Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Squash, Squash and MORE Squash

If you have a squash plant I am sure that you are enjoying the abundance of food that these hardy plants produce. We have 2 Crookneck and 2 Zucchini plants and have shared quite a bit of the harvest with family and friends and it still seems that we have more then enough to eat. It can be hard to come up with new ways to prepare and eat the squash, so I thought that I would share some of the ways that we have been enjoying our summer squash.

Grilled: This is the easiest and most common way we eat it. We cut them into long strips about 1/4inch thick and brush both sides with olive oil and add a few of our favorite spices; salt, pepper, garlic, Italian seasoning, etc.. We then throw then on the grill with whatever meat we are cooking that night….YUMMY! If you don’t have a BBQ you could just put them on a cookie sheet and broil them on the oven.

Stuffed: Last week was our first attempt at Stuffed Zucchini. I searched online for a recipe that called for ingredients that I had at home to save me a trip to the store. I found this one on and gave it a try. It turned out pretty good and I am sure that we will be having stuffed zucchini again.  For this you will want your Zuchinni a little larger. We let ours grow about 12 inches.

Kabobs: We also added some cubed squash to some teriyaki chicken kabobs that we had the other night. Both varieties went well with the bell peppers, mushrooms, onion and pineapples that were on the kabobs.

Tonight I am going to give this Pesto Chicken Grill Packets recipe at try that I found on I am really excited about this one as we have most of the ingredients in our garden and we love pesto.

Later this week,  I am also going to try some zucchini bread. Do you have any recipes you would recommend?

Below is a SQUASH FAQ's that we go from Bonnie Plants. This is a quick  and easy to use website that visit often to get information about the plabts tha we are growing.  

FAQ's for Squash

What causes a healthy-looking plant to fail to produce squash or to produce small squash that quickly rot?
This could be a pollination problem. The female flower must be properly pollinated for healthy fruit to form, so be sure that you haven't done any spraying to harm bees. Are your plants under row covers where bees can't reach them?

Also, be aware that under moist conditions sometimes the little fruit coming along behind the flower rots along with the flower. If this is the case, you can clean old blooms off developing fruit as you are out harvesting, or wait for the weather to dry out a bit.

When should zucchini be harvested? What about yellow squash?
Harvest when fruit is young and measures no more than 8 inches in length. Check plants every other day at the peak of production and never leave any on the vine, even if they are too big and tough to eat. This saps energy and will signal the plant to stop producing.

Yellow squash (crookneck and straightneck) can grow up to 10 inches long, but don't let them. They taste best when harvested young. Pick squash between 4 to 6 inches in length to ensure tenderness.

How much of the stem should I cut when picking squash?
With winter squashes (acorn, butternut, hubbard) it's important to cut so that the fruit has an inch or two of stem to prevent rot in weeks of storage. With summer squash (yellow squash and zucchini), it doesn't matter because you will use the squash soon. However, it is important not to yank or rip the fruit from the plant. Cut it from the vine with a knife or shears so that the plant is not injured. These plants will continue producing for a while if healthy.

How can blossom drop be prevented in squash? Is there a deficiency in the soil?
The blossom drop that you see is probably the male flower, which is intended to dry up and fall off. Only the female bloom produces fruit. You can tell the difference in the flowers by their stems. The male stem is thin, while the female stem is swollen; that is where the fruit will grow. All squash plants have both male and female flowers.

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