It’s that time of year in Utah when gardeners are starting to clear out their gardens. Many have an over abundance of summer squash. Summer squash are very prolific, meaning they are easy to grow. So easy in fact, that many of those with this tasty veggie in there garden are looking to give some of their supply away!
Summer squash are harvested when the are immature, meaning their rinds are still soft enough to eat. Both the rind and the seeds can be eaten. The most common varieties of summer squash grown in Utah are:
- Zucchini Squash – come in both green and yellow varieties. It has thin soft skin and firm, white flesh with a mild flavor. Yellow zucchini will cook more quickly than green zucchini because the skin is a bit more soft.
- Cocozelle Squash – have a dark green skin with lighter green stripes. It’s flesh has a sweeter flavor than many other summer squash.
- Crookneck Squash – is thin and curved at the type with a bulb like bottom. The skin ranges from smooth to slightly bumpy and the flesh has a somewhat bland flavor.
- Patty Pan Squash – can be yellow, green, or a mix of the two colors. It has scalloped edges and is more crunchy that other summer squash varieties.
There are many ways to enjoy summer squash from raw, to baked, to grilled. You can also freeze summer squash to use throughout the year. You might consider adding onion, garlic, herbs and spices for extra flavor when cooking squash. Follow the preparation tips below and you can’t go wrong.
- Saute It – slice or cut squash into chunks. Use a non-stick skillet and just a bit of oil. Cook for 5-8 minutes tossing often to keep the squash from browning.
- Bake It – Preheat over to 450 degrees. Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. Slice or chop squash and put it in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and stir. Pour squash into baking dish and top with seasonings of your choice. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once.
- Microwave It – Cut squash into slices about 1/4″ thick. Arrange slices in a microwaveable baking dish. Add 3 tablespoons of water, cover, and cook until tender, 4-7 minutes. Stir the squash halfway through cooking time.
- Steam It – Summer squash can be cooked in a vegetable steamer. You can cook it whole, sliced, or diced. For whole summer squash, steam for 10-12 minutes. For halves or slices, steam 3-5 minutes.
- Stir-Fry It – Slice or chop squash. Spray a heated skillet with non-stick spray. Add squash to the pan and stir fry for 3-5 minutes until tender crisp.
- Freeze It – Grate or slice summer squash and place in plastic freezer bags. Label the bags and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. When thawed, use in zucchini bread, soups, quiche, or cookies.
Summer squash has a high water content. This can sometimes make dishes turn out too watery. Salting prior to preparing may help. To salt squash, dice or cut into thin slices and sprinkle the surfaces with salt. One pound of squash only need 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Place the salted squash in a colander and let stand for about half an hour. Rinse the squash and pat dry.
Try some of my favorite summer squash recipes, then come on back and let me know how you like them. Enjoy!
Click on each recipe card for a printable version.
Certified Nutrition Education Assitatn