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How to Tell if Zucchini Is Bad?

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Do you love zucchini? I do too. While we all love zucchini, it doesn’t make sense to buy more than we can use in a reasonable time because it will go bad.

Occasionally, people mistakenly eat bad zucchini because it went bad before they could eat it. Storing it properly helps avoid this, but it is often just a matter of time.

How can you tell if zucchini is bad so you do not eat it?

Bad zucchinis are easy to recognize if you examine their smell, texture, and weight before tasting.

Bad zucchinis weigh less, have an unpleasant smell, have mold growing on them, attract pests, and have a duller color.

Are there more ways to tell if your zucchini is bad? And how best can you store this squash? Continue reading to find out.

How to Tell if Zucchini Is Bad

Here are some ways to tell if your zucchini has gone bad:

1. The Zucchini is Squishy and Soft

spoiled zucchini on the field

Zucchini should feel hard and firm. It should not be soft and squishy because squishy zucchini is no longer fresh.

Is zucchini still good when soft?

Well, it depends on the cause of the softness. For example, improper handling of the fruit can create holes or tears inside which can make it squishy when the water in its cells is released. Also, it can be extra soft when it is rotting.

This means that even though your zucchini is soft, you may want to use other methods to tell if it is safe to eat or not.

Another way to tell is through its skin. Bad zucchini has wrinkly, rough skin, so if the zucchini is squishy and has such skin, it has already gone bad.

2. The Zucchini Has Mold

The sight of mold on zucchini is the most effective way to tell that the zucchini is no longer edible.

The sight of mold means that fungi have been acting on the fruit inside and are ready to spread to other hosts. You do not need to examine the inside of moldy fruits, just dispose of them.

Well, there are cases when your zucchini can have mold in just some parts. This could be because of rough handling which leads to the bruising of those parts. If this is the case, you can cut off those parts and consume the rest. However, you must examine the other parts first.

Spoiled zucchini on a wooden background, Zucchini with mold

3. Dull Color and the Presence of Spots

Zucchini should be green and shiny. It does not matter if it is dark or light green, it should never look dull or pale. The duller color signifies that the squash is going bad.

Carefully examine the fruit for sunken or black spots. The presence of spots (which were not there before when it was fresh) indicates that the fruit has started to rot, so you should dispose of it.

However, please keep in mind that there are some cases in which your dull-colored zucchini may not be bad; so, you should also examine the inside. After inspection, are you okay with the smell, taste, and appearance inside? If so, you should consume it quickly before it goes bad.

4. The Zucchini Becomes Light in Weight

When microbes are decomposing fruits such as zucchinis, they break down the flesh inside and release gases. When the gases find ways to escape, it creates holes and cavities in the fruit. This makes the fruit weigh less than it ordinarily would.

If your zucchini fruits do not weigh as much as they should (based on what you were expecting or how they weighed earlier) there is a high chance that they are bad. However, before disposing of them, you should examine them with other methods to see if they have truly gone bad or not.

Spoiled zucchini on white background

5. The Zucchini Has a Pungent Smell

The gases that the microbes release from decomposing your zucchini will fill your room and give the squash a pungent smell.

This is why many rotting foods smell. When your zucchini is smelly, you do not need any other technique to examine it to know it is bad. Sometimes, the smell is combined with the presence of mold and liquid dripping from the fruit.

Dispose of your smelly zucchinis immediately so that they do not transfer fungi to other healthy ones. Also, examine the fruits near the smelly ones to make sure that they are still good, fresh, and unaffected.

6. The Zucchini Has a Pungent Smell That Attracts Insects and Other Pests

Zucchini that has gone bad is smelly, which attracts insects and other pests to the fruit.

When you see a lot of flies, ants, and other insects crawling or flying around your zucchinis, it is time to dispose of the fruit as it is likely beyond consumption. You can also open the fruit to confirm the state of spoilage. The probability is that you will see mushy flesh or other organisms in it.

When examining the fruit, check for holes and dispose of the parts with holes. If you cannot find holes and the fruit still looks, tastes, and smells fresh, quickly consume it before it goes bad.

Remember to wash it thoroughly before cooking or consuming it.

