How Long Does Zucchini Last? How To Tell If It Is Bad

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on January 6th, 2023

What Exactly Is Zucchini?

Zucchini is a kind of summer squash whose fruit is often served as a vegetable.


That’s right; you read that accurately. Although it seems to be a vegetable, zucchini is a fruit since it contains seeds and grows and develops from the plant’s blossom.

Zucchini

Zucchini blooms, by the way, are not only edible but also tasty!

Can Zucchini Go Bad?

Zucchini may spoil in a variety of ways. This might be while they are still in the garden or after they have been picked.

If zucchini is not collected when the fruit is still young, it will begin to decay in the garden.

If they are kept on the plant for an extended period, they will grow tough and lose their flavor.

Zucchini may decay before it can be picked in some cases. This frequently indicates that the plant hasn’t been pollinated or blossom-end rot.

Some locations will receive more rain than usual over the summer. Because bees and other pollinators are less active, they will not be able to fertilize the bloom.

Blossom-end rot is caused by over-fertilization or over-watering the plant.

In the kitchen, zucchini normally goes bad if it is not consumed or prepared within a specific time or stored poorly.

When picked zucchini, it normally has a shelf life of 1-2 weeks.

How Long Will Zucchini last?

Fresh zucchini may be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks and at room temperature for about three to four days. Zucchini slices and cooked zucchini may be stored for 3 to 4 days.

As you can see, summer squash, such as zucchini, does not keep nearly as well as winter squash (e.g., butternut or spaghetti squash) and only lasts two weeks if everything is done correctly.

Choose just the best ones if you want the longest storage duration. That is to say:

  • Choosing tiny, firm ones with delicate, shiny skin (see below)
  • Choosing those that are devoid of flaws and evident symptoms of degradation
  • Big ones with dull-looking skin should be avoided since they generally have large seeds and stringy meat.

Regarding zucchini meals, the leftovers should be consumed within 3 to 4 days.

CounterFridge
Zucchini (whole)3 – 4 days1 – 2 weeks
Zucchini (cut)3 – 4 days
Zucchini (cooked, leftovers)3 – 4 days

How to Select Zucchini

Because zucchini is easily damaged, it should be handled with caution. Look for a wet stem end and a somewhat prickly yet glossy skin as markers of freshness when purchasing zucchini at the grocery store or in season at the farmers market. Green zucchini should be no longer than six inches long and one to two inches in diameter, with firm skin free of scrapes or bruises with at least one inch of stem, still attached.

How Long Can Zucchini Be Stored in the Fridge?

If you want to know how long zucchini lasts, you must first understand the various regions in which it may be stored and the storage method.

At room temperature, like other vegetables, zucchini begins to decompose fast. A whole zucchini may be stored in the refrigerator for one to two days. It won’t go bad for 3 or 4 days, but the quality will decline.

If you have sliced zucchini, the only place to keep it is in the fridge since it decays in the pantry or at room temperature within a day and develops a bitter flavor, probable rotting spots, and goes bad.

Because it’s colder and darker in the pantry, storing zucchini, there may be slightly better. You can have great quality zucchini for 3 to 5 days and somewhat mushy zucchini for another one or two days. If it can absorb moisture, use it in soup rather than a salad. (Learn More About Red Maple Growth Rates)

Zucchini may be stored in the refrigerator for at least 5 to 7 days and up to 2 weeks. However, it must be wrapped in unwashed paper or plastic and placed in a paper or plastic bag. You must, however, ensure that there is adequate air circulation.

If stored in an airtight container, sliced or diced zucchini will keep in the fridge for two to three days. If you have more zucchini than you can eat from grocery shop excursions or your garden, you can discover some ways to keep it fresh above or utilize these techniques for freezing zucchini.

