The very, very prolific zucchini squash can currently be found in abundance at area farm markets as well as in overwhelming quantities in backyard gardens. The trick with zucchini squash is to purchase it or harvest it while it is still quite small – it will be more flavorful and tender when small, and you will stand some chance of not becoming sick of it/frightening the neighbors with it.
Squash, like mushrooms, readily absorb whatever nutrients – and contaminants – are in the soil environment. This is a good reason to grown/purchase organic squash; as the skin of summer squash is particularly antioxidant-rich, you’ll want to be able to eat the skin of the squash as well. Purchasing/growing organic enables you to leave the skin on and not worry about surface toxins. If you are not fortunate enough to have your own organically grown zucchini plant, you can purchase organic squash at Rosemary Eisenhauer's, Patchwork Gardens, or Good Life Farms at the Sugarcreek Township Farm Market.
While freezing zucchini usually changes the texture of the squash when thawed, it is an excellent way to preserve what is likely to be a generous summer bounty of squash. Freezing squash does not particularly cause a loss of nutrients, and the squash is still excellent in casseroles, soups, stews and other dishes.
To freeze summer squash, slice it and steam it for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from the steamer and let it cool completely before popping it into freezer bags and storing in the freezer.
Here is another quick and easy recipe to use up some of that over abundant zucchini squash. Zucchini recipes that can be prepared quickly are important, as by the time you finish preparing one recipe, you will have 8 or 20 more squash in your garden ready for harvest.
Zucchini with orzo
- 1 cup whole wheat orzo
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced into 'toothpicks'
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 T butter
- 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
Cook orzo according to package directions until al dente. Drain.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add zucchini and garlic; season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally until crisp-tender, about 4 to 6 minutes.
Transfer the orzo to a medium bowl, add the zucchini mixture, basil, vinegar, and the butter. Season with salt and pepper; toss to combine.
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