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Summer Squash!

From left to right, Papaya Pear Squash, Oriental or Mediterranean Squash, two Patty Pan or Scallop Squashes, a typical Yellow Crooked Neck Squash, Green Zucchini and a Gold Rush or Yellow Zucchini.

Summer is great time of year for lot sof reasons, including the abundance of summer squash varieties!

Summer squash are a subset of squashes that are harvested during the late spring and summer months.  Summer squash is harvested when the outside rind is tender and edible. This is in stark contrast with winter squash, which has a tough outer rind that cannot be eaten.  Summer squash are typically eaten immediately after harvest but are also good for freezing and canning.  Summer squash includes zucchini and the typical yellow squash, qs well as several other lesser-known varieties.  This week I was able to visit the Cary Farmer’s Market and the State Farmer’s Market and I found seven different types of summer squash! 

 Not only is there a great variety of summer squash, they are very affordable!  At both the Cary and State Farmer’s Markets the price for squash ranged from $1.00/pound to $1.25/pound.  I paid between $0.50-0.85 for each vegetable. 

Besides being resonably priced, summer squash is high in vitamin C, beta-carotene, folate and magnesium.  It is also a high fiber food that is low in calories, fat and sodium.  ½ cup cooked summer squash only has 15 calories so eat up!

Buying and Storing
When buying summer squash look for fruit that is blemish-free with firm, taut skin and between 3-8’’ long.  Smaller squash are typically sweeter than larger squash. Summer squash can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week until moisture is lost and the fruit begins to wrinkle.  

Summer squash can be cooked in many different ways.  It can be broiled, boiled, fried, steamed, roasted, sautéed and even baked into bread (Hello!  Zucchini bread! Yum!).  I decided to take the summer squash I bought at the Farmer’s Markets and try a couple of recipes. So remember to visit your local Wake County Farmer’s Market and try these recipes at home (they’re super easy!).

Summer Squash Pasta Recipe

What you’ll need:

  • 4 summer squash (any type will work, I used the Oriental and Yellow Squash and the Green and Gold Rush Zucchini)
  • 1 onion (also available at most Farmer’s Markets, this one came from my CSA)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 Tbsp oil (canola or olive)
  • 2 14 oz cans of crushed tomatoes (or a large jar of prepared pasta sauce)
  • 1 pound of pasta (whatever type you want, yes I know I used white instead of whole wheat pasta GASP! It was all I had!)
  • Italian herbs or spaghetti seasoning to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to prepare:

Check out my set up–only had to use two pots!

1.  Dice garlic and onions.  Cut summer squash into rounds. 

2. Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Once oil is heated, add onions and garlic and sauté until soft.

3.  Add summer squash rounds in layers on top of onions and garlic.  Cover with a lid and allow the squash to steam for 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally. 

4.  While the summer squash is steaming, prepare the pasta according to package directions. 

5. After 10 minutes of steaming, add the two cans of crushed tomatoes and seasonings to the summer squash and cook until warm through (about 10 minutes). 

6. Serve the summer squash sauce over the cooked pasta and enjoy!  I added some fresh basil and parsley to mine for some extra flavor (totally optional).

That’s a big plate of yummy!

 This is a really easy and quick recipe to follow and is packed with flavor and nutrients. 

Now to the Pattypan squash!  These things are crazy looking and I had no idea what to do with them. This is a recipe that I found online that looked really interesting because it wasn’t your typical squash recipe.  This recipe uses steamed Pattypan squash that are then stuffed with a bread/bacon/cheese mixture. 

Stuffed Pattypan (or Papaya Pear) Squash Recipe

What you’ll need:

  • 3 pattypan squash (in my case I have 2 pattypans and 1 papaya pear squash)
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/8 cup Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

If you want to make more or less just adjust the recipe accordingly.  You can also make this recipe without the bacon if you’re vegetarian or watching your saturated fat intake.  I’m neither of those things so bring on the bacon!

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Bring one inch of water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add squash, cover, and cook for 10 minutes or until the squash is easily pierced with a fork. Drain, and slice off the top stem of the squash.  Use a melon baller  (or a spoon) to carefully scoop out the centers of the squash.  Reserve all the bits of squash.

 3.  Cook bacon in a large skillet and drain on a paper towel.  Saute onion in bacon drippings.  Add the chopped squash bits and sauté for one minute. 

4.  Remove from skillet and stir in breadcrumbs.  Crumble the bacon on top and stir in the Parmesan cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stuff mixture into hollowed out squash and place in a baking dish. 

5.  Bake stuffed squash in the over for 15 minutes or until evenly heated through.                                                                                                  

The finished product: Stuffed Pattypans!

With this dish, I had dill potatoes and a peach (all locally grown by-the-way).  This dish had a very surprising, savory flavor that made it feel like a meaty entrée.  It filled up my husband, which is hard to do, so definitely make this dish for those in your family who require large amounts of food and flavor to fill them up! 

 

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