Did you know that all types of zucchini fall into the squash sub-type? Summertime brings out a nice bounty of squash that can lend a bright flavor to any dish. The crisp, juicy flavor of the different types of zucchini add a pop to roast or stir-fry, and this is where zucchini excels. They’re also called melons or courgettes, and they are a summer style-squash that originates from the United States. However, many of the popular types of zucchinis come from Italy, and this is where they get their names.
They were originally called the green Italian squash, and they didn’t get a lot of recognition throughout the United States until the 20th century. Today, this is a very affordable and versatile vegetable that finds its way into a huge range of dishes, including desserts and savory ones.
Zucchini is a very popular addition to a huge range of dishes to add a boost of nutrients due to the bright color and mild taste. Zucchini by [puamelia] / CC BY-SA 2.0
Additionally, different types of zucchini don’t have distinct flavors. Most people claim that this vegetable hardly has a taste to it, but very fresh zucchini can taste slightly sweet. Also, this vegetable tends to take on the taste of whatever you cook it with, and this is why many people choose to make it alongside ingredients that have stronger tastes. When you buy them, all of the different types of zucchini should be soft on the inside and slightly firm to the touch on the outside.
It’s also easy to grow and very low-maintenance, and this makes it popular with new gardeners. You do want to wait until late summer to sow the seeds too. If you’re not sure which type of zucchini will work best for your needs, read on.
Zucchini plants are very sensitive to frost, so you don’t want to plant your zucchini until the frost danger has passed and the weather settles down. Direct sowing is a nice way to go because it’s less work, and the plants can get a chance to develop stronger root systems. However, if you’re very careful, you can successfully transplant seedlings.
The types of zucchini we go over below should be 18 to 24-inches apart in rows that are six feet apart. Varieties that produce exceptionally big plants do better if they have room to sprawl out, and it reduces the competition for nutrients. They do best in well-drained but rich soil, and you want to have great air circulation to keep everything healthy.
How long it takes your type of zucchini to mature will vary from one to the next. Once the fruits get big enough to pick, you should make a point to harvest them often. If you don’t pick regularly, the plants will stop producing new fruits and make the current ones grow much bigger.
17 Types of Zucchini
There are several different types of zucchini available, and some are available throughout the winter months. We’ve picked out 17 popular types of zucchini for you, and you can decide which ones will work best for your needs.
1. All Green Bush Zucchini
This type of zucchini is a voluminous but simple cultivar that is very easy to grow and makes an excellent ingredient when you cook. All this zucchini is is a bigger green squash. This type of zucchini actually grows more like a bush, and this is where the plant gets the name from. The fruit can get up to eight inches long when it’s fully mature, but you typically harvest it at four-inches. This will give you the best crunch and flavor when you eat it. This is also a point where you can still enjoy eating the skin before it gets far too tender to cook.
2. Bianco di Trieste Zucchini
This is a pale green type of zucchini that has a glossy and pretty skin. This isn’t a very long zucchini type, and it’ll usually only get around half as big as most other zucchini cultivars. The word Bianco means white in Italian, and Trieste refers to a city in Italy where it originally became popular. You’ll get a fruit that is slightly more swollen along the bottom, and this allows you to stuff it for your lunch. You also get a very quick yield with this plant because they’re one of the earlier ones to bloom. The skin is so pale green that it looks white, and this can make a beautiful garnish.
3. Black Beauty Zucchini
This type of zucchini gets the name because it has a very dark green skin that can look black. It’s a very slender and long fruit that you can eat throughout the season at different maturity stages. Another nice point to this cultivar is that it’s capable of producing a large amount of fruit from a single plant throughout the summer and fall months. It does require a little more maintenance to keep it healthy, but it’ll reward you with a lot of zucchinis.
The darker coloring on this type of zucchini makes it a very popular choice for anyone who wants something a little different in their garden. Zucchini-BlackBeauty-LargeFruit-8185 by graibeard / CC BY-SA 2.0
Caserta is one type of zucchini that belongs to the heirloom category, and it’s one of the most popular zucchini types. You can easily grow it in a small garden as it doesn’t take up a huge amount of space, and it won’t need to sprawl out as it grows. So, you could even get away with planting it in a container garden without an issue.
