Ponderosa and Coustralee. When growing tomatoes, there are two main distinctions in the plant itself: determinate v. indeterminate. Determinate tomatoes bloom and set fruit all at once and then decline. Their blossoms grow at the ends of shoots, thus stopping growth and determining their length. Indeterminate tomatoes continue to grow and to produce tomatoes throughout the summer because the flowers grow along the vines rather than at the ends.
Beefsteak tomatoes are available year-round with a peak season in the summer months.
The size of the Beefsteak tomato makes it ideal for sandwiches and burgers. Try them in a stacked salad, sliced lengthwise and layered with avocado and mozzarella. Dice them and cook them down with garlic, olive oil, and fresh herbs for a quick pasta sauce. Or even roast slices of Beefsteak tomato with olive oil, salt and pepper, and then add to soups and sauces; roasting enhances their natural flavor. Like other tomatoes, Beefsteak tomatoes should be stored at room temperature until ripe, after which refrigeration can slow decay.
Cluster Tomato plants will be trained up wires to 20 feet in the air as the season continues. The fruit (yes, Tomatoes are scientifically a fruit) is firm and plump ? and gorgeous. The vines are stout and healthy, and if you give those stems a sniff you ought to get a delightful whiff of tomato plant. When you can see the little yellow hairs on the stems ? you know it is fresh! Since the fruit can still draw on water and nutrients left in the vine, the greener and thicker, the better.
What about the flavor? Expect a mild tomato taste and juicy flesh. If you are expecting the flavor to compare to homegrown, summer field tomatoes you won't be disappointed.
Red Grape tomatoes are bright to dark red in color with a firm, smooth skin, and a shape similar to that of an olive or grape. Like the cherry tomato, Red Grape tomatoes are small and flavor-fully sweet, however they have a thicker skin that is crack resistant, handling packing and shipping better with a longer shelf life. As the name implies, these tomatoes grow in grape-like bunches of about twenty on indeterminate plants, which continue to grow, set fruit, and ripen until a frost arrives. Also known as vining types, they require staking or other support. They are extremely easy to grow, although harvesting may be labor intensive.
Red Grape tomatoes are available year-round with a peak season during late summer.
Red Grape tomatoes are first and foremost great for snacking on fresh, and they are quintessential for use in salads and fresh salsas. They can be used in nearly any recipe that calls for cherry tomatoes, or tomatoes in general. Mature fruits can be processed and cooked to make ketchup, compotes and jams. They can also be blanched, pureed, and made into soups, sauces and sorbets. Pair Red Grape tomatoes with other ingredients that are fresh and in season. Store Red Grape tomatoes at room temperature for approximately two to three days, or until ripe, after which refrigeration can slow the process of decay and prevent further ripening.
Roma tomatoes have an elongated egg-like shape, and they grow to about three inches long. Their bright red, smooth and thick skin houses meaty flesh with few seeds, high sugar and acid levels, and low moisture content compared to other tomato varieties, ideal for cooking down into a tomato sauce or paste. The disease-resistant plants grow to an average of four to six feet, and because this is a determinate plant, the fruits will grow to a set height and ripen about the same time, producing one large crop typically toward the end of the season.
Roma tomatoes are available year-round.
Unlike a slicing tomato, Roma tomatoes are not juicy, and they have thicker and drier flesh that cooks down easily into a thick sauce. Cooking also intensifies their slightly sweet tomato flavor. Hence, Roma tomatoes are the trademark tomato for making sauces, pastes, and soups, although they do well in both cooked and raw preparations. They can be slow roasted, dried, stuffed and baked, and their meaty flesh also makes them great for fresh chopped salads and salsas, or adding into an omelet. They pair well with garlic, chilies, beans, shrimp, basil, oregano, cilantro and both fresh and aged cheeses. Store Roma tomatoes at room temperature away from direct sunlight, and use ripe, firm tomatoes immediately, or refrigerate them to slow the process of decay. Roma tomatoes also freeze well for later use.
The Zucchini squash has a uniformly cylindrical shape with little to no taper from its stem to blossom end. It can be harvested when it is at its baby stage or when more mature at up to six to eight inches long. Many growers and chefs note that Zucchini will be at its peak flavor and texture when five to six inches in length. The exterior glossy skin of the Zucchini is vibrant to dark green in color and delicate enough to consume. Summer squash such as Zucchini are harvested when immature for best flavor, as a result their skin is delicate and prone to easily bruising and scratching. Its flesh is creamy white in color with a spongy yet firm texture and faint traces of edible seeds. It offers a sweet summer squash flavor with nuances of black peppercorn and nutty undertones. In addition to the fruit of the Zucchini plant the flower blossoms of Zucchini are also edible and offer a mild, squash like flavor.
Originally grown as a summer vegetable, Zucchini squash is suitable to forced cultivation in temperate climates and is available for harvest year-round.
Zucchini squash are mild in flavor, extremely versatile and can be prepared in sweet or savory recipes. Grate Zucchini and add squash to muffin or bread batter, or use to make vegetable pancakes and fritters. Thinly sliced Zucchini works well in salads or as part of a fresh (raw) appetizer such as vegetarian carpaccio. When sliced thinly lengthwise Zucchini squash can be an excellent substitute for conventional noodles in pasta preparations. Sliced Zucchini squash can be grilled, steamed, sauteed or battered and fried. Larger more mature squashes are perfectly sized for hollowing and baking when stuffed with meats, cheeses and grains. The Zucchini blossoms additionally can be stuffed with soft cheeses and herbs then battered and fried. The flavor and texture of Zucchini will complement a variety of ingredients such as tomatoes, garlic, corn, eggplant, fresh herbs such as parsley, basil and oregano, olive oil, pine nuts, eggs, citrus juice, sausage, roasted chicken and cheeses such as ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan. Zucchini squash will keep best when kept dry and refrigerated, for one to two weeks.