Posted on | September 6, 2015 | 2 Comments
This is how we are, people. It’s true. We want, but we don’t appreciate. We waste, and then act surprised when it’s gone. The first squash of the season was a delectable thrill. The blinding yellow of the crookneck and sunburst, the pure white scallop, the endless shades of green and grey. The first taste of summer’s upcoming bounty.
We started with sautés and then moved into our tried and true favorites—grilled and drizzled with olive oil, roasted with butter and garlic, zucchini bread, squash casserole, fritters. We fought valiantly with squash bugs and picked early and often to ensure a prolific crop. When the harvest was sufficiently established, we began to share with friends and family. When it was abundant, we carried the extra to neighbors and co-workers. When it became overwhelming, no one was allowed to leave the property without an armload of squash.
Eventually we were simply picking squash for the goats, pigs, and chickens. Because no one else would eat it. We stopped spraying for pests and considered the plants to be a trap crop—-keeping squash bugs safely away from the rest of the burgeoning garden produce. When the plants withered and died in the middle of July it was like a reprieve.
Until it wasn’t.
Eggplants and peppers and, of course, tomatoes were pouring in.
There were three types of beans, two varieties of tomatillos, and okra pods that grew inches overnight.
Everything was bold and crisp, juicy and flavorful. The mild and tender taste of squash, unassuming and adaptable, was lost in the vibrant heat of summer. So I did what anyone who enjoys the advantage of a long growing season would do. I started again. I turned over the row, buried some seeds, and, without even adding any compost to the dried out soil, voilà.
In 45 days, the squash plants were back in business.
Pic-N-Pic was unstoppable.
And the zucchini got so far ahead of me, some of the larger ones would have to be given to my English co-worker as marrow.
But I was determined not to complain and not to take it for granted. I branched out into Yellow Squash and Corn Saute and Garlic Parmesan Yellow Squash Chips. The Creamed Zucchini with Garlic and Basil got bonus points for using up some of the basil in the herb bed. The Parmesan Zucchini and Spaghetti Squash with Pine Nuts recipe received extra credit for using the spaghetti squash The Other Half got tricked into bringing home from a co-worker. (Sucker.) Although I admit that I added bacon bits to it. Because my family finds a vegetarian meal to be much more filling when served with a hearty bread. Or with meat. I picked up some parchment paper to try the Healthy Zucchini Soft Taco “Tortilla” Shells. Which I also intend to fill with meat. And to pass off as regular ol’ homemade tortillas. Sometimes an explanation of dinner ingredients is just asking for rejection.
It’s true that some of my squash experimentation was a wonderful excuse to spend the dog days of summer sipping tea while browsing through Pinterest. But I like to think some of it came from appreciating what I have and wanting what I’ve got. Enjoying the abundance instead of tossing it aside.
Also, it’s a great way to avoid the hot, steamy, cluttered, and messy work of canning the tomatoes.
Jeez. When are those plants gonna quit already?!