How to Eat Seasonally: Summer Squash

By | April 10, 2013

Summer is here in full swing.  Fourth of July has come and gone and the temperatures are sizzling!

There is nothing better for your body and soul than to eat with the seasons.  When we are in tune with Mother Nature, everything is in balance.  Digestion is smoother, energy soars, mood is calmer (making relationships more fun) and we have a general sense of well-being.

So what’s growing right now that will contribute to your vibrant health?

You simply can’t talk about summer produce without featuring summer squash.  It is in the height of its season showing off its best flavor and best prices. It is absolutely everywhere in your markets right now. With its soft shell and creamy white flesh, it takes just minutes to prepare and is a great summer addition to a truly Healthy Way of Eating.

Summer squash comes in a variety of sizes, colors and shapes and all parts of summer squash are edible: flesh, seeds, and skin.  It is healthiest when you eat all of those, so please don’t peel these beauties.  Some varieties of squash also produce edible flowers.

Summer squash are more fragile than it’s winter cousins and cannot be stored for long periods of time. However, they freeze very well in case you can’t resist buying a large quantity.  Simply slice and steam them for 3 minutes, cool and freeze!

What makes this item such a healthy addition to your menu?

They are loaded with antioxidants to help calm inflammation (the root of most health issues in this country!) They are an excellent source of manganese and vitamin C as well as a good source of vitamin A.

They also contain an unusual amount of other antioxidant nutrients, including  lutein and zeaxanthin – two big words that translate into the “eye health wonders”.  They are tauted to protect against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.  Move over carrots – you’re not the only game in town this summer!

Since the greatest concentration of antioxidants is in the skin and seeds, it is a good idea to buy organic summer squash.  That’s the best way to lower risk contaminants (like pesticides) on the skin of this vegetable. They are so abundant right now, that even organic varieties are very affordable.

So what do I do with summer squash once I get ‘em home?

There are countless recipes for summer squash.  You can steam, sauté, grill, bake, broil, grate or chop and add to salads, julienne and cook with sauce like pasta.  The list goes on and on.

But the one to try right now is my prize summer squash recipe.  Click here for my Creamy Yellow Squash Soup.  Yes, soup in the summer – even in this heat!  So many of us work in corporate offices that are freezing cold all day long.  This is a light soup that you can eat hot when your office feels like the North Pole or chilled at a picnic or barbeque.  However you eat it – you’re gonna’ love this.

Did you Know….?

-The largest summer squash recorded in 2012 was 69.5 inches long & weighed 65 pounds
-Zucchini has more potassium than a banana
-There’s a children’s band in Saratoga Springs, NY called “The Zucchini Brothers”
-Bigger isn’t always better (summer squash are tastier in small & medium sizes)

Look for next month’s feature food from your Digestive Diva and Natural Foods Chef.   Hint: Your guests will think you are a genius!

Wishing you cool, delicious meals!