By Sherrie Norris
Yellow summer squash – you either love it or you don’t; there’s no in between.
Squash seems to be on the vine in abundance around the High Country this year. It’s something that never comes just one at a time, and just like its cousin the zucchini, reproduces in the twinkling of an eye.
Not one to hang around very long, it’s best to harvest the squash before it becomes too big and too yellow. The small ones, light in color and soft in texture, are the best.
Summer squash is a broad term that, in fact, includes the yellow crookneck, yellow and green zucchini, patty pan, sunburst and scallopini.
Regardless of the variety, squash is tender and mild in flavor; the entire vegetable is edible, with the exception of the stem.
Patty pan is a bowl-shaped squash with a scalloped rim. It is usually about 3 to 4 inches in diameter and pale green or white in color. Yellow crookneck has a slender curved neck and a slight bulbous base. Yellow straight neck squash, a related variety, has a straight slender shape, yellow skin and creamy flesh.
A member of the gourd family, squash usually peaks in the middle of summer in this area. Available in supermarkets year-round, it is commercially grown in most states, with Florida having the leading edge of production.
Squash is simple to prepare; just wash and trim, don’t worry about peeling, though do trim off the edges and discard both ends. Generally steamed, sautéed, grilled, stir-fried, breaded and fried, squash can be used in a variety of ways and is a tasty summer-time treat for many. Read on for just a few of the many ways it can be used.
Easy Squash Casserole
6-8 tender yellow medium squash, sliced
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
10 Ritz crackers, crushed
Cook squash with onion until tender. Drain and mash. Add other ingredients to squash and mix well. Pour into a 1 qt. casserole dish. Bake until firm at 350-degrees 45 minutes to an hour.
8 cups sliced squash
2 cups sliced onion
1 Tbsp. pickling salt
1 cup diced green pepper
2 cups cider vinegar
3 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp. celery seeds
1 tsp. mustard seeds
Combine squash and onion, sprinkle with salt and let stand 1 hour. Combine remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Pack squash and onion into hot, sterilized jars; cover with vinegar mixture, leaving ¼-inch head space. Seal and process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Makes 4 pints; repeat as necessary.
Oven-Roasted Summer Squash
About 10 squash, mixed or single variety (any combination will work)
Preheat oven to 425.
Wash and dry squash. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with coarse salt. Place them on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until they begin to brown and are tender.
Simple Squash Skillet
2 medium zucchini
2 medium yellow squash
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 medium onion, sliced or chunked
4 to 6 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and cook, stirring, for about 8 minutes, or until tender but still a little crisp. Add butter and toss with the cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
1 (9-inch) Pillsbury piecrust, baked and set aside
3 Tbs. butter or margarine
1 small onion, chopped
4 medium yellow squash, cut into thin slices
1 tsp. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup green onions, chopped
½ cup mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
Sauté onion in butter. Add sliced squash, sugar, salt and pepper. Cook 3 – 5 minutes or just until squash is tender. Do not overcook. Remove from heat; add green onions, mayonnaise and beaten egg. Mix the two cheeses together. Spread one cup of the mixed cheeses in the bottom of the piecrust. Add squash mixture and top with remaining cheese mixture. Bake in 350º oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
2 cups grated yellow squash
¼ cup self – rising flour
1/3 cup self – rising cornmeal
1 small onion, chopped
1 egg, beaten
Pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together. Spoon out into hot greased frying pan. Brown both sides. Drain on paper towel.