Anyone for Squash?
By Chelsea Fisher
Throughout the summer and fall, farmer’s market stands and grocery bins alike are overflowing with zucchini, aka summer squash. Unlike winter squash that are left to ripen and mature, summer squash are picked early, when their skins are soft and edible. That’s important because the rind is rich in vitamin A and C – hard-working antioxidants that help neutralize cancer-causing free radicals.
Besides adding color to any dish, summer squash is one of the best natural sources of manganese. One cup of summer squash contains 32% of your daily-recommended value of vitamin C and 12% of vitamin B6, plus smaller amounts of many other vitamins.
Summer squashes, both yellow and green, are treated and cooked like vegetables, but – for what it’s worth – they are actually fruit. Most are interchangeable in recipes and are extremely versatile. Steamed as a side, baked into quick bread, stir-fried into a fast supper dish or grilled with a lean protein, zucchini or its yellow cousin make it easy and quick to add nutrition to your daily diet.
Summer squash should be dense, relatively shiny, and blemish free with a soft rind. Pick the smaller squash over large, about 21/2”- 4” long is ideal for zucchini. If the rind is too hard the squash is likely over-ripe and will have large seeds and stringy flesh.
Many of the conventional summer squashes sold in supermarkets are waxed to maintain moisture during shipping. Make sure to give them a hearty wash before eating and cooking.
Summer squash can be used easily as a pizza topping, in pasta sauce, stir fried, or as a delicious part of a quintessential summer kabob. Grated zucchini can also be used in Zucchini bread or even zucchini brownies. Use it to make a French inspired dish like our Quinoa with Roasted Ratatouille. Or try our Giambotta, Zucchini Ricotta Pizza or Zucchini Tomato Pasta.