The name "squash" was derived from Native American words meaning "something eaten raw,".Yellow squash, which are native to North America, come in 2 varieties. Yellow crooknecks are slightly bent, and yellow straightnecks have no bend. Both varieties have white flesh. Crooknecks and straightnecks are categorized as summer squash, although this popular vegetable is usually available year-round.
Summer squash, including yellow squash, has lots of fiber, potassium, manganese, copper, magnesium and vitamins A, K and C. One cup of sliced yellow squash contains 25 calories and no fat, making the vegetable an ideal component of a weight-loss diet. These vegetables possess no cholesterol and just 3 mg of sodium in each serving. Each serving contains 5 g of carbohydrates and 1 g of protein.The skin contains many of the nutrients. Yellow squash can be sauteed, steamed, baked, grilled, stir-fried or used in soups and stews. They blend well with tomatoes, onions, garlic, bell peppers and other types of summer squash. The flowers of these squash flowers are edible and can also be fried or stuffed. Yellow squash is a good source of vitamins C and A, calcium and iron.
Select yellow squash that feel heavy relative to their size. The skin should be glossy. Avoid crooknecks or straightnecks with blemishes or bruises.Summer squash bruises easily and should be handled with care. Look for firm, glossy skin; fairly heavy for size. Stored in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator, they should keep for a week. Summer squash can be served raw with other vegetables as part of a vegetable platter with dips, in salads, grilled, broiled, steamed, stir-fried, deep-fried, boiled, baked, or stuffed. Because of its mild flavor, it can be added to almost any main-dish recipe or pasta sauce for texture, flavor, and color.
Use herbs and spices to enhance the flavor of mild summer squash. Dill, pepper, basil, marjoram, chives, and mint are particularly well-suited to squash, and it is delicious cooked with garlic, onions, and tomatoes.The flowers on yellow squash plants are also edible and contain some vitamin C and beta-carotene. You can bake or fry the blossoms or add them shredded to a salad
To Prepare and Use Summer Squash:
Thoroughly scrub each squash under running water until the skin feels clean. The cut off and discard the stem end and scrape off the other end. Only if the skin is unusually tough or the surface feels especially gritty after washing, is it necessary to peel the squash. Most summer squash is now ready to be used in any recipe. Yellow squash and zucchini are usually interchangeable in recipes, so you can use the vegetable you prefer or the one that's available.
Depending on your recipe, you may grate, slice, or cut into pieces of various shapes.
To steam summer squash:
Arrange the slices/pieces of squash in a strainer or rack over 1/2-inch of boiling water. Cover and steam just until barely tender. Remove from heat and drain well. Toss with melted butter or your favorite sauce.To sauté summer squash:
Cook in butter over medium-high heat until barely tender. Season with herbs of your choice, salt, and pepper.
Freezing summer Squash:
Freezing softens the flesh of the squash, but it will still be usable in casseroles and other dishes where crispness is not important. Blanch cut up summer squash 2 minutes before freezing, and store in the freezer for up to 4 months. For breads, freeze the raw squash whole or grated.
What's your favorite way to prepare summer squash? Raw in salads or vegetable plate with dip, grilled, deep fried, sauteed, baked or squash casserole or some other way?