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A better way to cook squash: Suggestions for satisfying the pickiest of eaters while avoiding soggy summer squash

By ALETHEA PRICE

The Kitchen Agent

Editor’s note: This is the first part of a two-part series about summer squash.

If you’ve visited a farmers market or a roadside stand lately, you know that summer squash has arrived. Summer squash always seems to be one of those things you can easily get enough of. It’s everywhere.

The best part about having an abundance of this bright colored veggie is that you can make many dishes out of it. Today, let’s talk more specifically about yellow squash.

Of the squash family, yellow squash is my least favorite. Don’t worry, I’ve not yet written it off, and you shouldn’t either. You’ve just got to re-introduce yourself to this summertime veggie. First off, this veggie is actually a fruit. Thanks biology for throwing us for a loop once again. Although it’s technically a fruit, I will be referring to yellow squash as a delicious vegetable from here on out.

When you’re trying to develop a taste for a vegetable, it’s important to figure out why you don’t like it in the first place. Time for some vegetable therapy. My dislike for yellow squash started when I was a kid and the only way it was ever served to me was absolutely cooked to death with onions. It was a soggy mess. If you have a similar issue with yellow squash, or any veggie for that matter, let me suggest preparing it differently. Steam it, roast it, microwave it, grill it or eat it raw. For those of you extremely picky eaters out there, try hiding it in another dish. I’d suggest the Mac and Cheese Surprise recipe at the end of this article. Before you get started in the kitchen, here’s what you need to know.

To store summer squash, harvest small squashes and place them, unwashed, in plastic bags in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Wash the squashes just before preparation. As with most vegetables, washing days in advance of preparation can shorten the shelf life of the squash. The storage life of summer squash is brief, so use within two to three days.

A few quick tips for preparing yellow squash include short cooking times and parmesan cheese. Throw some sliced yellow squash in a pan with some olive oil for just a couple of minute until slightly tender. Toss some garlic and pepper in there too. Top with a little parmesan cheese and enjoy.

Another super quick and tasty way to cook yellow squash is to microwave it. The trick is to just get it hot, not mushy. Wash, slice, and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes or until hot. Try some salt-free seasoning for a nice kick. Fresh or dried herbs make for great seasoning as well. Yellow squash plays well with others (seasonings that is) so feel free to mix and mingle with whatever herbs you like.

Next time you’re at the farmer’s market, pick up some yellow squash. It’s in season so there’s no better time to try something new.

If you have questions or comments about the column, or if you’d like more information feel free to contact me by email at thekitchenagent@gmail.com.