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Tips to pick the best zucchini

fldhkybnva Sep 11, 2013 04:30 PM

I love zucchini, but am often disappointed. While ideally, I'd have my own garden, these days I'm limited to the grocery store and occasional Farmer's Market options. What are the best tips to pick the best zucchini? Do size, shape or color matter?

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  1. bobabear RE: fldhkybnva Sep 11, 2013 04:42 PM

    Smaller zucchini have better taste, so I pick the 5-6" ones. This is also true for growing them, pick them while they are smaller and more flavorful!

    At the store, I look at the stem to see if it's still healthy looking - not dried out, not shrunken, not moldy. Healthy = fresher.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bobabear
      fldhkybnva RE: bobabear Sep 12, 2013 09:48 AM

      So shorter length is better, is this also true for circumference? Some are short and quite rotund.

      1. re: fldhkybnva
        chefj RE: fldhkybnva Sep 12, 2013 06:39 PM

        Younger is better.
        Different varieties have different shapes.

    2. p
      Phoebe RE: fldhkybnva Sep 11, 2013 05:46 PM

      Totally agree that smaller is better. Look for the unblemished, darker green ones. Heavy for their weight. The best tip is what bobabear said... Looking at the stem end is the best indication to tell whether it's fresh, or was picked a long time ago.

      1. e
        escondido123 RE: fldhkybnva Sep 11, 2013 06:47 PM

        Smaller, hard and shiny skinned with no puckering.

        1 Reply
        1. re: escondido123
          jmnewel RE: escondido123 Sep 11, 2013 08:58 PM

          The stem end may be hard while the opposite end has begun to soften. Be sure to test each one to be sure that the blossom end is still firm.

        2. Cheese Boy RE: fldhkybnva Sep 11, 2013 09:48 PM

          This thread might help you ... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2772...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Cheese Boy
            fldhkybnva RE: Cheese Boy Sep 12, 2013 09:49 AM

            Thanks for the link, it seems most of the zucchini in the store I frequent is the speckled type but helpful to know to avoid the darker green type.

          2. JungMann RE: fldhkybnva Sep 12, 2013 08:54 AM

            If you are getting farmers market zucchini, you want to buy smaller, slim squash. Later in the season, they will have had a chance to grow fat which means more seeds and softer flesh. You may want to consider scooping out the seeds if you use these.

            1. fldhkybnva RE: fldhkybnva Sep 18, 2013 10:19 AM

              Thank for all of the tips. I actually found the smallest zucchini I've ever seen last week at Trader Joe's which worked great for zucchini noodles.

              1. mrbigshotno.1 RE: fldhkybnva Sep 18, 2013 12:42 PM

                Wherever I go at this time of the year, I never leave the car windows open because when I get back, it will be full of overgrown Zucchini.

                1. earthygoat RE: fldhkybnva Sep 18, 2013 05:15 PM

                  Yes, the smaller are better and freshness is key too. Super fresh, just picked zucchini, or any summer squash, have tiny prickly hairs that disappear over time and with plenty of handling, similar to pickling cucumbers. The hairier, the better.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: earthygoat
                    fldhkybnva RE: earthygoat Sep 18, 2013 05:16 PM

                    Great. I fear I might only be able to find the chunkers this week but perhaps that wouldn't be so bad if I'm using them for pasta as opposed to the focus of a dish. I will keep my eye out for prickly hairs.

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