Summer Squash

Summer Squash
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A Taste of Summer: Summer SquashA Taste of Summer: Summer Squash

Squash always reminds me of summer, especially the yellow, thin skinned varieties. When I was a kid, we dipped slices in egg, then flour and fried the coated summer squash in oil. Back then, it was a fried treat, but now I enjoy cooking squash with a bit less oil, as you'll notice in the recipes below. It’s subtle, delicious taste comes through when sautéed or roasted.

Summer squash includes the varieties of squash that are harvested and eaten when the skin is thin, unlike the winter varieties that are harvested when the skin thickens and hardens for better storage. I usually use the Yellow Crookneck or Straightneck squash in the following recipes but the Zucchini or Scallop varieties also work well. 

Summer squash is best harvested when it’s small and tender. Once it grows large, this type of squash toughens. We have some wonderful recipes on Old Fashioned Living using oversized zucchini here

Summer squash should be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator right after harvesting or purchase. Moisture will cause the squash to go bad more quickly. Don't wash until right before cooking and try to use it in two to three days.

 

Sautéed Summer Squash and Potatoes 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup vegetable oil

4-5 summer squash *see note

2 medium red potatoes

1/4 cup chopped sweet onion

Salt

Ground black pepper

 

Slice the squash into 1/4 inch thick slices. If the skin in thin, there is no need to peel it. Scrub the red potatoes. Cut into slices, then cut the slices into 1/4 strips. (As in the picture) Heat the oil in the frying pan. Add the onion and the potatoes. Cook for a minute or so, and then add the squash slices. Flip with a spatula, so the onion and potatoes are mixed in with the squash. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid, and cook 10 minutes or so. Lift the lid halfway through and use the spatula to flip the vegetables so they don't scorch. After ten minutes, remove the lid, turn again, and continue to cook until all the vegetables are browned and tender. 

Notes: I use squash that has not grown too large. It's best sautéed when it's less than two inches thick. The length varies depending on the type of squash.

 

Roasted Summer Squash 

Ingredients:

4 medium summer squash

1/2 of a large sweet onion

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. slice the squash into 1/4 inch thick slices. If the skin has any blemishes, cut them off. Slice the onion very thin. Combine the onion and squash into a large bowl. In a small bowl mix the seasoning, salt and pepper. Drizzle it over the vegetables in the bowl, tossing gently to coat.  Spread this onto a baking sheet, trying to arrange the squash in a single layer. Some overlap is fine. 

Bake the squash about 15 minutes until tender. Using a spatula, turn the squash halfway through the roasting. If the pan is old and dark, or especially thin, cover the pan with parchment paper before spreading the squash. 

Notes: If you have fresh basil, thyme and oregano snip some of each to make a handful, wash and mince the herbs, then add to the oil.

 

Summer Squash Soup

Ingredients:

2 pounds summer squash, any variety

2 thin carrots, diced

2 medium red potatoes, diced

1 large sweet onion, sliced thin and chopped

2 tsp. dried basil, or 2-3 tbsp. fresh

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

5 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

1/2 cup cream or half-and-half

 

Heat the oil in a large pan; add the onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring. Add the broth, the carrots and potatoes to the onions. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes.

Wash the squash, and remove the skin if it seems tough or the squash is large. The larger the squash, the more seeds-- if needed, remove the seeds, and chop all of the squash into 1 inch cubes. There should be around 8 cups of the cubed squash. Add the squash to the pan, cover and simmer about 10 minutes until everything is tender.

Stir in the basil (if it's fresh, chop it), season with salt and pepper. Allow the soup to cool slightly, and then cream it with an immersion blender, or process the soup in a regular blender. Once the soup is processed and smooth, add the cream, and gently simmer until it is heated through.

Serve in bowls with a sprinkling of fresh, minced chives if they are available.

 

About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.

 
 

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