when to pick zucchini

pattyokieJuly 20, 2010

This is such an elementry question I'm embarrassed but just when do I pick the zucchini? I don't want them to get too big & there are a couple on my plant that are about 6" long but they still have the blossom on them. Does that fall off before they are ready to pick. I've only seen them in the store before.

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sandhill_farms(10 NV)

pattyokie - You can pick them at whatever size you want them to be, blossom and all if you so choose.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 4:33PM
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susan2010(6 Massachusetts)

Pick them any time they are the size you want to eat them. You've seen "baby" zucchini in the gourmet markets, right? That's what they are - picked young and small. Since you can eat the flowers themselves, I don't think there is an "under-ripe" stage of zucchini. Just small and big. And, of course, "ohmygod!"

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 4:36PM
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mister_potato_head(VT 5a)

I try to pick them from 8" to 12" for nice tender squash. If left too long on the vine, the seeds will be inedible(tough) and will need to be scooped out before cooking.

For the occasional zuke that goes unnoticed and gets as big as a baseball bat, I leave it on the vine and pick it near frost, and treat it as any other winter squash. I keep them till December and peel and stuff it with rice, and beef or lamb. Yum!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 6:09PM
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For those that get too big, I scoop the seeds out, shred and freeze in bags 2 cups each. Use it for winter baking...YUM!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 6:41PM
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pippimac(New Zealand)

I'm not a fan of 'marrows', as we call them. They get chopped up and composted.
I grow costada romanesco, which seem to go straight from invisible to enormous, so I pick them as soon I notice them.
And make sure you join in the yearly zucchini game, where people sneak them onto each others porches when they're out!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 8:28PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Pattyokie, I prefer them about 6-8 inches (oh that just sounds SO wrong!) for regular cooking, but if they do get bigger you can core them, chop up the innards, mix with ground turkey/beef/lamb, garlic, onion or whatever and bake.
You can also grate and freeze them for zucchini bread later in the year. Also you can add the grated stuff to soups stews etc.
If you get overwhelmed, you can get a dehydrator and dry them for winter use in stews/soups etc.
If they get out of hand, and they DO hide occasionally, I have given them away for a block party squash race, my DH carved a baby face and DD carried it around for several weeks as a doll and I left one to grow and it twisted around, got really hard, the bugs got to the bottom and I ended up using it as a planter for 2 years!
So, the answer to your question is ANYTIME! Have fun! Nancy

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 1:40AM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

Since they zap energy from the plant and slow production, I don't let them get over 8". The quicker you pick, the faster they put that energy into production of more fruit. Besides I like them best fresh and raw with a little ranch dressing/dip.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 3:58AM
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If you make relish or pickles from them I prefer to let them get larger so they will stay firmer than young ones. I make a zuchini marmalade that's delicious and I wait till the rind is starting to harden before I pick them for that.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 8:35AM
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I used to pick them before the squirrels got them, but the squirrels were too good so I gave up on zucchini. True story.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 12:47PM
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Squirrel & Zucchini casserole.....yummmmm!!! :)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 9:25AM
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