In the summertime, you may find yourself canning or freezing garden vegetables in preparation for winter. One vegetable garden favorite is squash. It is a great summer vegetable that has natural antioxidants that will keep your body at its best. Consuming a diet that meets your daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to give your body a strong defense against disease. Squash is a vegetable that is divided into two types: summer and winter. The most common summer squashes are zucchini and yellow squash. Squash is a good source of beta carotene which helps improve eye and skin health and protect against infections. Squash is also low in calories, fat, and cholesterol and is a good source of fiber, vitamin C and vitamin B6.
Summer squashes can be served raw with your favorite low-fat dip or in salads. Squash can be sautéed, steamed, baked or grilled, and is always great when added to casseroles, soups, and breads. When purchasing squash, look for those that are tender and well developed and firm. They should be glossy and have vibrant color, as well as intact skin that is neither hard nor tough. Summer squash will lose its quality when held in warm or hot temperatures. It can be kept for a week if stored in the refrigerator.
Preserving squash is an easy process. When freezing, choose young squash with tender skin. Wash and cut the vegetable into slices that are half of an inch thick. Then cook or blanch the slices in boiling water for two minutes. Drain the squash and then cool it in ice water immediately after draining. Drain the produce from the ice water and then package it in freezer bags, leaving half of an inch of space at the top. Seal the bag and then place it in a freezer. The following Summer Veggies with Bowtie Pasta recipe is a great way to prepare summer squash. Enjoy!
Heat 2 teaspoons of canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced squash, sliced zucchini, sliced baby carrots, chopped cabbage, chopped green onions and sliced bell pepper. Stir vegetables in skillet. Place a lid on the skillet and cook vegetables until tender, stirring occasionally. While vegetables are cooking, prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain cooked pasta and add to skillet with vegetables. Add soy sauce to pasta and vegetables and stir. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over veggies and pasta before serving.
This recipe makes 8 servings. Nutritional information: 250 calories per serving, 4 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 220 milligrams sodium, 49 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 6 grams total sugar, 0 grams added sugar, 11 grams protein, 0 percent vitamin D, 6 percent calcium, 15 percent iron, 15 percent potassium.
This article is referenced by USDA and LSU AgCenter publication 1897.
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