Vegetables for vitality: Summer squash

Summer squash, such as zucchini, are wonderfully versatile and quick to cook. When you buy fresh ones, you'll know that they will be good any number of ways:

Vegetables for vitality:  Summer squash

Nutritional value

Packed into 250 millilitres (one cup) of zucchini:

  • 25 calories
  • More than half the daily requirement for vitamin C
  • Several B vitamins used in energy production
  • Magnesium to help regulate nerves and muscles

At the market

Season: 

  • Despite their name, summer squash and zucchini can be found at other times of the year.
  • Summer is when you usually find the freshest, tastiest examples of these easy-to-grow vegetables. Another bonus of the summer harvest is the availability of squash blossoms – a true delicacy.

What to look for: 

  • Zucchini and summer squash are best when young and small.
  • Choose zucchini that are no longer than about  15 centimetres (six inches) in length.
  • These and some of the squash can grow to enormous sizes, but they will be seedy, watery and tough.
  • Choose squash and zucchini with bright, shiny skins and a firm texture.
  • Don't be put off by a few surface scratches; because the skins are so tender and thin, they are practically unavoidable.

In the kitchen

Storing:

  • Store zucchini and other summer squash in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Preparation:

  • Give zucchini and squash a good rinse and trim their ends.
  • Small and medium-sized squash have edible skin.
  • With oversized summer squash, it's best to peel the tough skin and scoop out the seeds.
  • Discard any dry, pulpy parts. Squash can be precut for later use, covered with a damp towel, and refrigerated for several hours.
  • To use squash in baking breads and muffins, grate the raw vegetable and blot with paper towels to remove as much of the excess liquid as possible.

Basic cooking:

  • Summer squash can be steamed, sautéed, stir-fried or barbecued.
  • An easy way to prepare summer squash is to cut green and yellow varieties into thin slices, and sauté in a little olive oil until they just begin to soften and brown.
  • Add chopped garlic, fresh herbs, salt and pepper, and cook for another minute or two.
  • Drizzle with lemon juice and serve.
  • To barbecue, cut small squash in half lengthwise and lightly oil the cut surface. Place cut-side down on the grill just until lightly charred and tender.

Fresh ideas

  • Sticks of zucchini, resembling fat French fries, can be briefly roasted, then used for dipping into savoury sauces and spicy dips.
  • Blanch zucchini. Slice lengthwise, stuff with crumbled feta cheese and top with bread crumbs. Place under the grill until cheese starts to melt and crumbs begin to brown.
  • Add small cubes of cooked summer squash to pasta sauces.
  • Make ribbons to garnish salads by running a cheese grater lengthwise down the sides of a raw zucchini.
  • Overgrown, tough squash can be used as serving containers. Scrape out and discard the flesh and seeds. Brush "container" with lemon juice. Fill with crudités or salads.
  • Add cooked squash to an omelette with tomato, herbs and onion for a Mediterranean-style brunch.

Wow, so many great ideas for healthy and delicious dishes! Find which one you like best and make it a regular part of your weekly meal plan!

--------------------

Discover the smarter way to save time and money

Ready to start saving more on your groceries and pharmacy purchases? Download the FREE YP Grocery app today! It lets you create shareable shopping lists, automatically finds all the best deals and coupons, then delivers them right to you. No more manually scrolling through hundreds of flyers to find what you’re looking for!

Download the YP Grocery app now!

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu