Yellow, or Green?

It has been a great year for summer squash here. We have eaten it on a regular basis, and frozen quite a bit for later use. Much zucchini has gone into Chocolate Zucchini Smoothies, which have been a real guilt-free summer treat for me. And quite a bit has gone into my new favorite snack, Spelt Chocolate Zucchini Bread. We have also given a lot of it away to friends and neighbors, and donated some of it to our local food pantry and to the kitchen where I volunteer. The current tally sits at 108 pounds for the year, which has come from seven plants (counting the dual use Tatume). And the plants are still producing, though they have slowed a bit.

summer squashes

summer squashes

I am growing both yellow squash and zucchini this year. In the past I have also grown white, yellow and green pattypan squashes. The 2013 yellow varieties include Superpik, Gentry and Enterprise, and all of them perform consistently well for me here. The zucchini varieties are Partenon, Spineless Beauty, and Striata d’Italia, and all of those are proven performers here too. Striata d’Italia went in a batch of Zucchini and Tomato Bake I made the other day.

assembling the Zucchini and Tomato Bake

assembling the Zucchini and Tomato Bake

I have found over the years that not everyone is a fan of all kinds of summer squashes. When it comes time to give them away, some people are very specific about what they like. Many will eat only zucchini, for instance. Others prefer the yellow varieties. In my area, I do believe geography has a lot to do with it. For 25 years I lived across the river in Kentucky, and the preference down there was decidedly towards yellow squash. Ask a gardener which squash they planted, and the answer would most likely be either “straightneck” or “crookneck” (the two basic types of yellow squashes). Zucchini was grown, but it wasn’t the same as “squash”.

blanched zucchini ready for the freezer

blanched zucchini ready for the freezer

When I lived in Ky I had two neighbors that were originally from Alabama, and they both preferred yellow squash. They thought zucchini was something you made into bread, but that was about it. As a fairly young cook I was eager to learn about how to cook squash, so I quizzed both of them as to how they fixed yellow squash. Eva and Lisa gave me similar recipes, both involving bacon grease, sugar, salt and pepper. One added a bit of flour, the other didn’t. And both cooked it until nice and soft (some would say overcooked). I tried it both ways, and settled on the version without flour. I still make it that way today, and it is definitely a comfort food for me. I do sometimes dress it up a bit with onions, garlic, or chives, like the batch in the skillet in the below photo from last year (which was made from frozen squash), though these days I am more likely to use olive oil instead of bacon grease.

sauteed yellow squash with green garlic

sauteed yellow squash with green garlic

But after I retired and moved back across the river to Southern Indiana, I found yellow squash wasn’t quite so popular. Here zucchini seems to reign supreme. Check out this article from the University of Illinois Extension called Summer Squash and you will find 12 varieties of zucchini mentioned, but only 4 of yellow squash. But if you look at this article from NC State University titled Summer Squash Production, you will see that fully 18 different varieties of yellow squash are mentioned (including the three that I grow), but only 3 varieties of zucchini! So it does seem to be a regional thing. I’d love to cite an Indiana article on squash varieties for the home garden, but alas our state extension educators apparently can’t be bothered to publish anything that useful.

yellow squash ready for donation

yellow squash ready for donation

Of course there’s also the pattypan types, which I think have a different flavor than many other squashes. My mother loved the white pattypans (aka White Scalloped), and also a yellow variety called Sunburst (a 1985 All-America Selections winner). I grew pattypans especially for her, since my parents didn’t have a garden. Her favorite cooking method was very simple: cut up the squash, add a bit of water and a dab of butter, and cook until just tender. She also made a lot of squash casseroles, using any and all squashes. I haven’t grown pattypans in several years, though they do well here and are quite productive. Just thinking about the White Scalloped has made me hungry for their unique flavor! Maybe next year.

box of tomatoes

box of tomatoes

Squash isn’t the only game in town here right now. The tomatoes have started ripening, and I found enough of them to make a batch of Homemade Tomato Ketchup. I used a few ripe Jimmy Nardello peppers in there, along with some Red of Tropea onions. My wife has agreed to make a second batch of this once we have enough tomatoes for it. I’m guessing that won’t be long. The Jacob’s Cattle beans are also starting to mature. I will let them finish drying inside, given our usual humid weather conditions outside.

tomatoes, Jimmy Nardello peppers, Jacob's Cattle beans

tomatoes, Jimmy Nardello peppers, Jacob’s Cattle beans

cooking down the ketchup

cooking down the ketchup

And I was pleased a few days ago to find the first ripe melon, a green fleshed Galia type called Diplomat. I love these kind of melons, and this is the first time I’ve grown them here at HA, though I grew them at my old place. They were originally bred in Israel (from a honeydew/cantaloupe cross), and the Galia variety was named after the breeder’s daughter.  The Galia melons are known for their sweet green flesh and heady aroma. The whole kitchen was smelling heavenly after I brought this melon in! I’ve also got my favorite muskmelon Ambrosia growing, plus a Canary melon called Brilliant, both of which take a bit longer to ripen.

