Our local food bank, the Sunshine Cupboard, is open once a month on the third Monday of the month. That's yesterday. I don't often have anything left in enough quantity to bring to the Food Bank, which is feeding 50 families at this time. But today I brought 31 small 12 ounce bags of mini squash medley from Sunday's and Monday's harvest. I could have sold them to Bon Appetit, but decided to donate instead. It's only once a month.
The photo shows the 12 varieties that I am growing this year. Actually there are 14 varieties, but 3 are plain green zucchini, and I haven't tried to distinguish which is which.
Patty Pan types (top left):
Starship (dark green), Sunburst (yellow), Peter Pan (pale green), Papaya Pear (yellow, shaped like the namesake fruits).
Top row - Round zucchini (top right):
Eight Ball (dark green), Floridor (yellow, looks like a lemon)
Bottom row - Zucchini:
Raven (dark green), Zephyr (yellow with green tip), Costata Romanesco (green stripes and ridges), Magda (light green, short, fat at the bottom), Butterstick (yellow), Sungreen, Cash Flow, and Revenue (medium green).
There are two more varieties that I like but didn't plant this year because I didn't have any more seeds: Geode is a round zucchini like Eight Ball, but a lighter green. Flying Saucer is pale yellow with green patches in the center, and points like a star.
My favorite of the ones that I am growing this year is Magda. It has a slightly sweeter flavor than the others. People are always asking if the different varieties taste different. They are all very similar in taste, though occasionally there are subtle differences.
The yellow varieties Sunburst and Zephyr are the most prolific varieties this year. Magda, Costata Romanesco , and Peter Pan are the slowest growing, and the least abundant. The quantity of each variety that I bring to market varies from year to year. Most produce about one fruit per hill per day, but the slow growing varieties may take two days or more for the fruit to reach my target harvest size.
Most of my seeds come from Johnny's Select Seed in Maine, and Territorial Seed in Oregon.
Many people look at these mini squash and ask, "What do you do with them?" We offer some preparation and serving suggestions:
- Rinse squash, cut off stem and any damaged spots. No need to peel.
-Steam or sauté whole, drizzle with oil or margarine & herbs.
-Grill whole, or cut into large chunks to grill on skewers
-Cut into chunks and stir fry in a tablespoon or two of oil with onion, garlic, peppers, eggplant chunks and/or corn. Add cherry tomatoes 2-4 minutes before the stir fry is ready.
-Sprinkle with oil and herbs; roast in the oven until tender.
-Marinate cooked or raw squash chunks in oil & vinegar or your favorite salad dressing and add to summer salads.
-Add chunks to lasagna or spaghetti sauce.
There you have it.