Summer Squash Is Great – Try Some!
By Fred Myers
You should have planted or planned to plant some summer squash in your garden. If you begin now you can still experience some very excellent squash by late summer or early fall harvest. The types of summer squash are numerous ranging from zucchini,scallop, which is the old patty pan type,butter squash,to yellow crookneck with the curved neck and many other selections in between.
The problem I have observed with summer squash is allowing the squash to remain on the vine too long which results in the fruit becoming overlarge and over mature. If your squash grows to a large size,it produces a watery flesh with very little flavor. It is better to harvest your fruit when it is sweet,small and tender. This will require the gardener to inspect the plants every two to three days because rapid growth can result in an oversized squash in no time. If you discover an oversized summer squash,which will have developed a hard skin,it would be best to throw it out. It has a tendency to reduce the energy in the plant which means less smaller fruit will be produced.
You can remove the squash from the vine with a good sharp knife or even pruning shears. You will only need several plants of the variety that is enjoyed by you and or your family. The plants are way too prolific and this is what leads to oversized and inedible fruit or you can canvass the neighborhood for takers before it is necessary to dispose of the over production. The young fruit is very immature and the skin is very thin so handle your crop very carefully.
Summer squash blooms are very edible either raw or cooked. It just requires covering them with some batter and frying in oil to give a terrific taste and flavorful treat. The male blossoms are the ones to use for this epicurean delight. You should only use male blossoms since they are more plentiful than the female ones unless you want to reduce squash production. The male blossoms have a stem that is thin and trim while the female is very thick with a bulge at the base of the petals since your squash is forming at this point. However you do need to have a few male blossoms on the plant for additional pollination so don##Q##t pick all of them.
Nutritional value is somewhat lower in summer squash than its counterpart of winter squash. This is the result of its immaturity. Most of the nutritional value resides in the peel of a squash so never peel a summer squash. This fruit is excellent steamed,fried,boiled or grilled and in stir fry mix with onions and all varieties of vegetables including tomatoes.
Canning is not good for this type product since the tender quality of the fruit will lead to a mushy texture during hot water boiling. In our family zucchini bread is very popular. Just cut the the Zucchini in half in a length wise fashion and remove any seeds. Then a carrot bread recipe can be used providing the zucchini as a sub for the carrots. You now have as end product a delightful zucchini bread.
There are a great many good recipes for summer squash and one of my favorites is a recipe for stuffed squash blossoms. You can find this recipe Edible flower chart-recipes.
This gardener has been gardening for over twenty years and has decided to use his empirical data as well as researched information to assist beginners as well as old timers in their garden pursuits. My web site can be found at http://www.gardenersgardening.com