Food — Slowly The Summer Squash Appears

Yellow squash, zucchini make their way despite bed weather

Let’s face it: bigger does not always mean better and that is true when it comes to the size of yellow squash and zucchini. Sure, there are those farmers and avid gardeners who pride themselves on growing 300-pound squashes or 12-foot-long zucchinis but who wants to eat them? Talk about vegetable burnout.

Unfortunately this year’s crops of both types of vine vegetation have not fared well, so the thought of growing a Guinness contender should be fleeting. However, all has not been lost; even with increased rain and lack of warmth and sun, the yellow squash and zucchini crops are making a comeback.

Noreen O’Connell, owner of the Butternut Farm in Milford, said that summer squash is something most people demand early in the summer and by now demand is waning.

“I myself eat it every day with most meals. But there are those people who only want it early in the season,” she said. O’Connell sells her vegetables at the Manchester Farmers’ Market as well as the Milford market.

Summer squash, specifically yellow squash, is by far the most popular and it’s 100 percent edible, seeds and all, which makes for easy preparation. It can be steamed, grilled, fried or enjoyed cold in a salad.

The first crop of the season, which was ready in late June/early July, came in well because it was dry, according to local farmers, but the middle season did not do as well and now the third harvest might do better if rain and humidity stay away.

“This weather certainly makes predicting the harvest season difficult,” said Diane Souther of Apple Hill Farm.

Souther, like O’Connell, sells her vegetables at the Manchester Farmers’ Market. She admits there is never a perfect year for growing all fruits and vegetables but that’s how farming is.

“We just can’t complain,” Souther said.

“Every year there’s a reason certain crops do not fare well. I am convinced that Mother Nature has a plan for each plant. And that plant is meant to produce only a certain number of pounds and once it’s done you can’t get anything more from it. Not matter what you do,” O’Connell added.

This year’s zucchini crop has been affected by mildew, which is causing those crops to come in a bit slower. O’Connell attributes the mildew problem to the increased rain.

—Meg Haines

Squash and bacon stir-fry
2 slices diced bacon
1 medium chopped onion
3 medium sized yellow squash, cut into ¼-inch slices
2 medium tomatoes, cut into eighths
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon sugar
Fry bacon in large skillet until almost crisp. Add onion, squash, and tomatoes; sprinkle with remaining ingredients. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 min., stirring several times. Yield: 5 to 6 servings. Recipe from sidedish.com.

Baked yellow squash
2 lb. sliced small squash
1 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
Steam squash until tender. Drain water and mash squash and add:
2 beaten eggs
¼ cup chopped onion
4 tbsp. softened butter
¾ cup shredded cheese
¼ cup sour cream
Mix and pour into buttered baking dish, top with the following:
1½ cups bread crumbs
1 tbsp. melted butter
1 teaspoon paprika
Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Recipe by Nancy Fletcher at Gardening in America, www.electricscotland.com/gardening.

Raw squash and cucumber salad
2-3 yellow squash cut into small pieces
2-3 cucumbers cut into chunks
2-3 tomatoes cut into large pieces
Toss together in a large bowl with ¼ cup olive oil and 3 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar. Place salad in refrigerator to allow flavors to mix. Prepare remainder of meal; don’t forget to serve the salad. Recipe courtesy of author.

Yellow squash and zucchini omelet
4 eggs
¼ cup milk
salt to season
fresh ground black pepper to season
¼ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Whisk eggs, milk and seasoning together in a bowl. Place shredded cheese in a separate bowl. Set both aside.
Omelet filling
1/3 cup onions, diced
½ cup zucchini squash, small dice
½ cup yellow squash, small dice
½ cup tomatoes, diced, with juice
11/2 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped
salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste
To prepare the filling, in a cast iron or heavy sauté pan heat 1/8 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, sauté until translucent. Stir in zucchini, yellow squash and sauté for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice, simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes. Stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a non-stick pan, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil, add eggs, cook until set. Flip egg mixture over and place filling in the middle, sprinkle the cheese on top. Fold omelet in half, let heat for two minutes to melt cheese. Recipe courtesy of author.

Zucchini and Squash Soup
¼ cup olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. minced shallots
1½ tsp. minced garlic
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1½ cup zucchini, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds
1½ cup squash, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups whipping cream
2 tsp. minced fresh basil
2 tsp. minced fresh oregano
salt & freshly ground pepper
Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, shallots and garlic and cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add flour and stir 3 minutes. Add zucchini and crookneck squash and cook until softened, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Stir in stock, cream, basil and oregano. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serves Six. Recipe courtesy of Melena Produce.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
3 eggs
1½ cups granulated sugar
1 stick of butter at room temperature
½ cup Sour cream
¾ cup buttermilk
½ pound raw zucchini, shredded
1 tsp. vanilla extract
confectioners’ sugar
Generously grease and flour 10-inch Bundt pan. Preheat oven to 350°.
Sift flour with baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cocoa; set aside.
In large mixing bowl with hand-held electric mixer at high speed, beat eggs until light in color and fluffy. Gradually beat in granulated sugar until light and fluffy; beat in butter and sour cream.
With mixer at low speed, beat in the sifted dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk.
Drain shredded zucchini; fold into the flour mixture along with vanilla. Spoon into prepared Bundt pan and bake 55 to 60 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan to cool completely. Sift confectioners’ sugar over cake before serving. Recipe modified from SouthernFood.com.

 
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