If the zucchini plant has been properly cared for, there will be a rich harvest just a few weeks after planting. Whether young or older fruits and even the bright yellow flowers can be used in the kitchen. With many zucchini fruits, these can also be stored if a few tips are followed. Everything about the ideal harvest time is explained in the following article.

Harvest time for young fruits

Zucchini vegetables are very versatile. The young fruits in particular are often used for frying in the pan or for tasty vegetable stir-fries. The young vegetables are very tender and soft and therefore enjoy great popularity. So the best time to harvest these young zucchini is as follows:

  • about six to eight weeks after planting
  • from June
  • when the small, green fruits form
  • these grow quite quickly
  • harvest within a week
  • otherwise they will be too big
  • cut at a length between 15 cm and 20 cm

A sharp and clean knife is ideally used to harvest the young zucchini. This is used to cut directly at the fruit base. The young fruits should be used immediately after harvesting, unfortunately long-term storage is not possible.

Tip: If the young fruits are already harvested, this increases the flower production and the yield of flowers and vegetables can be increased considerably.

Harvest ripe fruits

The large, ripe fruits are also popular in the kitchen. These are also suitable for frying, but also for filling. If the skin has become very firm, only the pulp is used. This can be prepared like pumpkin meat. When harvesting, you should proceed as follows:

  • to let something grow
  • Fruits can grow up to half a meter or longer
  • up to 30 cm in width
  • are reminiscent of elongated pumpkins
  • have a club shape
  • usually lie directly on the earth
  • Turn frequently before harvest
  • so they don’t rot
  • when harvesting, cut off the stalk with a sharp knife

So that the heavy vegetables do not lie directly on the ground, it is also helpful to place wooden slats under the fruit. Especially when the earth is very damp and wet, it can otherwise quickly become rotten.

Tip: The zucchini can stay on the plant until the first frost. This reduces the length of storage.

Use flowers

The flower of the plant is very tasty and edible and is therefore becoming more and more popular in kitchens. So that no expected fruits are sacrificed here, only the male flower is usually harvested. The procedure is as follows:

  • Check blossom for fruit set
  • there is no recognizable male flower
  • this can be cut off
  • Ideally, harvest before opening
Tip: The zucchini flower must be used immediately, otherwise it will quickly begin to wither. This is often baked or fried in the pan, and it is also a very tasty dish filled with cheese or minced meat.

Storage and shelf life

The young harvested vegetables can only be kept for a few days before needing to be used. The older and ripe fruit, which is usually harvested later in the year, can be stored for a long time. This is mainly due to the fact that the outer skin and the pulp are firmer and contain less moisture. When storing, the following should be observed for a longer shelf life:

  • do not store in the refrigerator
  • better in a cool, dark basement
  • no temperatures below 10 ° Celsius
  • away from bananas, pears or apples
  • these give off the ripening gas ethylene
  • make the zucchini rot faster
  • Use a vegetable box or vegetable box
  • have ventilation slots
  • do not store in closed containers
  • Do not stack zucchini on top of each other

If stored correctly, the older fruits can be kept well into winter. If you want to use the pulp for soups or fillings, you can also scrape the fruit after pitting and freeze the pulp. In this way it is made durable even longer.

Beware of bitter tastes

As a rule, zucchini do not taste bitter, the bitter substances have been bred out. However, those who repeatedly use the seeds from the previous year or at the same time also grow ornamental pumpkins in the garden bed could well harvest bitter fruits. They are warned against these, however, because they contain the toxin cucurbitacin. Eating bitter vegetables can lead to symptoms of poisoning such as stomach and intestinal problems, vomiting, diarrhea, circulatory problems, dizziness and a racing heart. Storage that is too warm can also stress the fruit, which can also produce poison.

The zucchini plant grows quickly and offers a high yield. Harvest time is between June and late autumn. Young fruits are tastier, but should be used immediately after harvesting, as longer storage is not tolerated. The rapid harvest also stimulates flowering. Since the fruits can stay on the plant until the first frost, ripe, large zucchini can also be harvested until late autumn. These ripe fruits can then be stored well for a longer period of time, but lose a little of their taste due to the long ripening time and can become woody.

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