7. The Zucchini Has a Very Bad Taste

Spoiled zucchini on light background

Zucchini will have a bad taste when it is rotten, so you should not eat any zucchini with a bad or weird taste. If you feel that your zucchini is rotten after using any of the methods above, you should not eat or cook it. Simply dispose of it.

Now you can identify bad zucchinis. Please ensure that you dispose of the bad ones and store the good ones properly.

How can you store good zucchini? Continue reading to find out.

Frozen zucchini in ziplock bag on wooden table

Best Ways to Store Zucchini

Here are some ways to store your zucchinis so they last longer:

  • Storing the zucchini at room temperature: Your fruits can last for three to five days when kept at room temperature. Just ensure that they are not exposed to direct sunlight and the surface is not too cold.
  • Sealing the zucchini in an airtight bag: If you want your zucchini to last longer, keep them in an airtight bag. You can also leave them in their original seal or pack. Please do not wash them before you seal them.
  • Refrigerating the zucchini: You can store your cooked or cut zucchini in the fridge if you want them to last for five to seven days. But be sure to consume them quickly.
  • Freezing the zucchini: How long does zucchini last in the fridge? They can last for six or more months so long as the freezer’s temperature is around 0°F. Can you freeze your cooked zucchini? Of course, you can. However, remember to eat or use it quickly after defrosting it.
  • Never Wash the Zucchini: If you want your fruits to last longer, do not get them wet or wash them. Water makes fruits rot faster, so avoid letting water sit on zucchini.

Which of the methods given above will you adopt in storing your zucchinis?

Related Questions and Answers

Here are answers to questions that you might have:

Fresh zucchini on paper on white rustic background

1. How Long Does It Take for Zucchini to Go Bad?

Zucchini’s shelf life depends on the way you store it as well as its form.

For example, cut zucchini left in the open will last for less than two days before it gets bad. However, properly sealed zucchini in a freezer can last for months.

Also, fresh zucchini lasts longer than cooked zucchini.

If you cook your zucchini, you should eat it immediately or store it properly in a freezer. To help your fresh zucchini last longer without the use of a freezer, keep it in a dry, cool room.

So long as you store your zucchinis properly, they last for several days to months.

Two whole ripe zucchinis on white rustic background

2. How Can You Tell if Cooked Zucchini Is Bad?

If you cooked your zucchini, you can tell it is bad through the following methods:

  • It feels slimy: Spoiled cooked zucchini will feel slimy. This is probably because of microbes acting on the zucchini and other ingredients in the dish.
  • It has mold: Moldy zucchini simply indicates that you have improperly stored the zucchini or left it for a long time. In this case, you want to dispose of the dish immediately.
  • Unpleasant smell: Zucchini with a lot of fungi and bacteria will develop a bad smell as the microbes continue to act on it. Dispose of the dish immediately.
  • Weird look: If the food looks weird (not the way you prepared it), you will want to examine it to see if it is bad or not. Use its smell and appearance to find out.
  • Presence of insects: Insects are attracted to foods, especially cooked food left out on a counter or table at an outdoor event. They can transmit microbes to the food that will affect it later, or they may be attracted because the food is already spoiled. Either way, insect activity is worth paying attention to.

Ensure that you eat your cooked zucchini soon after it leaves the oven, stove, or freezer.

Spoiled zucchini on wooden table

3. Can You Eat Bad Zucchini?

You certainly should not eat bad zucchini because it can make you sick and cause several health challenges.

Zucchini goes bad because bacteria, fungi, and other harmful microbes that break down its nutrients. Apart from this, bad zucchini has fewer nutrients as most of the nutrients have already been broken down.

Most of these microbes will also make the zucchini toxic as they release toxins into it, so the fruit will be unfit for consumption.

Instead of eating bad zucchini, dispose of it immediately. If the zucchini has mold on it, you can add it to your compost pile (if you have one) because mold helps to quicken the duration of composting organic materials.


Zucchini is indeed a useful squash and a terrific addition to various meals, but you only want to consume the good, safe ones so that you do not get sick. To know what a bad zucchini looks like, remember to make use of the tips discussed in this article.