What is patty pan squash and how is it different from other squashes?
Much like zucchini, patty pan is a type of summer squash that's meant to be enjoyed while the skin is still soft and thin so there's no need to peel it. Its flying saucer-like shape is very distinctive and the scalloped edges of the fruits are the genesis of its other common name - the scallopini squash.
Unlike some other summer squash types, patty pan squash does not have a high moisture content. The flesh is quite dry. Patty pans can be harvested for use as "baby vegetables" when they're as big as a ping pong ball, or you can leave them on the plants until they reach the diameter of a soft ball. But, don't wait much longer than that to harvest or the skin will no longer be smooth and edible.
Patty pan squash come in many different colors, including yellow, dark green, white, pale green, and even bi-colors. But no matter the color of the fruit, patty pans are equally useful in the kitchen.
Growing patty pan squash
Though they're considered a gourmet summer squash variety, patty pan squash are surprisingly easy to grow. Here at the farm we plant seeds directly in the field as soon as the danger of frost has passed in the spring. In Pennsylvania, that's mid to late May. The seeds are quick to sprout and the vines grow rapidly. Patty pan squash plants are bush-types. They don't grow long, rambling vines like winter squash do. Instead, the plants spread just three or four feet wide with a height of about twenty-four inches.
Most patty pan squash plants start to produce fruits about 45-55 days after planting, and harvests continue for many weeks thereafter.
We grow several different patty pan squash varieties here at the farm. Here are some of our favorites:
Jaune et Verte - This crazy patty pan squash is a creamy light green with deep scallops. It's so beautiful!
Benning's Green Tint - A hybrid variety with glossy skin, this patty pan variety is a very pale green that matures to a bright white.
Y-Star - One of the most fun types of patty pan squash, Y-Star is a bi-color. The top of the fruits are a brilliant yellow and the bottom end is lime green.
Total Eclipse - This patty pan produces solid green fruits. With great flavor and high productivity, this is a staple variety on our farm.
How to cook patty pan squash
Whether you try your hand at growing your own patty pan squash or you purchase them from our organic farm via our Farm Share Program or at the Farmers Market, patty pans lend a lot of culinary flare to the kitchen.
Patty pan squash tastes much like traditional zucchini, though the texture is a bit drier. Use patty pans in any recipe that calls for zucchini. They can also be grilled, fried, or roasted. One of our favorite ways to prepare patty pan squash is stuffed with seasoned beans, rice, and shredded chicken or pork and then roasted.
Patty pan squash recipes
If you're looking to try a new culinary adventure with your patty pan squash, try one of these great recipes:
Roasted Patty Pan Squash with Herbed Chickpeas
Patty Pan Squash Stuffed with Corn
Fried Patty Pan Squash
Patty Pan Squash and Peach Salad
Grilled Patty pan Squash with Hot Chorizo Vinaigrette
We hope you enjoy the firm texture and savory flavor of patty pan squash as much as we do!
For more information about some of the more unusual vegetables we grow here at the farm, check out the following posts:
- Our favorite heirloom tomato varieties
- Edible flowers for cakes, salads, and other culinary adventures
- How we grow shiitake and oyster mushrooms