*Written By: Heather Malone*
For those of you who say Summer Squash isn’t exciting or glamorous … let me prove you wrong!
Squash is native to the Americas and has been cultivated and consumed by humans for over 8,000 years. It is the first (and many would claim the key) pillar of the “3 Sisters Method” of companion planting. It was domesticated thousands of years before the other 2 sisters, corn and beans, so clearly it is a very important crop.
It is a friend to those of us watching our calorie intake as squash can be as much as 95% water, making its calorie count almost negligible. But even with so few calories, the squash still provides us with essential nutrients like vitamin C and B vitamins. It is incredibly versatile and can be eaten raw in a crudité or cooked by almost any method. Check out my recipe below for “zoodles” (a portmanteau of zucchini and noodles) below for a new and exciting way to enjoy summer squashes.
To select the perfect squash look for one on the smaller side, around 7 inches long and quite slender. The skin should be smooth, bright and relatively free of blemishes. It should feel heavy and firm. Avoid excessively large specimens as they may be tough and bitter. Avoid wrinkly specimens as they are less fresh and tasty than their smoother counterparts. To get the very best always try to source your squashes as close to home as possible. You will be rewarded with a flavor that is delicate and refreshing.
In addition to the squash itself, the beautiful orange flowers of the zucchini (or squash blossoms) are also edible! They are delicate and mild in squash flavor, and make an elegant addition to lots of dishes. You can add them to pasta, risotto, frittatas, soups, or more! Who knew?!
Now, back to zoodles. For my zoodle recipe I use a veggie spiralizer to turn my summer squash into “zoodles” which even picky eaters will gobble right up. The best part? It could not be simpler. So much so that it’s really more of a technique than a recipe. To make “zoodles” I wash and dry my squash (I usually use half and half, zucchini and yellow crookneck squash) and spiralize it. Everyone’s spiralizer is a bit different. Mine was the inexpensive grocery store version and works much the same as pencil sharpener. Once I’ve made my “zoodles” I sauté them in a little oil and top with a nice marinara and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. Don’t forget to garnish with some fresh basil from your GoFarm share!
Other serving ideas include adding them to an Asian-inspired stir fry or baking them into a lasagna if you have a wider “zoodle” option on your spiralizer. I enjoy “zoodles” raw in my salads. Chopped zoodles could even be added to coleslaw to up your veggie intake. They are a versatile, fun and easy way to incorporate more fresh produce into your diet.