Every month we want to share with you a vegetable or fruit that is in season and give you information on when to pick it, delicious recipes and other various tips to help you become a savvy foodie. Being the middle of summer, it is the perfect time for us to kick things off with Summer Squash.
Summer Squash is best during the summer months of June-September.
Color my delicious
You will know your squash is ready to be picked from your garden or store when its color is bright and shiny and it is free of bruises, dents, and cracks.
Keep it fresh
Summer squash is highly perishable, the best way to keep your squash fresh is to store it in a plastic bag and place in the refrigerator for up to five days. Do not wash until ready to use.
You may think that buying the largest squash is the best because you’ll get more, but actually when the squash is too large it can have a bitter flavor. So pick squash that is in medium size with a nice bright yellow color, for that almost sweet flavor. Don’t feel like you have to throw out the big squash you already bought. Just add a little brown sugar or honey when cooking, this will help bring out some more sweetness. Or plan to bake (breads, cakes, bars) the larger sizes, the sugar typically added in these types of recipes will cover the slight bitterness of larger squash.
Many varieties of summer squash are available during the summer months. Here are descriptions of some you may be familiar with:
Zucchini- This is the most well known summer squash, yellow or green in color and shaped like a cucumber. These are the most flavorful variety of squash and the easiest to cook! Zucchini can be fried, grilled, sauteed, steamed, or even baked.
Pattypan Squash- This is the squash that has the oddest shape, it is round and flat with scalloped edges, usually yellow or light green in color. Pattypan Squash are best when steamed and are slightly sweet.
Crookneck Squash- The type of squash that has a deep yellow, bumpy skin and a round shape with a curved neck. Crookneck squash has a sweet flavor and can be cooked just about any way you like, it can even be eaten raw!
Sunburst Squash- A small acorn shaped squash with smooth bright yellow skin. Best when steamed or boiled, with a very mild taste. Good with a dip or salad dressing.
Cooking your nutritious find
You don’t always have to cook summer squash, it is good enough to be eaten raw on its own! And many may think the seeds in summer squash need to be removed, but truthfully if the squash is picked at an early age the seeds will remain tender enough to eat! If you still don’t like the seeds, hollow out your gourd and stuff it with your favorite stuffing and roast in the oven!
Here is a quick side dish recipe for your fresh summer squash.