It’s the middle of May and I’ve already picked about 9 yellow squash and two green squash. We only planted 3 summer squash plants and one winter squash. The winter squash takes about 90 days to mature (as it’s more like a pumpkin than a summer squash). So, while that’s growing, we are getting quite a bit from our three, large summer squash plants (2 yellow squash and 1 zucchini).
My family isn’t all that excited about squash, but I like it. It’s good for them and half the time they don’t know they’re eating it (yes, this mama is sneaky when it comes to hiding vegetables). I have a feeling with all of the rain we’ve been getting (and are supposed to still get), we will have an overabundance of squash. If you have the same delicious problem, here are a few things I’m learning to do with excess squash:
- Wash it. Grate it. Wrap it up in saran wrap in 1 cup increments and freeze it. Thaw before using and toss into soups, spaghetti, lasagna, etc. It will keep well all year long in the freezer and it’s easy enough to preserve without heating up your kitchen.
- Roast it. I cut off the ends and then slice a few squash like french fries, toss them with olive oil, and place them in the 375 degree oven on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Flip them a few times so that they roast evenly on all sides and when they’re done, lightly salt and serve. They are not crisp like french fries, but they are extremely tasty.
- Zucchini/squash bread. Use instead of zucchini in your favorite zucchini bread recipe. Make several loaves at once and then freeze them for later.
- Add them to a salad. I recently started slicing them into small chunks and now add them to my salad. They are delicious and really add a nice texture and flavor to an otherwise normal salad.
- Stuff ’em. Slice in half. Scoop out the insides and stuff with a delicious filling (like shredded chicken sauteed with peppers, a bit of tomato sauce, taco seasonings, etc.). Fill the squash, top if shredded cheddar cheese and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes (or until everything is heated through). Check out Martha Stewart’s Stuffed Tex-Mex Yellow Squash recipe.
- Grill it. Cut in half. Lightly grease with olive oil and grill. These are d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s. Pull them off the grill while they are still a little firm and enjoy…very tasty!
- Share the love! Make friends for life by giving them your excess squash.
- Dehydrate it. Wash the zucchini/squash. Cut off the ends. Slice very thinly. Place on your dehydrator and let it run until the squash is dry. Store in an airtight container. To use, I simply crumbled them and added them to soups and stews, spaghetti sauces, etc. No one was the wiser. 🙂
- Can it. There are a few recipes below to try.
Recipes for canning squash:
4 quarts zucchini, grated or diced
1 1/2 cups bottled lemon juice
1 can ( 46 oz. ) unsweetened pineapple juice
3 cups sugar
Peel the zucchini and remove the seeds. You can either coarsely grate it or cut it into small chunks. Mix all ingredients thoroughly and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Fill clean hot jars with hot zucchini mixture leaving 1/2 inch head space. Adjust lids and process 15 minutes for half pints or pint jars.
Remove jars and allow to cool completely. Test seal and store in a cool dry place (without the rings).
6 cups squash, grated or shredded
1/4 cup water
1 package powdered pectin
5 cups granulated sugar
20 oz. can of crushed pineapple
3 oz. package strawberry Jello (or any other flavor)
4 teaspoons minced crystallized ginger
Grate the squash and add it to a large pot. Add the 1/4 cup water and cook until the squash is soft. Add the pectin and boil hard for one minute. Add the sugar all at once. Stir in the pineapple and ginger. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add the jello. Ladle into hot half-pint jars leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Tighten the lids. Boil in a water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from the water bath. Place on a towel and let them cool overnight.
Jalapeno and Zucchini Jam
10 jalapenos, stems removed
5 cups seeded cubed zucchini
1 1⁄2 cups distilled vinegar
7 cups sugar
4 tablespoons powdered pectin
Place peppers, zucchini, and vinegar in a food processor and process till smooth. Combine pepper, zucchini mixture in a heavy bottom pot with sugar and pectin. Bring to a boil and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and ladle into sterile jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Quick tip: If you use canned squash, it will be mushy. Using a stick blender, puree the squash and add it to any sauce or soup, cook as you normally would (all canned foods should be heated for 20 minutes before eating). It is a great thickener and adds a really nice flavor to a dish without the mushiness.