Diplomat melon

Diplomat melon

slice of Diplomat melon

slice of Diplomat melon

The Italian eggplants are also coming on now, and I got enough of them this week to make a batch of Grilled Eggplant Parmesan. This meatless casserole freezes well, and I think it is a good way to preserve eggplant, at least if you like the casserole like I do. My wife thought the grilled slices needed to be photographed, and so I did!

harvest of Italian eggplants

harvest of Italian eggplants

grilled eggplant ready for casserole

grilled eggplant ready for casserole

There’s no doubt that summer squash is a prolific garden performer. My wife often says we could feed the world if we planted more squash, and it’s hard for me to argue with that. I’m always on the lookout for ways to use squash in the kitchen, regardless of type or color. Whether your favorite summer squash is yellow or green, straightneck or crookneck, you can find out what other gardeners are growing by visiting Daphne’s Dandelions, where Daphne hosts the Harvest Monday series.

 

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14 Responses to Yellow, or Green?

  1. Jenny says:

    You have really great harvest of squashes, tomatoes and eggplants! And I can only wish for that melon as ours decided not to produce anything this year.
    Jenny recently posted…Harvest August 4thMy Profile

  2. Daphne says:

    Wow look at all that squash. I only plant three zucchinis every year and usually they are taken down by the vine borers. So I never get tons. I’m happy enough with that. This year though I planted late and foiled the borers with a row cover. The vines are just starting to produce now. I wonder what that will mean for my productions.

  3. Patsy says:

    I do envy your Indiana climate, it is the best for gardening I think! Your harvest as always is beautiful. I have to say, I grow both yellow squash and zucchini (when they deign to produce for me, which isn’t often) and I honestly have never noticed a real difference in taste. It’s just nice to mix up the colors!
    Patsy recently posted…Harvest MondayMy Profile

  4. Mark Willis says:

    Much as I appreciate the quality of those squashes, it is the box of mixed red and yellow tomatoes that really appeals to me! I hope the ketchup was as nice as it looks in your photo.
    Mark Willis recently posted…Harvest Monday – 5 August 2013My Profile

  5. What a nice looking harvest. I am a Hoosier transplanted to Southern California and I have a definite preference for yellow and patty pan squash. The skin of zucchini tastes bitter to me. I got one yellow zuke this year so far out of three plants. The yellow zuke was labeled a crookneck. None of them are producing. Don’t know why, but that seems typical for my bed in front. My favorite way of cooking summer squash is the Sicilian way. Slice and sauté briefly in olive oil with garlic, add parsley, a splash of basalmic vinegar and some Parmesan cheese at the end. Second favorite way is to cut them lengthwise, dip them in a marinade of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, olive oil and garlic powder and grill.
    Lou Murray’s Green World recently posted…Two months of harvestsMy Profile

  6. Mike R says:

    I once gave my sister some Sunburst pattypans that I grew. She said they had no flavor. I thought they had a great flavor. I’m guessing that if a group of people took a blind taste test of different squash varieties that they would not be able to tell the difference.
    Mike R recently posted…Monday Aug 5My Profile

    • Dave says:

      I am thinking the same thing! I do think the looks have much to do with it. Although I swear that the while scalloped tastes different. I will have to grow it next year and see!

  7. Barbie says:

    GREEN! Uh, the yellow gives my the willlies. LOL. Always overcooked and weird. Or raw and weird. I’ll stick with the ZUCHS. Prefferably with tomatoes. What a divine combination. Those two were meant for each other. YUM! I like it in muffins, too but the savory side is better.
    Barbie recently posted…Harvest Monday 8.5.13My Profile

  8. Michelle says:

    I’m a green zucchini fan and that’s about it, not that I won’t eat yellow squash or pattypan if it’s served to me, I just prefer zucchini. I guess all that variety is the reason you’ve harvested over 100 pounds (!!!) of summer squash so far. And I thought my zucchini harvests were, um, excessive. 🙂
    Michelle recently posted…Harvest Monday – August 5, 2013My Profile

  9. Sharon says:

    I love white pattypans, they do have a different flavour. last year I grew an italian heritage zucchini that is half green and half yellow, they were wonderful! Best of both worlds. love the look of your melon, have never succeeded with them. We are just going into spring (NZ) so I have all what you harvested to kook forward to.
    Sharon recently posted…Cauliflowers and Winter FlowersMy Profile

  10. Dave's SFG says:

    I don’t grow yellow squash because my wife won’t eat them, permanently scarred by her southern upbringing of endless squash casseroles. I do grow Sunburst patty pan and I think it is an excellent squash. The texture is smooth, almost buttery, and you can slice it thin and eat it with dips. Great just braised with a little butter. Waiting for my first zucchini to appear so I can make another batch of your Zucchini and Tomato Bake. My daughter raved about it.
    Dave’s SFG recently posted…Harvest Monday – 5 August 2013My Profile

  11. Norma Chang says:

    I like all squashes, except the solid green (color) zucchini, I find them to have a slight bitter taste.
    Norma Chang recently posted…Harvest Monday, August 5, 2013 – Tromboncino Squash, Chinese Long Beans, Black Soy Beans & CallalooMy Profile

  12. I vote yellow AND green. Actually, I love yellow squash, and have been lamenting that our gophers have enjoyed more of summer squash this year than we have. All of the yellow squash are gone, along with our Striata d’Italia too 🙁 I grow the yellow squash specifically for the zucchini pickles each summer, primarily for cosmetic reasons, as the yellow complements the turmeric in the brine. Looks like I may have to resort to green this year though. Evil rodents.
    Curbstone Valley Farm recently posted…Pluot & Frangipane TartMy Profile

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