This type of zucchini is very similar to a cucumber when it comes to the size, shape, and color. However, it has darker green streaks that make it stand out. It’s packed full of flavor, and it can be far less watery than other zucchini types. You do want to be careful when you grow this zucchini in your garden though because you have to pay very close attention to the harvest process. If you don’t harvest them in time, they’ll lose a lot of the flavor that makes them so desirable. They can dry out. You get very deep green leaves that last throughout the season.
6. Costata Romanesco
This is an old-fashioned type of zucchini, and it offers ribbed fruits that are very attractive. You’ll get dense flesh that comes packed full of flavor. The flesh on this plant is also much less watery than a lot of the commercial varieties that have higher yields, and it keeps a firmer consistency when you cook it. It comes with a very strong flower attachment that makes it easy to harvest while keeping the flower intact, and the big flowers are great if you stuff and cook them. You should space them three feet apart, and they’re semi-vining plants.
7. Crookneck Squash
You’ll get a stunning bright yellow coloring on this type of zucchini, and it has a crooked neck. This is where the name comes from. It has a slender and long shape to it, and the neck will curve. You can find green, plain yellow, or plants that have a mix of the two colors. You often find it mixed in with the tromboncino variety because it has a crooked shape, but the tromboncino is much longer. It comes with a very mild but sweet flavor, and you usually harvest it when it’s just shy of two inches long for the best taste.
The bright yellow coloring makes this a welcome addition to many gardens as it draws the eye as they mature. It also adds a splash of color to your dishes. Yellow Crookneck Squash by sienda weblines / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
8. Dunja Zucchini
This is another sought-after type of zucchini, and you get a very glossy skin with a straight growth habit. It has a very easy and quick harvesting process that makes it a favorite amongst gardeners, and you can grow them in a traditional garden or a straw bale garden without any huge issues.
9. Gadzukes Zucchini
This is an Italian type of zucchini that has a star shape that gives way to round discs when you splice it. The fruit’s body comes with a striped texture to it that helps it keep the star shape when you slice it in the intersection. It has a very sweet taste to it, and this makes it a great addition to stir-fry, curry, or as spiralized zucchini zoodles. They have fruit ready very quickly and they’re easy to grow, and this makes them popular in gardens. You can typically harvest right around 50 days after you plant them, and they don’t get too tough to eat if you decide to leave them until later in the season.
10. Gourmet Gold Zucchini
Gourmet gold zucchini has a very pretty golden-yellow coloring, and this is where they get their name. Most types of zucchini we’ve talked about so far are in the green family, so this one can really stand out. They make a very bright addition to any salad plate or dish, and it doesn’t have a huge taste difference from a traditional green zucchini.
11. Magda Zucchini
This is a type of zucchini that comes with a very distinct pale green coloring to it. It also has a much thicker skin, and you’ll get a unique nutty flavoring. If you want to cook a fresh stir-fry and introduce a layer of bright-tasting squash, this is a great pick. It also works very well in curry. You can enjoy it grilled because the juices will give it a very crunchy and crisp flavor and texture, and it’s a great addition to your summer barbecue. This plant thrives the best when you plan on smaller harvests. The smaller the harvest is, the healthier your plant’s vines will be. So, plan on growing small batches each year.
12. Nero de Milano Zucchini
This is a very exotic-sounding type of zucchini, and it originates in Italy. You’ll find it growing in the Lombardy region of the country. It’s one plant that you can grow if you want something very rewarding in terms of harvest and maintenance needs. The name translates to Black of Milan, and this references the zucchini’s skin coloring that is so dark green that it looks black. The fruit on this plant can get up to eight inches long, and you want to pick them as soon as they mature. The more fruits you pick, the more you’ll encourage your plant to grow throughout the season.
