When we see summer squash at the Farm Stand – green zucchini, bright yellow squash and funny looking, round patty pan piled high on the table– we know that summer has truly arrived. Summer squash is a farm favorite for many reasons. It’s a native plant. Thomas Jefferson grew it in his garden at Monticello. It’s mild flavored and tender. You can eat the whole vegetable, skin, seeds and all. And it’s high in vitamins A and C.
Choose squash that are firm and don’t have any cuts or soft spots. They should be thin-skinned and glossy looking. Smaller squash taste better, have fewer seeds and are less water-laden. As a rule of thumb, pick zucchini and yellow squash that are no more than eight inches long and patty pan squash under three inches in diameter.
Squash will keep in the refrigerator for three days – up to a week if really fresh. Before using, rinse your squash carefully to remove any grit clinging to the skin and cut the ends off.
Squash is really versatile. You can steam, boil, sauté, stir-fry, braise, roast or grill this tender vegetable with terrific results. Its mild flavor and light texture are perfect for summer eating when the hot weather zaps appetites. Try cinnamon, curry, ginger or lemon to compliment yellow squash. Zucchini pairs well with Parmesan cheese, garlic, onions, basil, parsley or tomatoes. You can also use it to make baked goods like muffins or bread.