post no. 53 – all the summer squash

Think all summer squash and zucchini is the same? Think again!

from left to right: Success PM Straightneck, Genovese Zucchini, Costata Romanesco Zucchini

In 2020 we are growing the 3 types of summer squash/zucchini shown above. Success PM Straightneck plants produce abundantly, and the squash a fairly uniform, attractive, pale yellow. Genovese Zucchini is a fine Italian zucchini with a delicate, smooth, pale green skin. Costata Romanesco is a distinctive Italian variety with pronounced ribbing.

They look different, great. What is the flavor and texture difference, though? Might as well see.

starting to cook up some Costata Romanesco

I prepared each type identically and simply, by sauteing in olive oil and adding some salt and pepper.

First observation: moisture content

Costata Romanesco, the first trial, released a lot of water. The amount wasn’t unpleasant in the end, but it was definitely more than the other two varieties were holding. Genovese Zucchini clearly had a fairly high moisture content as well, but Success PM Straightneck was noticeably drier than the zucchinis when sauteed.

On the moisture count, our favorite (for sauteing) is the Success PM yellow squash!

sauteing Success PM Straightneck yellow squash

Second observation: texture

Costata Romanesco zucchini is strongly ribbed and held up fairly well when sauteed. Sometimes zucchini can dissolve into a puddly mess in the pan, and we didn’t see that with Costata. Genovese zucchini resembled the puddly mess a little more, but we were still very pleased with the texture. While the squash broke down in the pan more than Costata did, we preferred the softer texture of the Genovese when we sampled the squash at the end. Both have a pleasant, fine texture, but Genovese was extremely soft without being mushy. Finally, Success PM Straightneck, with lower water content, unsurprisingly has a different texture than the other two. It broke down least in the pan, and has a pleasant, tender crunch as a result, while still maintaining a tender, fine feel.

On texture, we are pleased with all of the options, but it appears Success PM Straightneck comes away slightly on top again!

all 3, cooked. Clockwise from upper left, Sucess PM Straightneck, Costata Romanesco, and Genovese

Final observation: flavour

I am certain there are other metrics by which we could have judged this squash, but we mostly just like good food and aren’t going to obsess.

This time, let’s start with Genovese and Success PM, which, while differing in texture, have similarly mild flavour. There is a difference, which I would describe as more of a ‘vegetable’ flavor in the Success PM (the inadequacy of my tasting skill becomes obvious). Both varieties have extremely pleasant flavors that are richer/nuttier than an average dark green zucchini. Costata, on the other hand, known for its nuttiness, really stands out as distinctive in both appearance and flavour. The pleasant nutty flavor is a welcome change compared to many bland zucchini types.

We won’t choose a flavor favorite, because we honestly didn’t have one. We choose them all.

Conclusion

We highly recommend all of these squash varieties! In the end, the most honorable mention goes to Success PM Straightneck, which was extremely pleasing in all categories. Fortunately, we sell some containers with a mix of all 3 varieties, clearly the best option.

Whatever squash you eat, including squash not grown by us (what are you thinking?), avoid baseball bats! We simply to not understand why anyone picks/sells/buys fat squash that are a foot or more long: the seeds are tough and enlarged, and the flesh becomes tough or pithy. Choose squash and zucchini that is 5 to 8 inches long, for tenderness, fine flavor, and ease of cooking. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading.

-Patrick

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