Summer squash is a generic name that applies to any squash varieties that grow during the summer and have a relatively short shelf life, unlike winter squash which can be stored for long periods of time. Summer squash are most often yellow, sometimes green, with elongated or rounded shapes. Summer squashes have firm outer skin with white or yellow inner flesh. Unlike winter squash, the skin and seeds of summer squash are edible.
BEST STORAGE PRACTICES:
Store squash in cool refrigeration. Do not wash until ready for serving or eating! Washing will speed up deterioration process. Store squash wrapped in plastic wrap or a bag.
FUN WAYS TO EAT AND COOK:
Squash can be eaten raw, but it is often steamed, baked, or stir-fried. Squash can make a great addition to any meal as a side dish or ingredient in salads, pastas, and more.
SELECTING SUMMER SQUASH:
Select those which are firm, medium-sized and heavy for their size. Look for smooth, glossy skin, free of soft spots. Avoid any squashes with discoloration or bruising.
WHY IT’S GOOD TO EAT:
- Great source of Vitamin C
- Good source of dietary fiber and potassium
- Good source of beta carotene
WHEN IT’S IN SEASON:
As its name suggests, summer squash is a warm-weather crop and grows best during the warmer, summer months. It can be found in markets beginning in late spring and throughout the summer up until early September.
HOW IT’S HARVESTED:
Well-drained soil is ideal for growing summer squash. This crop grows on a sturdy vine (similar to pumpkins) and has broad lobed leaves on a prickly green stem. Once mature, the squash is cut from the vine through the stem and must be harvested by hand to the delicacy and softness of the skin.
“Squashed” Summer Squash—Cut and boil summer squash in water, salt, pepper, oregano, and spices. Boil until tender, and add onions, garlic, and rosemary. Once soft, drain, and squash mixture with large spoon. Stir and mash until creamy and rich. Enjoy!