Recipe of the Week: Summer Squash (Zucchini)

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Vegetable of the week: Squash
summer squash

Squash are fleshy vegetables protected by a hard rind. They belong to the plant family that includes melons and cucumbers. The skin and rind of summer squash are rich in the nutrient beta-carotene, but the fleshy portion of this vegetable is not. To gain the full nutritional benefits of this vegetable, the skins or rinds must be eaten.

History

Squash has been a staple for the Native Americans for more than 5000 years, and was a mainstay for early European who settled in America. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were enthusiastic squash growers. In the nineteenth century, merchant seamen returned from other parts of the Americas with many new varieties. This resulted in the various colors, shapes, and sizes that are available today.

Varieties

Even though some varieties grow on vines while others grow on bushes, squash are commonly divided into the two groups, summer and winter. There are several types of summer squash, but zucchini is the most popular summer squash purchased in the United States. Summer squash come in many different colors and shapes. The different varieties of squash can be used interchangeable in most recipes, because most squash are similar in texture and flavor.

How to Select

Choose squash that are firm and fairly heavy for their size, otherwise they may be dry and cottony inside. Look for squash that have bright, glossy exteriors. Avoid buying squash that have nicks or bruises on their skins or ones that have soft spots.

Storage

Place summer squash in plastic bags and store in the refrigerator. Fresh summer squash should keep for up to a week. Thicker-shinned varieties such as chayote will stay fresh for two weeks or longer.

From www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov

Freezing

Preparation – Choose young squash with tender skin. Wash and cut in 1/2-inch slices. Blanch squash by placing in boiling water for 3 minutes. Cool promptly, drain and package, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal and freeze.

Grated Zucchini (for Baking) – Choose young tender zucchini. Wash and grate. Steam blanch in small quantities 1 to 2 minutes until translucent. Pack in measured amounts into containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Cool by placing the containers in cold water. Seal and freeze.

If watery when thawed, discard the liquid before using the zucchini.

Information provided by the National Center for Home Preservation http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze/squash_summer.html 

2016 Recipe (Zucchini)

2016 Zucchini Recipe Card

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2016 Recipe (Squash)

2016 Squash Recipe Card

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2015 Recipe

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2014 Recipe 

 

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2013 Recipe

zesty skillet zucchini

 

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2012 Recipe

Orange Honeyed_Acorn_Squash_pub

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