Summer squash are coming in by the bushel to the Farmers Market right now and local farmers are eager to share the bounty. This week the Comox Valley Farmers Market will host ‘Squash Fest’ in celebration of the abundant health promoting veggie.
This is the fourth of the market’s year long series of ‘Food Fests’ and will feature tastings produced by As You Like It’s Laura Agnew, recipes, and activities for kids.
Stasia Hasumi, the events’ coordinator, is excited about the occasion.
“This month we are working in some activities for kids as well, market searches and squash identification, it’s a fun way to engage them with vegetables and include the whole family in the event,” she says.
Summer squash come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The most common are patti pans, zucchini, yellow squash and crookneck squash.
Health studies have shown several health benefits in summer squash varieties. They have been shown to prevent cataracts with carotenoids, fight cancer with powerful antioxidants, build blood and balance blood sugar with plenty of B vitamins, and protect your heart and intestine with anti-inflammatory properties. Many of these nutrients lie in the skin of the squash, so do leave the skin on when you cook them.
Regardless of variety, all parts of summer squash are edible, including the flesh, seeds and skin. Some varieties of squash also produce edible flowers. Unlike winter squash, summer squash are more fragile and cannot be stored for long periods of time unless frozen. When purchasing summer squash, look for ones that are heavy for their size and have shiny, unblemished rinds, and are of average size since those that are overly large may be fibrous, while those that are overly small may be inferior in flavour.
Summer squash is very fragile and should be handled with care as small punctures will lead to decay. It should be stored unwashed in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, where it will keep for about seven days.
— Comox Valley Farmers Market