The squash of summer
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
When purchasing plant seeds, a C-note goes a long way. I found this out in late April soon after a grateful house guest gifted me with a $100 credit for Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.
It didn’t seem like I was spending “real” money as my online order of Non-GMO seeds grew, and I may have gone a wee bit overboard. In addition to packets of flowers—asters, sunflowers, calendula, nasturtium, cosmos, marigolds, strawflower and poppies—I also ordered seeds so I could attempt to grow basil, green beans, beets, bok choy, lettuce, arugula, peas, radishes, cabbage, spinach, chard, and winter and summer squash.
That last line item is the one to pay attention to. Since the sky was the limit, I clicked “order” on golden zucchini, green bush zucchini, lemon squash, straightneck squash, and honey boat delicata. Never having grown squash from seed, I figured I’d give it a whirl and see what happened.
What happened is that my experiment was successful. I’m currently stocking the larder with four or five yellow and green zucchinis every day, and the number of viable specimens is growing by the minute. I’m obsessively hunting down recipes and adding the vining herbaceous plant to everything I can think of—from ground turkey tacos to omelets, pasta, spaghetti sauce and soup. Zucchini bread has been made. I’ve grilled and roasted the beauties. After a recent produce harvest, I conjured up a refreshing arugula salad with shaved zucchini, mint and basil leaves, parmesan cheese, fresh lemon juice and zest, and chopped pistachios.
Recipes I’ve recently been inspired by and hope to replicate in the near future include sheet pan ratatouille, zucchini parmesan crisps, zucchini ribbon pizza, Italian baked zucchini fries, lemony crab and zucchini pasta, taco-stuffed zucchini, and creamy zucchini potato soup. Condiment-wise, I’m looking into making the courgettes into relish or marmalade, pickling them, or following Julia Child’s easy-peasy instructions for zucchini butter as a way to use up more of the summer squash.
Zucchini fritters are also on my mind. Although I’ve made them before, it’s been a minute. Research confirms they’re still a crowd favorite, and there are approximately one million ways to cook them. I can add corn or carrots, make them gluten-free, put goat cheese on top, fry them, bake them, make smoked tomato sauce for a dip (although I’m thinking a lemony yogurt sauce sounds better), serve them with fresh tomatoes and Feta, add shrimp, make zucchini bacon fritters with avocado, or slap them between buns to make a burger.
The possibilities seem endless, but I have a backup plan if I get sick of the summer squash. National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day is on Sun., August 8, and if I’ve reached my limit by then, I’ll leave the house at dawn to “gift” my friends and neighbors with seasonal bounty. It’s the least I can do.