Exact Answer:1 to 2 weeks
Zucchini is a widely grown vegetable, that due to its rapid growth has gained popularity lately. It is also known to many as ‘courgette’ or ‘baby marrow’.
Zucchini is a summer squash and is a member of the Cucurbita family which also houses melons, pumpkins, gourds, and cucumbers. It grows on a bushy plant with large dark green leaves with silver-streaked veins. Having both, male and female flowers on the same plant, makes it an ideal choice for people with limited space.
During the process of growing and Harvesting Zucchini, the most baffling part to many is the time at which one should harvest the vegetable and for how long can it be kept fresh.
How Long Does Zucchini Last After Harvest ?
Zucchini is a squash that is delicate and at times difficult to store. The first and most important step after the harvest, which will determine the shelf-life of the Zucchini is the proper storage of the fruit, right after it has been picked.
With proper storage, which includes cool and dry conditions, at room-temperature, the Zucchini can last about 5- 7 days. Depending on the use of the vegetable, if you plan to use it soon, you will need to keep the whole, dry and unwashed Zucchini packed in a plastic or paper bag in the refrigerator which will last at least 2 weeks.
A cut Zucchini will last for about an hour when kept out at room temperature. But, when the same cut Zucchini is kept in the refrigerator, it will last for a week. While freeing the cut zucchini can make it last for up to 6 months.
Packing and freezing the whole vegetable, can make it last up to 10 months. Another way of freezing it can be to blanch the Zucchini. Slicing the Zucchini, blanching it, and then draining is a good way to store the Zucchini for up to 3 months.
If it has been canned or pickled, the Zucchini can last even up to 2 years.
|Whole Zucchini at room temperature||5 to 7 days|
|Whole Zucchini refrigerated||2 weeks|
|Cut Zucchini at room temperature||1 hour|
|Cut Zucchini refrigerated||1 week|
|Cut Zucchini frozen||6 months|
|Whole Zucchini frozen||10 months|
|Blanched Zucchini frozen||3 months|
|Canned or Pickled Zucchini||2 years|
Why Does Zucchini Last That Long After Harvest ?
The period during which the Zucchini is fresh and consumable after the harvest depends on numerous factors.
The first factor that predominantly affects how long the Zucchini will remain fresh is the way the fruit has been separated from the plant. The most mistake made by new gardeners is that they tend to pull the fruit from the plant, which tends to damage both, the fruit and the plant. Sometimes, a portion of the fruit falls to the ground causing an area or part of the fruit to become wrinkly or soft. In this case, the part that is damaged should be cut out as long as the rest of the fruit has good color and texture. The fruit has to be carefully cut from the stem, thereby keeping the fruit and the plant safe.
The stage at which the fruit was Harvested
Many new gardeners, find it difficult to pick the fruit at the right time. Mostly, the Zucchini is harvested when it is slightly over-ripe, which reduces its shelf-life. The best way to use the slight over-ripe Zucchini will be to cook it, rather than consume it Raw. After cooking, the Zucchini can be kept out for a maximum of 1 hour but, can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
While many pick the fruit when it’s overripe, some harvest it too early which in some cases are extremely bitter, but safe to eat. Raw zucchini has the same shelf life as that of a ripe Zucchini.
Zucchini is a versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw and also is used in many dishes including soups, salads, stews, sandwiches and so much more. It is rich in nutrients, can aid in weight loss, improves digestion, and is high in antioxidants.
Different methods of storage can increase the shelf life of the Zucchini which will allow a person to savor it for a long. At the same time, One should also check for signs of spoilage like shriveled up skin, foul smell, etc. before the use or consumption of this summer squash.