It has funny sounding names like pattypan and crookneck. It looks peculiar too. But little beats the buttery-without-butter taste of summer squash. Squash is indigenous to the Americas. The Native Americans ate it and the early European settlers followed suit. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew squash. It's a gardener's pal and grows prodigiously. What home gardener hasn't found a zucchini as long as their arm nestled under the leaves of the plant towards the end of the summer?
Crookneck: A yellow squash, often with slightly bumpy skin, that has a round base tapering into a slender, curved neck.
Pattypan: A saucer-shaped squash with a scalloped edged that may be white, yellow or pale green in color.
Scallopini: Looks like pattypan except the squash has speckled green skin like zucchini and is slightly smaller.
Straightneck: Close kin to the crookneck squash, except, true to its name, it has a straight neck.
Zucchini: A popular green squash that often has speckled, shiny skin.
What to Look For
Look for firm squash with no soft spots or puncture marks. The skin should be thin and glossy. Avoid mammoth squash. Smaller oneseight inches or lessare more flavorful and tender, and less water-laden. Next to lettuce, squash has the highest water content of any vegetable.
Store in the refrigerator. Squash keeps for at least three days. Before cooking, wash them carefully, preferably using a brush, because they can be quite gritty.
Summer squash is a good source of vitamin C. It's virtually calorie-freea cup of cooked squash has about 25 calories.
Summer squash have lovely, delicate orange and yellow flowers that taste delicious and are a staple in Italian cooking. Buy squash blossoms that look fresh and have closed buds. Plan on eating them that daytry them in a salad or sautéedbecause they won't last for long.
Steaming, sautéing and grilling are all good ways to cook summer squash. Zucchini pairs well with Parmesan, garlic, onions, basil, parsley or tomatoes. Try cinnamon, curry, ginger or lemon to compliment yellow squash.
Try summer squash in these delicious FoodFit recipes:
Zucchini Tomato Tart
Bob Kinkead's Summer Salad Soup
Risotto with Zucchini
Penne with Summer Squash, Zucchini and Sugar Snap Peas
Roasted Pattypan Squash
Summer Squash Sauté