Is the zucchini ready to be picked?

kmigs26July 6, 2014

This is my first time growing zucchini. I am kind of confused by the whole process. I am pretty sure that there were no male flowers around when this zucchini started to grow, so I don't know how it got pollinated. Is it possible that it didn't and it still grew? Is the fruit still edible? Or did it have to get pollinated to get to this stage? Also...is it ready for me to pick it? Its shape is kind of funny. Lastly, some of the leaves of my plant are turning yellow. I am assuming its lack of nutrition so I fertilized. Should I do anything else?

Thank you in advanced!!!
Kelly

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farmerdill

Past ready. Pick these when they are small. One this size could be used for zucchini bread, but will not be good many uses. This illustrates about the maximum size you want them.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 1:44PM
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kmigs26

Thank you! About how long and fat should they be? Measurement wise? This one was pretty small when it started getting "fat". Should I pick before it starts growing width wise?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 1:48PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

It's strange shape is due to inconsistent watering. Heavy rains or watering causes the swelling. Even out your soil moisture levels and you will get straight ones.As in the pic farmerdill posted that is about as big as you want them.

There is no set "measurement". Best approximation is 1 1/2-2" in diameter and 6-8" long. But they can be picked and eaten at any stage of development. It all depends on how you plan to use them.

Note the size they sell in the grocery store for an idea.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 2:02PM
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kmigs26

Okay. Thank you! That makes sense...we've had extreme weather lately. Looks like I will be baking today.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 2:11PM
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Edie(5 NY (Finger Lakes))

The smaller they are, the more tender and tasty they are. The flowers are also edible. Some people pick "baby zucchini" with the blossom still attached, and cook and eat both. If you eat the male flowers, leave a few for pollination.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 2:39PM
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Bloomin_Onion(2/3)

Hi I too was wondering the question of the OP, but to follow with another question, will zucchini continue to ripen once picked like tomatoes, or will they simply stop and then the shelf life begins? thanks!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 4:56PM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

Bloomin- Zucchini aren't picked when ripe. They are picked while immature and used while immature. You do not want them to ripen. When zucchini are ripe they will be large, have big seeds, and thick skin and the only real use for a ripe zucchini is to save seeds from them.

Once picked they will only go downhill in quality.

Rodney

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 5:08PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yeah "ripe" isn't a term that is really relevant to zucchini or any summer squash. It is more edible vs. not good for anything except seed saving.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 5:14PM
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charlieboring

If the zucchini gets too large to use as fried, baked or in a casarole, you can still use it to make zucchini bread.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 10:07AM
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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

Zucchini is one of many wonderful veggies which can be picked when YOU are ready for it.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 10:42AM
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kmigs26

So I live on the third story in a condo. I have a small deck. Is it likely that my vegetables will get pollinated or should I be doing it myself?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 3:56PM
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LKZZ(7b)

You can use it in Ratatouille - it will count for two medium:
http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Ratatouille

So very yummy...

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 4:57PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

So I live on the third story in a condo. I have a small deck. Is it likely that my vegetables will get pollinated or should I be doing it myself?

For best production do it yourself. There is a FAQ here about how to do it.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 6:04PM
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jimmy56_gw

I pick mine when there about 9-10 inches long, Great for frying, bread, zucchini crab cakes ect.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 8:49PM
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danzeb(7a long island)

I'm baffled by all the advice to pick zucchini's when they are small. I let mine grow to about 16 inches and sometimes larger. Since vine borers are a big problem and often kill the plant I let the fruit get large enough to provide several meals from just one. Maybe it's the variety I grow but I cannot detect any taste difference between small fruit and large fruit. Also, even on the largest I pick the seeds are very tender and tasty.

The fruit grows so fast that a skinny 6 inch zucchini can grow to a fat 16 inches inches in 7 days. By letting the fruit get large, I get a large amount of delicious zucchini from three plants planted a few inches apart. This all applies to green zucchini. Yellow and other types of squash I pick much smaller.
I've never let a zucchini grow to maturity and wonder how large that would be.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:09AM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Well, kmigs26, you asked yesterday. Today they may be overgrown! LOL
You do have to keep an eye on them or they'll get HUGE!!
I've let a zuk go to town at the end of the season and it was about 3' long! Then I gave it to someone for zucchini races! ;)
I like the 6-10", but if you miss one (they hide, you know!) you can use them in bread , zuk fritters, sliced and sandwiched with some cheese then breaded and fried, hollowed out a bit and stuffed with anything from a burger mixture such as meatloaf to a vege mixture !
The only way I have successfully frozen zuk is to grate it, squeeze it dry and freeze. You can use this for breads, hide it in stews and soups for the vege haters, muffins etc.
There is a harvest forum that has tons of ways to prepare
and preserve all sorts of food! Check it out!
Happy gardening! Nancy

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:49AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I'm baffled by all the advice to pick zucchini's when they are small. I let mine grow to about 16 inches and sometimes larger.

All depends on what you like. Some folks prefer the so-called "baseball bat" zucchinis. Most don't.

The texture is very different (firmer) and the flavor is better (much less 'watery') IMO in the smaller ones. Don't want to eat all the seeds in the big ones and removing them only wastes.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 11:42AM
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loribee2(CA 9)

"I'm baffled by all the advice to pick zucchini's when they are small."

My problem is I always seem to plant 3-4 zucchini plants, and only me and my husband eat them. If I let every one of them grow big, I'd be too inundated with zucchini. As it is, I'm picking 4-5 zucchinis off my plants every other day. By September, friends and family are pointing guns at me saying, "Now you just turn around nice and slow and take that zucchini back where you came from." LOL

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 11:52AM
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conchitaFL(10 Hutchinson Island)

I sometimes let them grow larger if I want to use them for zoodles (zucchini noodles made with a mandoline or julienne peeler), since you can't really use the middle of the zuke that way no matter how small it is. And for zoodles it doesn't matter if there's not a lot of flavor since whatever sauce you use will dominate, anyway.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:00PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Loribee! 3-4 zuks?!?! Haven't you learned by now????? ;)
I do one zuk and one yellow crookneck each year for huby and I , friends and neighbors!
Conchita! Love the idea of zoodles! Trying to adapt to a more plant based diet (not doing great with it!) I think I'll let a couple get bigger and see if I like zoodles! I surely love the name!
Any idea if they freeze well? Nancy

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 9:03PM
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conchitaFL(10 Hutchinson Island)

>Any idea if they freeze well?

I've never had good luck. They turn to mush as soon as they thaw, unfortunately.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 9:56PM
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loribee2(CA 9)

LOL Nancy: Those seeds are so small when you plant them.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 11:59PM
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terrene(5b MA)

I like zucchini the same size as in Farmerdill's picture, young and tender, sliced & stir-fried, or cubed and put in something like gazpacho.

But what a great idea - zoodles! I had to go and check out what a julienne peeler is.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 10:26PM
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dennyav

We use the zukes in a frihata(?) mix with eggs that is baked with parmesan cheese on top...

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 12:53AM
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