This is my first attempt to actually grow summer squash, and I can tell you a few things I've learned so far:
- It's really easy to start from a small plant. It's taken very little effort other than watering. I'm adding this to the "anyone can do it" list (along with lettuce and onions).
- Farmers market vendors are making a steal. For $1.50 I bought a package of five vegetable starts. Three of them made it through the night. Of those, I've already plucked a half-dozen squash, and there's many, many more blooming or still growing. Compare that with the $.75-$1 each they're selling for now at the market.
- Summer squash is better small. I am finding that the larger squashes have larger seed areas and tougher skins.
That being said, the last week I've had to force myself to be more creative in hunting down summer squash recipes. I'm used to munching on it raw, but that is getting a little old. (Not to mention that my kids tend to decorate the floor with it more than eat it raw.)
The trick, I'm finding, is finding recipes for summer squash -not zucchini, as most recipes seem to be. Here are a few I've stumbled on so far and some interesting ideas I've gotten from others.
Summer squash sauteed
Simply slice and saute with a little garlic and olive oil.
Summer squash sauteed with pine nuts
adapted from the July-August 2009 Vegetarian Times
My well-meaning coworker gave me this recipe for zucchini with pine nuts, capers and raisins. I subbed the summer squash and dropped the raisins. It tasted well enough, but the brownish color and strong flavor of the balsamic vinegar turned off my kids.
2 medium summer squash
2 T. olive oil, divided
2 T. pine nuts
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. capers
Cut squash into matchstick-size strips. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and add squash. Saute until squash is tender. Add pine nuts and garlic and heat. Stir in vinegar and capers, heat up. Serve with pasta.
I'd love to see other squash recipes. If you've stumbled across any good ideas, please let me know!
Serving up blossoms?
The other idea I've gotten is to actually eat the blossoms themselves. Eating flowers is a new idea to our family, so I'm not sure how they'll warm up to it. Chile advised me that squash blossoms "don't have that strong floral taste like salad flowers."
I admit I thought this was a crazy idea, but there are a lot of recipes for this online, including squash blossom frittatas, quesadillas, stuffed blossoms and, in the ultimate healthy form, fried (both American and Thai versions!). Apparently they are fine to eat raw too, according to the University of Illinois extension site. Who knew?
These plants are not going to quit any time soon, so start sending those recipes and cooking ideas on!