Sunday, August 24, 2014

Squash Season is Here, Lock Your Doors

If you have lived through a southern squash season, you have probably heard the joke about not leaving your car doors unlocked, for fear a gardening neighbor will deposit a bag filled with that fruit in your vehicle.  An abundant producer, summer squash presents gardeners with a challenge to keep the harvest in check.  Sneaky zucchini squash, with deep green flesh that matches the host plant, are adept at hiding in thick foliage until they emerge, huge and resembling baseball bats.  A versatile fruit that is delicious raw and cooked, summer squash produces beautiful edible blossoms.  Last week, Richard and I experimented with some squash blossoms attached to baby squash and found the results to be one of our favorite summer dishes.  Summer squash produces male and female blossoms.  Both are delicious, but only the female blossoms will form squash.

Helping hands (or paws) are welcome for squash harvests
Remove stamens inside squash blossoms before preparing them.  They are edible, but slightly bitter.  Ideally, squash blossoms should be harvested within hours of preparation and it is best to pick them in morning hours when they are fully open.  Always carefully check inside blossoms for honeybees and other pollinators!

Grilled Baby Squash with Blossoms

Clean several baby squash with attached blossoms, taking care to keep blossoms attached to fruit.
Stuff each blossom with a small amount of cheese and twist the end of the blossom to keep the cheese inside.  I used farmer's market goat cheese flavored with pimento and jalapeno peppers, but cream cheese or any soft cheese will work.
Brush the squash and blossoms with olive oil and season with salt and pepper or a seasoning blend.  I use Possum's Seasoning, a recipe developed by our friend, James Todd, III, that is available in local markets.
Over medium hot charcoal, grill the squash, turning once, for about three minutes.  The cheese will bubble inside the blossom and the fruit will be slightly crunchy.
Alternatively, the squash may be oven-baked, but the smoky flavor of wood charcoal is incredible. 

For more squash recipes, visit and click on the "Farm Fresh Recipes" tab.  The Trompe L'Oeil Oyster Stew recipe is one of my favorite ways to use lots of yellow summer squash and I can several jars of the soup base to enjoy when squash is not in season.

For now, during squash season, leave your car doors unlocked and hope for the best.  Perhaps an overwhelmed gardener will leave a sack of summer squash for you to enjoy.