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Yellow Summer Squash

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What is it?

Yellow summer squash have thin, edible skins, mild flavor, and silky flesh that doesn’t require much (if any) cooking. Yellow crookneck squash, a favorite variety among famers’ market growers, has a buttery flavory and creamy texture. Cooked to tender perfection, all summer squash is nutty-sweet and delicious, whether steamed, sautéed, poached, baked, or grilled.

Summer squash are easy to grow, though they do require some space. Once the weather and soil have warmed, plant seeds or young plants in a sunny area of the garden. Within a few weeks, you’ll be harvesting. When the fruits are the size you want (check every day, as they grow quickly), cut—don’t pull—them from the plant, using a small, sharp knife.

Zephyr A slender, attractive, firm-textured summer squash, Zephyr is mostly yellow, with a couple of inches of light green at the blossom end and faint white vertical stripes.

Crookneck Also known as yellow squash, this variety has a curved neck. It should be handled with care, as its thin skin bruises easily.

How to choose:

As a rule, summer squash taste best when picked young; if squash is allowed to grow too big, it gets watery, tough, and tasteless. Whether you’re choosing from the garden or the produce counter, pick small, firm squash, that are plump and brightly colored. The skin should be free of blemishes and should have a smooth, glossy sheen. Smaller squash are more tender because the skin is still thin and the seeds are unformed; they also contain less water than older squash.

If you see squash with fresh-looking blossoms still attached, buy them. This is a sure sign that the squash was picked and handled carefully on the way to the market.

How to prep:

After a gentle scrub under the faucet, the squash is ready to cut—there’s no need to peel it. Besides contributing color and nutrients, the skin helps the vegetable hold together better when cooked.

You can also harvest (and eat) squash blossoms. Be sure to clip them early in the day, dip them in a bowl of cool water to rinse away dust, and then shake gently to dry. Pinch off the stamen in the center of each flower. Cut the yellow flowers crosswise tp use as a garnish or fry them whole, filled or not (we like goat cheese seasoned with fresh herbs). Twist the petal tips to close them, dip in an egg beaten with a little milk, roll in cornmeal, and fry until golden.

How to store:

Summer squash can be kept in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to 5 days.


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