The Only Way You Should Store Zucchini, According to a Produce Expert

Keep your zucchini bright green and firm until you're ready to enjoy them.

<p>Simply Recipes / Getty Images </p>

Simply Recipes / Getty Images

There’s nothing more disheartening than watching your fresh produce quickly die after you bring it home. Whether it’s in your fridge or in that cute handcrafted produce bowl you bought on Etsy for your counter, it’s depressing having to pick up a rotted vegetable or fruit and pitch it.

Thankfully, there are produce experts who know the tricks to take the best care of your fruits and vegetables, like that gorgeous zucchini or summer squash you just bought at the farmers market.

To learn the best way to store zucchini and summer squash to keep it fresh for as long as possible, I spoke with JC Myers, Vice President at SunFed, a produce company based in Arizona.

What Is the Best Way To Store Zucchini and Summer Squash?

According to Myers, the best way to store a summer squash or zucchini is either in a cool dark place or for a short while in the refrigerator. The zucchini needs ventilation so it doesn’t get soft from the moisture inside the vegetable, so do not seal it in a plastic bag. If anything, keep the bag open so the vegetable can breathe.

What’s more, Myers points out that zucchini and squash are sensitive to ethylene, a type of gas that is potent in quickly ripening produce like apples, bananas, and tomatoes. So be sure to store your squash separately from these items to keep it fresher for longer.

How Do You Keep a Zucchini or Summer Squash Fresh?

“Store them in your crisper drawer, unwashed until you are ready to use, and use them within one week of purchase for best quality and flavor,” says Myers.

Why keep the zucchini and summer squash unwashed? The extra moisture and condensation on the outside of the zucchini will make it rot quickly. Squash needs to stay as dry as possible to last as long as possible, so don’t wash it until it’s time to finally chop it up and cook with it.

The crisper drawer is also a great option for vegetables such as zucchini and summer squash that need dry environments to thrive. You can set your crisper drawer to low humidity to ensure that the vegetables inside of it stay as fresh as possible for as long as possible.

<p>Simply Recipes / Getty Images </p>

Simply Recipes / Getty Images

How Do You Preserve Half of a Used Zucchini?

What if you use only half of the zucchini or squash on hand? Unless you plan on using the cut squash within 24 hours, the squash will likely rot quickly because of the moisture in the vegetable that is now exposed.

Instead, Myers says a way to preserve leftover squash is to freeze it. “A great way is to cube [the squash], boil until soft, plunge in cold water, drain, then freeze.” Cooking the vegetables will prevent the enzymes from ripening. Spread the cooked squash on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze, then transfer to an airtight plastic bag.

When Do You Know When Zucchini Has Gone Bad?

Bought a zucchini or summer squash and not sure if it has reached past the point of no return? Myers says your squash has gone bad if you see any discoloration or soft spots, or the squash has a flimsy texture.

This is because the moisture from the water inside of the squash will promote bacterial growth, hence why it’s important to keep your squash in a cool dark place, like in a basket in a cool pantry or in the crisper drawer of your fridge.

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.