Grocery Guides

Yellow Squash – All You Need to Know | Instacart Guide to Fresh Produce



Aug 10, 2021

What is yellow squash?

Yellow squash is often confused with zucchini; however, the distinct difference lies in the shape and color. Zucchini is often straight (same width) from top to bottom, while yellow squash (or any squash variety) is thinner in width towards the top and has a wider bottom.

Although squash is commonly referred to as a vegetable, technically, the squash is a “pepo” or a one-celled, seeded berry with a hard rind. Because of this, squash is biologically considered a fruit due to its seeds.

There are winter squashes and summer squashes. Yellow squash falls under the summer category. Summer squash varieties are harvested before they have had the opportunity to fully mature, which leaves the skin of summer squash types more tender, flavorful, and edible.

Mild and almost nutty in flavor, yellow squash is extremely versatile. Yellow squash can be roasted, stir-fried, or added as a flavorful side to a protein.

Where does yellow squash originate from?

Yellow squash is said to have originated from the Americas, most notably in Central America and Mexico, where remains were discovered to date back to 7000 BC. The term ‘squash’ is believed to have stemmed from the Algonquin phrase “askoot asquash” which means “eaten green.”

What is the nutritional value of yellow squash?

Typically, one medium-sized squash contains:

  • 32 calories
  • 0.4g of fat
  • 4mg of sodium
  • 514mg of potassium
  • 7g of total carbohydrates
  • 2.2g of fiber
  • 4.3g of sugar
  • 2.4g of protein
  • 55% of your Daily Value (DV) of vitamin C
  • 20% DV of vitamin B-6
  • 8% DV of magnesium
  • 7% DV of vitamin A
  • 3% DV of iron
  • 2% DV of calcium

How is yellow squash grown?

Yellow squash is a squash variety typically grown in the summertime. After planting your seeds, yellow squash will usually be ready for harvest after 50-70 days.

You can often find yellow squash seeds at your local grocery store. There are two growing varieties: yellow squash that grows in bushes or yellow squash on the vine. Bushes will take less space, while vining squash will expand across the garden area.

Yellow squash requires full and direct sunlight and will thrive best in soil with efficient drainage. If drainage is poor, your squash plants have a higher chance of becoming waterlogged and will rot before they have a chance to ripen. It is best to plant your seeds an inch deep in the soil and about 12 inches apart from each other. Squash needs room to expand and grow, regardless of whether you chose the bush or vining variety.

Yellow squash needs approximately an inch of water per week. Spread out your watering sessions across a few days, and be sure to water near the roots so they can fully absorb the moisture. Your yellow squash is ready to harvest when they reach around 6-8 inches in length. Squash can grow larger in size. However, their flavor is best when they are around this standard size.

When is yellow squash in season?

Squash, in general, has two peak seasons in the summer and the winter. Squash harvested in these separate seasons will produce a difference in taste and texture. While yellow squash is available throughout the year at your local grocery stores, they are at their peak season during the summer. See what other fresh produce is currently in season near you.

What should I look for when buying yellow squash?

When shopping for fresh yellow squash, take a good look at the outer rind. The rind should be shiny, firm but not hard, and have no visible cuts or discoloration. A ripe yellow squash should also be heavy. When selecting your yellow squash at the store, choose squash that is average in size. Squash that is overtly larger than average may have a more fibrous texture, while smaller squash will have less flavor in comparison to standard-sized yellow squash.

If you are looking to have your groceries conveniently delivered, you can easily shop for yellow squash and more via Instacart. After adding a product to your cart, use the “Instructions” option to notify your Instacart shopper about any preferences or specific directions on how to choose the best products.

How to store yellow squash

Yellow squash will store well in a plastic bag that is kept in the fridge. Your squash should remain unwashed until right before use. When stored properly in the refrigerator, yellow squash will stay fresh for about seven days.

You can also freeze your squash if you are not planning to consume it for some time. It is suggested that slicing your squash and blanching those slices for approximately two minutes before you freeze them will make the texture stay better intact.

How to tell if yellow squash is bad

Yellow squash will start to rot quickly if its outer rind is cut or punctured. Keep an eye out for squash that becomes discolored, starts to mold, or if the outer skin starts to become mushy. There are all signs that your yellow squash has started to spoil and should be disposed of and replaced immediately.

What can I substitute for yellow squash?

Yellow squash can be easily substituted for any other squash variety. Since yellow squash is a summer crop, you may want to try winter squashes. Yellow squash can also be substituted for zucchini. Zucchini will have a similar texture and taste.

For something a bit outside the realm of squash, try using eggplant. Eggplant will be softer in texture and have a mild, almost nutty flavor. Sweet potato can also be another alternative for yellow squash. The sweet potato will offer a firmer texture and sweet flavor.

Start cooking with yellow squash

Yellow squash is extremely versatile. Try adding yellow squash to your next culinary adventure by picking up some at your local grocery store or having your groceries conveniently delivered via Instacart.

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