Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Medley of Squash

We have sixteen squash plants growing in the garden. Sixteen is a serious number of squash! I like BIG harvests, and nothing provides a more satisfying (and early) harvest than squash.

bottom right garden quadrant

We ordered the squash collection from Park's Seeds. This collection includes four types; Park's Crookneck Improved, Enterprise, Sable Beauty, and Italiano Largo. The yellow squash (Enterprise and Crookneck) have been the first to ripen, but the two zucchini are starting to catch up.

crookneck, straightneck, italian large and sable beauty squash

The Enterprise squash ripen quickly to a creamy yellow color. All the fruit I have harvested has been uniform in size and shape, and have very small flower scars. These are beautiful vegetables with a lovely thin skin.

straightneck squash

The Crookneck squash ripen very quickly and must be harvested at their prime; otherwise the skin will become dark yellow and begin to toughen. The fruit of these plants becomes mature at various sizes, so don't be timid when harvesting. You will end up with fruit varying in size from tiny to medium, but they all have equally wonderful flavor!

crookneck squash

This is the first Sable Beauty harvested, and we have not yet sampled it. Its exterior certainly lives up to its name, and its flesh is said to be creamy and bold. We'll see later this week if that is true :)

sable beauty squash

These Italian Largo are the type of zucchini I remember from my childhood - big! We never ate them as a vegetable dish though, but my Mom used them to make zucchini bread. It wasn't until I moved to the South that I learned squash were for eating at dinner! Although these squash are huge, they still have a great flavor. A lot of squash lose their flavor as they get bigger, but we ate one of these big boys last week sauteed with butter and onions, and it was tender and sweet. The skin is tougher than the other three varieties, but the flavor is great!

italian largo squash

We were able to fit sixteen plants into this 9' x 9' area along with four green peppers and a row of bush-type green beans. The plants are all very healthy, and I have not noticed any serious pest infestations. You need to continue to harvest the fruit regularly so the plants will continue to produce; otherwise, they will die back. Once these plants have exhausted their resources, I plan to sow a second crop!

We enjoy squash prepared in many ways; cut width-wise and sauteed with onions and butter and served as a side dish, cut long-wise and grilled with olive oil, salt and pepper, cubed and sauteed with onions and butter and served in pasta, and cubed and made into a casserole. We are investigating other new and interesting ways to prepare squash since we are going to have so many!

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At 11:14 AM , Blogger Tami said...

I am with your mom. I love hot zucchini bread smothered in butter; very unhealthy, I know. I also enjoy battered and fried zucchini. It is almost like a fried green tomato … once again, unhealthy.
I have never had any healthy version of zucchini. If you knew how many calories, fat, and so on were in the dishes you were eating, you could start another blog: Cooking With Ian & Tammy.

At 11:57 AM , Blogger Goodboy Norman Featherstone said...

When its grilled with olive oil, salt and pepper, it is quite healthy. However, when it is sauteed with butter, you probably trade off some of the healthiness in the butter! LOL! I LOVE butter. My mom always used margarine, and it was not until I was married that I discovered butter. I will NEVER go back!!


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