13. Pattypan Squash
If you thought that this type of zucchini only comes in a bright yellow, you’d be mistaken. You can find this zucchini in white, cream, dark green, and light green coloring. Along with being available in a large range of colors, they also vary in size. You can get anything from tiny fruits up to large sizes. You can grill, stuff, or roast this type of zucchini very easily, and a few dishes where this zucchini excels includes pattypan squash carpaccio, roasted pattypan squash with herbs and garlic, stuffed pattypan squash, and pattypan squash casserole.
This is a uniquely-shaped type of squash that gives you a star-shape when you cut it open. It also has a bright yellow color, but it can come in green or a combination of yellow and green. Hillcrest Farmers Market by Rob Bertholf / CC BY 2.0
14. Rampicante Zucchini
This is a very versatile type of zucchini, and you can easily find them available during the winter. This makes them an evergreen squash. You’ll usually get a taller plant with fruits that grow in length for as long as you let them by leaving them on the vine. All you have to do is harvest them once they reach your preferred length. However, you do want to wait to harvest them until the skin has a bright lime green coloring to it, and it should also have darker green stripes running up the body.
15. Round Zucchini
You’ll get a unique rounded shape with this type of zucchini, but it doesn’t offer a hugely different flavor profile than the long or thin types. However, the dishes you use it in are more versatile and tasty than you get with other types of zucchini as the flavor tends to carry through better. If you want to have baked, stuffed, or roasted zucchini, this is a good one to choose. They’re extremely easy to hollow out using a knife before stuffing with the filling of your choice. You can roast or bake them in the oven quickly and easily.
16. Tromboncino Zucchini
This type of zucchini gets its name from the fact that it has a trombone shape, or the shape of a wind instrument that falls into the brass family. The Italian name will translate into little trumpet, and it’s very common to hear it called the zucchetta. It has a very slender and long shape to it, and the bottom of this fruit will turn upwards to give it an instrument-like look. They can get up to an impressive three feet long. They’re usually a very pale green color as they mature, and they can take on a creamy look as you get closer to the harvest point. Instead of being regular bushy zucchini, these are climbing zucchini that like the support of trellises to keep the vines up off the ground.
17. Zucchini Flowers
In the middle of summer, you’ll usually see types of zucchini in vendor stalls or farmers markets that have the orangish-yellow flowers attached. The flowers aren’t just for display. Instead, you can eat them right along with the zucchini. They have a very mild taste to them, much like you’d get by eating a traditional zucchini. They do well if you stuff them with ricotta, bacon, and mushrooms.
Zucchini flowers can grow quite large, and they have a very pretty deep yellow coloring to them to make them stand out. Zucchini flower by allispossible.org.uk / CC BY 2.0
How to Use Different Types of Zucchini
If you planted far too many zucchini plants and types of zucchini this year, you may be wondering what to do with the excess. After all, it’s not feasible to eat it all before it goes bad. However, there are several things that you can do with any leftover zucchini besides giving it away, and we found a few ideas to help you use or save it below.
Add it to Your Salads
No matter if you dice or slice them, zucchini makes a nice addition to any salad. Many people prefer to slice them like you would a cucumber before adding them to the salad, but it’s just as easy to slice them lengthwise to add a fun touch to the green medley.
Put it in Spaghetti
This one is very easy. All you have to do is make the spaghetti just like you normally would. Once you plate it, you can add a helping of shredded zucchini on top and mix it in. The subtle pops of green can be a welcome addition to any meal.
Make Butter out of It
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 small zucchini
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Salt and pepper
You can make your own zucchini butter using whatever types of zucchini you want, and it goes great on toast or used as a spread. You’ll start by grating two pounds of zucchini and draining it in a colander for 5 to 10 minutes to remove as much of the moisture as possible. Once you do, get a deep skillet and heat a quarter of a cup of olive oil. Add two crushed garlic cloves, two cups of basil leaves, and two minced shallots. Saute everything before adding the zucchini and the lemon juice. Cook and stir it over medium heat until you can spread the zucchini. Add salt and pepper to taste, and add the parmesan cheese if you wish.
