Can you get sick from eating old zucchini?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “Can you get sick from eating old zucchini” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications of eating old zucchini. Moreover, we are going to discuss tips to properly store zucchini.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Can you get sick from eating old zucchini?

If you eat a large amount of old zucchini that has toxic bacteria on it or is very bitter (having a very high level of cucurbitacin), you can even get food poisoning that is characterized by diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. So it is better to discard such bacteria-laden zucchini to save yourself from such a situation. 

It is worth mentioning that in case you have just eaten a bit of cooked zucchini that was discolored or you think that it was spoiled (after eating it) then in most scenarios, it won’t have a significant effect but if you have devoured a large amount of bacteria-laden zucchini then in severe cases it can result in food poisoning.

When it comes to fresh vegetables, you should do a sensory evaluation to reach a final verdict on whether or not they are still suitable to consume.

There are a couple of indications that point out that your zucchini has gone bad. You should consider the appearance, texture, and taste of zucchini to give a final verdict about whether or not zucchini has gone bad.

Appearance

If you spot a mold or some organic growth on your cooked zucchini, then the best thing you can do in this scenario is to get rid of the zucchini.

Moreover, if you spot yellow spots on your zucchini then it is an indication that your zucchini is degrading.

Texture

Fresh raw zucchini is firm to touch. So if you feel something slimy or if the zucchini has mushy, or soft spots then it is an indication of bad zucchini. 

Now if the soft spots are small, you can just cut them off but if they are too large then it is better to discard the whole zucchini. 

Moreover, if you notice that the zucchini is shriveled or wrinkled then it means that it is long past its prime time.

Taste

If the zucchini has passed the visual inspection, you can go ahead and take a small bite of zucchini. If you notice that the zucchini is too bitter then it is better to get rid of such zucchini.

So you should consider the indicators mentioned above before eating zucchini. It is worth mentioning that when in doubt it is better to get rid of the zucchini as it is better to be safe than sorry.

Zucchini lasts for only 3-4 days if stored at room temperature, therefore it is recommended to store zucchini in the refrigerator to prolong its shelf life.

Zucchini lasts for about a week or even two if it is stored properly in the vegetable drawer of the fridge but it is recommended to use it within a week to enjoy its best quality. 

It is worth mentioning that you should store your zucchini away from the fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, bananas, etc. as they emit ethylene gas which increases the ripening process. Therefore if you store zucchini in the vicinity of such fruits, the shelf life of zucchini will; decrease.

When you cut the whole zucchini, its shelf life decreases owing to the now exposed surface of the cut zucchini. Moreover, as the cut zucchini has a larger surface area therefore it provides more room for microbes to grow on it. 

Therefore cut zucchini lasts for about 3-4 days in the fridge when stored properly at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

You can also store your cut zucchini in the freezer and it lasts for about 10-12 months there.

It is worth mentioning that these figures are just the estimated shelf life of zucchini and within this time you can enjoy the best quality of the zucchini.

You can read about cucurbit poisoning here.

Tips to properly store zucchini

  1. In the case of raw fresh zucchini, you can store it in the vegetable drawer of the fridge.
  1. You should store zucchini away from ethylene emitting fruits like bananas, apples, tomatoes, etc. 
  1. In the case of cooked zucchini, always let it cool before storing it in the air-tight container or plastic zipper bag. If you store hot cooked zucchini in the plastic zipper bag or container moisture will build up inside it that provides a suitable environment for bacteria to grow.
  1. If you want to store zucchini for a long time, you should freeze it. So what you gotta do is to wash zucchini thoroughly and afterward cut it in slices. Now you can either cut cubes out of these slices and after blanching them for about 2-3 minutes, let them cool in ice-cold water, drain excess water, put them in the plastic freezer bag, and store it in the freezer or you can grate the slices and repeat the same process of blanching and cooling for them and afterward store them in the plastic freezer bag.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “Can you get sick from eating old zucchini” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications of eating old zucchini. Moreover, we are going to discuss tips to properly store zucchini.

Citations

https://www.doesitgobad.com/how-long-does-zucchini-last/
https://homeguides.sfgate.com/tell-zucchini-bad-83003.html
https://www.leaf.tv/articles/how-to-tell-if-a-zucchini-squash-is-bad/

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Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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