  • Clean the zucchini.
  • Make the zucchini. Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch pieces.
  • Blanch the zucchini by immersing it in a saucepan of boiling water. Transfer your zucchini to an ice water bath after one minute and let it there for two minutes.
  • Drain the zucchini and wipe the delicate fruit dry with a paper towel.
  • Lay blanched zucchini slices on a pan with a baking sheet to freeze. Freeze for 1-2 hours, or until completely frozen.
  • Pack your frozen zucchini in freezer bags and keep it in the freezer for up to a year! To prevent ice burn in frozen zucchini, place it in a plastic bag or an airtight container.

Is it OK to consume soft zucchini?

It will become bad if rotting zucchini is not properly stored or is past its expiration date. Zucchini is mostly water. Thus it’s worthless if it loses its texture.

If the meat smells, tastes, and looks OK, you can eat it; but, if it has dark, bruised places, avoid eating it since it may be mushy and have wrinkled skin. When you cut into a rotten zucchini, you’ll find that the interior flesh is densely packed with big seeds.

A rotten Zucchini’s skin is lifeless, making it easy to detect and reject. The interior flesh of a nice zucchini will smell and taste delicious. If you find any bruising, cut the ruined region with a knife, utilize the good portions, and replace them with the good ones.

Eating the wrong section of a soft Zucchini might cause food poisoning or make you feel uneasy.

How to tell when Zucchini Is Bad

Before you can freeze them, you must first carefully choose them. To utilize zucchini for a long time, choose nutritious and nice zucchini. Bad zucchini may be easily identified by inspecting the skin, size, shape, and texture. If the skin of the zucchini seems dull and lifeless, do not pick them since they will begin to decay quickly.

If you detect spots on the zucchini, you would believe washing will remove them, but they could be rotting spots. Do not consume or buy them since they will begin to deteriorate quickly. The interior side of this zucchini will be stringy, with big seeds. However, if a section of the zucchini is rotten, snip it out and consume the excellent portion.

Cucurbitacins are found in all cucumbers and zucchini. If there is a lot of it available, it might make the zucchini taste harsh. If the zucchini tastes nasty and bitter, avoid eating it since it is dangerous for your health. It can also induce severe digestive disorders, including diarrhea and stomach pains.

What does Bad Zucchini smell like?

A single zucchini can produce 9 pounds of fresh fruit, which explains why you have so much winter squash to deal with. (Find out How to Grow Strawberries Indoors.)

A damaged zucchini squash seems dull, so avoid eating zucchini with rotting patches. With wrinkled skin, the veggie might feel mushy.

Because the fruit is immature, zucchini rots in your garden if it is not picked. When zucchini is left on the plant for an extended period, it turns tough and loses flavor.

Sometimes zucchini rots on the plant before harvesting, indicating that the plant hasn’t been pollinated or has blossom-end rot. Blossom end rot can be caused by excess nitrogen, inconsistent watering, or overfertilization. The fruits develop far too quickly for the quantity of water available.

It is ready to pick when zucchini gets 6 to 8 inches long. It should have tight, shiny skin. If the skin seems dull, this is the first clue that your zucchini has been sold, has passed its use-by date, or has reached the end of its shelf life.

A healthy zucchini has an almost buttery feel with flesh that appears faintly yellow, green, or white when chopped. The flavor of zucchini is mild and moist, and the meaty flesh implies that cooked zucchini can withstand grilling, sautéing, and making zucchini bread.

If only a portion of the zucchini is damaged, soft, or wrinkled, and the inside flesh is mushy, cut away this portion, and as long as the major portion of the zucchini retains color, texture, and smells fresh, it should be OK to use.

However, rather than consuming it raw, it is preferable to put it through a cooking procedure.

Zucchini should be stored in a cold, dry area, such as the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Fresh zucchini picked from your garden can last around one to two weeks if properly preserved. Because you don’t know the age of the plant, store zucchini might go bad sooner.

The fragrance of fresh zucchini is neutral or “greenish.” If you smell vinegar or acidic, it implies the summer squash is past its prime and no longer has a shelf life.

