Authored by Michelle Jebsen, UMN Public Health Nutrition Program
Summer squash is a tender, warm-seasoned vegetable that is grown in Minnesota from July to September. Summer squash differs from winter squash due to its harvest time, which is before the rind hardens and the fruit matures. This delicious and nutritious vegetable appears in a broad range of shapes and colors spanning from round and flattened like a plate to thin and cylindrical and is yellow, green, or white in color. There is a numerous variety of summer squash included but not limited to bottle gourd, yellow crookneck, pattypan, and zucchini varieties. Look for squash at the market and select the squash that is small and firm and feel free to ask the vendors what specific varieties they grow.
One of the greatest things about summer squash is unlike winter squash summer squash can be eaten rind, seeds, and all. To prepare, summer squash can be baked, steamed, sautéed, and even deep fat fried. You should store the squash in a bag or container in the refrigerator and try to use within a week of purchase. Squash is an easy and nutritious vegetable to chop up and add to dishes such as stir-fry. It is also delicious to chop up and grill with other vegetables such as peppers, onions, mushrooms, and spices. Summer is a perfect time for this!
Like all other vegetables, summer squash is so good for you! It is an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese and also a good source of magnesium, vitamin A, dietary fiber, potassium, and folate.
Come to the market and look for this colorful, healthy, and fun vegetable! There is no better time than now to start enjoying some local summer squash.