Turkey Burgers with Zucchini
- 1 Clove Garlic
- 1 Onion (grated)
- 1 small zucchini (grated)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Turkey burgers are a healthy alternative to traditional beef burgers, and you can make them even healthier by adding a type of zucchini. You’ll want to get a grater and make a very fine pile out of one small zucchini before grating one onion and a clove of garlic. Squeeze the moisture out before you add it to your turkey burger. Add the breadcrumbs and salt and pepper to taste before forming patties and frying them.
- 1/2 onions (quartered)
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 2 tbs sour cream
- 32 oz. Chicken Broth
- 3 medium zucchinis (cut into large chunks)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
To start, quarter your onions, cut your zucchini up into large chunks, and crush two cloves of garlic. Get a large stock pot and combine your chicken broth, garlic, onions, and zucchini into it over medium heat. Bring the ingredients to a boil before letting them simmer for 20 minutes. Take everything off the heat, and put the soup mixture into a blender with the sour cream. Blend it until it forms a smooth puree. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
- 1/2 cup Green Peppers(chopped)
- 1/2 cup Mushrooms (chopped)
- 1/2 cup Red Peppers(chopped)
- 1 cup Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
- 1 Onion (chopped)
- 2 Medium Zucchinis
- 2 tbsp Ketchup
- 3/4 lb. Ground Beef
- Salt & pepper to taste
Start by trimming the ends off of two medium zucchinis before cutting them in half lengthwise. Scoop out any pulp to leave ½-inch shells. You’ll chop the pulp up to use it later. Get a larger skillet and add your beef, zucchini pulp, mushrooms, onions, and peppers until the meat is done over medium-high heat. Drain the excess liquid and add ½ cup of cheese, salt, pepper, and ketchup. Spoon the mixture into the shells and put them on a greased or lined baking sheet. Cook them at 350°F for 30 minutes before taking out, topping with the leftover cheese, and serving.
Zucchini boats are a fun way to use whole zucchinis in a recipe, and you can stuff them with a huge range of items. Zucchini by joeless / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
How to Store Zucchini
There are several ways that you can store different types of zucchini until you’re ready to take it out and use it. This way, you can plant and harvest more than you need right now and enjoy it for weeks.
Store in the Refrigerator with Proper Wrapping
If you’re planning on using the types of zucchini relatively quickly, you can pop it into the refrigerator to store it. You want to keep it dried, whole, and unwashed. You can store them in a paper or plastic bag with one end open to encourage good air circulation before putting them in the crisper drawer. They’ll be ready to use for one to two weeks, but the skin will start to shrivel during this time. If you have a lot of zucchini blossoms, you’ll want to use them as soon as you can because they don’t store well due to their delicate natures.
Blanch and Store in Your Freezer
In the freezer, your zucchini can keep for up to three months without a problem. This is a great idea if you have far too much on-hand that you’ll be able to use in two weeks. Freezing it is straightforward, and all you do is:
- Wash them before slicing them into ½-inch rounds to get them ready for blanching. Blanching is one quick way to stop enzyme activity in your types of zucchini, and this activity is what causes them to lose nutrients and change the texture. It also preserves the vibrant color.
- Get a large pot of salted water and bring it to a boil. Get a bigger bowl of ice water and set it aside. Once the water starts to boil, you’ll put the zucchini slices in for a minute or two until they get a bit tender and look bright.
- Drain your zucchini in a colander right away and plunge them into the ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Once your zucchini slices are cool, you want to drain them out using a colander again and pack them in freezer bags in one or two-cup quantities. You can pack grated raw zucchini in freezer bags too. They’ll release liquid when you defrost them, but you can drain it or use it in a soup.
We’ve showcased 17 types of zucchini for you to consider when you plant your garden this year, and we’ve also shown you several ways to use them. If you have excess, you can use our methods to store them until you need them. Either way, you get a nutritious boost to your dishes when you add them.