Break out the butter, salt, and pepper because we’re dishing out the tips you need to choose the best squash available this season.  
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A good yellow or green squash is the vegetable of all trades. Whether you're fixing an old-school squash casserole or grilled chicken with a pickled-squash salad, this vegetable pairs well with just about anything and it's a summer staple we like to keep in our kitchens.

There's always one setback to buying great seasonal produce: not knowing how or where to find the freshest options. Below, we've shared the scoop on how to pick the best squash, so your recipes are guaranteed to impress all season long.

The first step to choosing squash is finding the right color. Whether it's yellow or green, you always want a good solid color on the vegetable, Sam Watson, a farmer at Chill C Farms in Moultrie, Georgia, says.

Summer Squash
Credit: Getty Images

A darker than normal shade of squash tells you that it's been exposed to the sun for longer, which can have some effect on the taste, Watson says.

In most grocery stores you'll find a smaller variation of squash known as fancy squash. This is the type preferred by retailers because it's usually more tender. If you're preparing a dish for a large gathering, Watson suggests finding a medium-sized squash to get more servings out of the vegetable.

Most larger retailers also prefer squash without scarring on them, but some imperfections won't affect the taste or quality of the squash, Watson says.

Not surprisingly, the best squash will be those that have been most recently picked from the plant. Due to the the distribution process, squash found in larger retail stores was probably picked a few days ago, Watson says. If possible, go to your local farmers' market to find squash recently picked from the plant.

At a farmer's market you'll also be able to find a larger variety in size, so feeding Uncle Ed, Grandma and Grandpa, plus all the cousins is a breeze. Squash from your local farmer may vary in size and shape compared to grocery store squash, but Watson assures they'll taste just as delicious.

A Saturday morning trip to the farmers' market is one of our favorite activities, and it's a great way to stock up on fresh produce for the week. The next time you're headed out to pick up squash for your casserole, pop by the market to support your local farmers. You won't be disappointed in the selection.