Oh boy, the first summer squashes! You MAY also see lettuce, kale chard or beets, peas, or pickling cucumbers.
The summer squash is so tender and delicate, so no need to break out the elaborate recipes to bury it…that time may come later 😉 Summer squash refers to any soft skin squash you harvest in the summer. there are MANY types of summer squash and I am sure you are already very familiar with the yellow skinned straight neck or crook neck summer squash and zucchini. We also grow Golden zucchini, the bright yellow version of the dark green classic, cousa, a pale green Mediterranean squash, as well as some of the scallopini types which come in an array of colors, smoothness and/or depth of scalloping (slightly UFO style). You will seldom see the scalloped types, but you might!
Why so many? Because like all open pollinated vegetables, you see lots of variation over time. Varieties that posses desirable characteristics are saved and hopefully reproduced in coming years. Who has ever had some mutant squash vine grow out of their compost and looked at the fruiting bodies wondering what it is? Butterkin? Pumcorn? Well, when you find the right squash, you need to grow it separately from other varieties if you are going to save the seed. Sometimes the hybrid is wonderful and sometimes not. We cannot afford the space to only grow one variety within convenient reach of our pollinators, so we do not save seed…but no problem, the bees can go from variety to variety and it will not affect the fruit that year. At the end of the day, I find that all the summer squashes are interchangeable. Yes, the cousa might be a little drier and hold up better in some dishes, and sometimes the zucchini can have a stronger taste, bordering on bitterness, but you can safely use any of them in any recipe calling for any summer squash.
Yellow straight neck, Zucchini, Cousa, Romanesco, Zephyr
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Check out Swiss Chard and Summer squash Enchiladas , Zucchini Recipes, and Kale Pizza. For those of you who are challenged with kids who think they won’t eat kale, I promise you if you chop the kale nice and small in the “pizza” your kids will eat it and also, definitely make Kale Crunch/ Kale Chips and present them as green potato chips (as one mother tells me her girls call them that).
I am told many of you will see fennel this week…and if not this week, next.
About fennel: We grow the bulb type fennel, aka finochio aka Florence Fennel. If you have it in your box, it will have a whitish bulbous base with lots of stalks and feathery foliage that smells like anise. It is high in vitamin C, potassium, folate, and fiber. Sounds like a super combo with beets, eh? Did you know the Greeks called it marathon and it actually was growing in the field where the epic battle was fought? Yep, the Battle of Marathon. It was also awarded to Pheidippides after his long run. The bulb is good raw or cooked, the leaves are nice for seasoning, the stems not so useful, as they are very fibrous.