It is critical to recognize ruined zucchini while collecting zucchini, whether from your garden, the shop, or your refrigerator.

Lift the bag and hold it so you can see your chopped zucchini through the bag when you take it out of the fridge.

It should be discarded if it seems to be mushy or if there is juice.

Open the bag if the zucchini isn’t ruined. Take one of your squash and study it closely.

Before putting the zucchini in the fridge, look for any evidence of damage, such as large soft, or bruised places, or even if you used a vegetable brush. If you see any flaws, remove them with a sharp knife. If you have a hard squash and the bruise is only on the skin, you may utilize the rest of the cut zucchini squash.

If the damaged zucchini portion has penetrated deep into the flesh, cut the zucchini lengthwise and inspect the inside for streaks or mushy, watery-looking patches.

Squeeze the zucchini gently if there is no evident damage or decay. It will feel slightly rubbery if it is still safe to use but has lost its freshness.

At this point, don’t eat your store-bought zucchini raw; instead, use it to make soups, stews, or cakes. Whatever the case, a dab of olive oil might be enough to bring back the tastes of your favorite recipes.

Remember that if you buy zucchini and other summer squash at the store, they may be kept at room temperature for three to five days and will not deteriorate. Buying zucchini that you will consume in a few days is also good if you keep it covered and in the fridge.

One of the most crucial things is not washing the squash before cooking it. Although you may believe it is for food safety, washing zucchini might shorten the shelf life of a nice zucchini.

What Happens If You Eat bad Zucchini?

Cucurbitacin is a toxin produced by plants to protect themselves against insects. A few bites of bitter squash might have serious repercussions. Cross-pollination with wild plants and any type of stress during growth can result in high levels of the toxin.

Spit it out and stop eating if you experience an unpleasant taste after biting into squash or baby marrow. Similarly, do not consume any “volunteer” zucchini or acorn squash that you did not grow as a crop in your garden.

If decorative pumpkins and gourds are planted alongside squash, avoid eating them since they may contain cucurbitacin.

If the toxin levels are too high, it may result in:

  • Abdominal Pain and Diarrhea
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Dizziness

How to store Zucchini

Keep zucchinis in the crisper drawer in a plastic bag for the best results. If you see any water accumulation in the bag, replace it with a perforated bag or open the top. Cut up the zucchinis, blanch them, and freeze them for longer storage.

You only need the plastic bag if you know the zucchini will be stored in the fridge for at least a week. If you want to use it within 3 to 5 days, you may skip the bag and store it in the crisper drawer. That’s something I do all the time.

Aside from that, remember to only wash the zucchini just before using it. This entails storing it unwashed in the refrigerator.

When it comes to pre-cut zucchini and any leftovers (raw or cooked), the best method to store them is in an airtight container in the fridge.

Is it possible to keep zucchini on the counter?

Yes, but only if you intend to use it within the next day or two. This is because the quality of the vegetable degrades fast at room temperature.

Don’t be concerned if you leave it out overnight.

How Do You Freeze Zucchini?

If you have enough Zucchini to last two weeks or longer, the best way to store it is to freeze it. We show you how to freeze zucchini:

  • Slice the Zucchini into 12-inch rounds.
  • The cut Zucchini should be bled. To begin, bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Second, immerse them in boiling water for around 3 to 4 minutes. Then immerse them in ice-cold water. Finally, drain the tiny Zucchini pieces in a sieve and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  • Put the zucchini in freezer bags and freeze them.
  • As a result, label the packages with the date and store them in the freezer.

Conclusion

After harvesting, zucchini is a fragile fruit that should be handled with care. Never put a huge quantity of them in a basket. Individuals on the bottom may get bruising and injuries due to the weight. It’s best if you put them adjacent to one other.

To keep the summer squash secure while purchasing them at the shop, place them at the top of the grocery bag. Even small damage to the zucchini will shorten its shelf life.

Try to eat it within 4-5 days of cutting it. After then, it will no longer be edible.

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Editorial Staff

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