Tomatoes and corn always grab the headlines at the farmers market, but don’t sleep on summer squash. Also called zucchini, summer squash comes in many varieties in our area, each with its own unique characteristic color and flavor. My first summer squash tryst came in Italy, where the locals would fry it up in olive oil and add a touch of salt (still my favorite way to eat it!). But there are many ways to enjoy summer squash! McCarren Park and Carroll Gardens Greenmarket manager Chelsea Whittaker was generous enough to give us a little more info on this cool summertime veggie:
“The difference between summer squash and winter squash is the skin. Winter squash is more mature, meaning the squash is allowed to stay on the vine for as long as possible until it develops a thick skin which is usually peeled before eating. Summer squash, on the other hand, has very thin skin and will rot if kept on the vine. This skin is full of beta-carotene and flavor, so it should NOT be peeled. Summer squash comes in different varieties but most people just look for the long green and yellow zucchini. I like to use the baby or smaller summer squash because I find that it is more tender and has smaller seeds. Summer squash is also extremely versatile in cooking: you can eat it raw in salads, cook it on the grill, add it to pasta, put it in baked goods, or even make fritters (my favorite!). The blossoms from the summer squash can be cut up and added to dishes or stuffed with cheese and fried.”
There are many varieties of squash at the farmers markets right now, so if you’re thinking of adding something fresh to your ‘sup’ be sure to head to one of your local markets this weekend!