Burpee’s Butterstick. Dixie. Early Prolific. Early Summer. Multipik. Texas farmers are familiar with the names. These, according to Texas A&M, are varieties of yellow squash grown in Texas. Yellow squash, which comes in either crookneck or straightneck type, is a low-calorie, low-sugar, cholesterol-free food.
Yellow Squash Trivia
- It feels like Texas and squash (including yellow squash) are made for each other because there is no place in Texas where you can’t grow squash (including yellow squash). Just make sure the threat of frost has passed before planting your squash, ok?
- Yellow zucchini and yellow squash are not the same. If it is straight and the shape does not vary or change (from plump to slim) from end to end, it is yellow zucchini. If it has a round or fat bottom and the shape tapers towards the neck, it is a yellow squash.
- To peel or not to peel? Many people swear by cooking yellow squash unpeeled, believing that the skin is nutritious. Cookbooks on various cuisines, from Italian to Russian, do not require peeling yellow squash.
- Viana La Place, in the book Verdura: Vegetables Italian Style, wrote: “Do not peel summer squash. Simply wash well and rub with a clean dish towel. Run your fingers over the surface to make sure the skin is completely clean and free of grit.”
- Darra Goldstein, in the book A Taste of Russia: A Cookbook of Russian Hospitality, showed the readers how to make a yellow squash caviar. On the matter of peeling yellow squash or not, Goldstein wrote: “Do not peel the squash. Bake the squash for only 15 to 20 minutes in the oven.”
- Different but the same: these summer squashes are all of the same genus and species: zucchini, crookneck, pattypan, and yellow squash. Meg McAndrews Cowden, in the book Plant Grow Harvest Repeat: Grow a Bounty of Vegetables, Fruits, and Flowers by Mastering the Art of Succession Planting, wrote: “Be it a patty pan, crookneck, or traditional green zucchini, all are variants of the same species.”
Yellow Squash Buying Guide
The best choice when buying yellow squash are those with nice bright color. You might see some nicks and scratches, but that is ok, so long as the flesh inside remains unexposed.
When buying yellow squash, opt for small or medium-sized squash. When they get bigger, the seeds taste more bitter and the flesh becomes overly fibrous it becomes unpleasant to eat.
Choose those that feel firm when you squeeze it.
What not to buy: yellow squash that looks and feels soft and wet. A lot of wrinkled parts is also not a good sign. Like the name suggests, yellow squash is yellow, so if it is already brownish, it is not advisable to buy it.
Yellow Squash Production & Farming in Texas
Yellow squash is grown in Texas. Farmers begin planting yellow squash in the spring, once the danger of frost has passed. Like any other summer squash, yellow squash grows best when exposed to full sun. Mulching is encouraged to keep the soil moist. You can sow seeds directly on your garden, or transfer yellow squash grown on pots or containers.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals
Yellow squash, like other summer squashes, are a favorite target of many different pests. This is why pesticides are used when growing yellow squash.
- Aphids – Kill aphids using neem oil, insecticidal soap, or horticultural oil. You can also use the pesticide malathion, which is the most commonly used organophosphate insecticide in the United States, or rotenone, a selective, non-specific insecticide typically used in home gardens for insect control.
- Cucumber Beetles – The use of man-made pesticide carbaryl or Beauveria bassiana is the solution to rid of beetles.
- Cutworms – Pesticides such as carbaryl will kill cutworms attacking your yellow squash. Pyrethroid insecticides like cyfluthrin and the insecticide permethrin are also useful for this purpose.
- Leafminers – Use spinosad against leafminers.
- Spider mites – To get rid of spider mites, use neem oil and apply it through foliar spraying. It contains azadirachtin which is effective against spider mites. You can also use horticultural oil (which also targets aphids and thrips). Pests die after exposure to horticultural oil due to suffocation since the oil blocks the spiracles through which insects breathe. Another effect of horticultural oils is disrupting the metabolism of insect eggs. Lastly, horticultural oils disrupt the insect’s ability to feed. As a result, the insect starves to death. Using pyrethrin spray is also an effective method against spider mites. Another option is spinosad, a mixture of two chemicals called spinosyn A and spinosyn D typically used to control a wide variety of pests.
- Squash bugs – The use of man-made pesticide carbaryl is the solution to rid of squash bugs.
- Squash vine borers – Use man-made pesticide carbaryl, broad-spectrum, pyrethroid-based insecticides like permethrin, or the pyrethroid insecticide bifenthrin to rid your yellow squash of vine borers.
- Thrips – To kill thrips, there is a wide array of options to choose from: horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, anti-parasite spray spinosad, or pyrethrin pesticides with piperonyl butoxide.
Yellow squash is commonly grown in Texas, but when it comes to commercial production of yellow squash and other summer squashes, the top states are Florida and California.
In Florida, you’ll find farmers growing yellow squash for commercial market in the central and southern parts of the state. Some of the yellow squash varieties typically grown in Florida include Early Prolific Straightneck and Summer Crookneck.
Yellow squash grows in USDA hardiness zones 2 to 11.
Outside of the US, you can also find yellow squash grown in Russia and Central Asia for commercial market.
Yellow squash is usually sold without any type of packaging, primarily because its thick skin and rind already provide it with a layer of protection, keeping the flesh inside safe from any potential contamination while out on display. In some supermarkets or groceries, yellow squashes are covered with plastic wrap.
Enjoying Yellow Squashes
There’s a lot of ways to prepare yellow squash, but you can also eat it raw.
For those who can’t eat solid foods because of health and medical condition, there is another way to consume yellow squash. Believe it or not, yellow squash is also a great source of healthy vegetable juice. Stephen Blauer, in his book The Juicing Book: A Complete Guide to the Juicing of Fruits and Vegetables for Maximum Health, wrote: “Though summer squash varieties such as zucchini and yellow squash are not overly juicy , they make plenty of juice when put through a juicer.” The author also suggested to combine yellow squash juice with other juices because “by itself, it is quite bland tasting.”
When transporting and storing yellow squash, always be careful and keep it from bumping against hard or sharp objects or falling to the floor or getting scratched because the skin is delicate it is easily pierced. This is where decay begins, and you don’t want that for your yellow squash. Speaking of storing yellow squash, pick a cool, dry place inside the house.
Store whole, uncut, and dry yellow squash in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator. Make sure to put it in a plastic bag first. This way, you’ll have fresh yellow squash for two weeks. When it starts to shrivel and/or turn brown, your yellow squash has started to turn bad. Depending on the condition, you can still cook it or dispose it if you are not confident that it is still safe to eat.
If you want to freeze yellow squash, make sure to cut the squash into smaller pieces. Next, blanch your yellow squash and then put inside freezer bags. You can also freeze grated yellow squash. This is a great idea especially if you are using yellow squash for baking. Frozen slices, on the other hand, is great if you are making casserole or soup.
Canning as a means of preserving and storing yellow squash is also an option. But be warned: canned yellow squash will turn soft or mushy, and the best way to use it is for recipes that require pureed yellow squash.
There are many ways to cook yellow squash. You can boil it, steam it, roast it, grill it, bake it, or use it to make a casserole. You can sauté yellow squash with fresh herbs and top with panko and parmesan. You can use it as substitute for recipes that need zucchini. Use these ingredients when cooking yellow squash: olive oil, basil, thyme, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Abigail Gehring, in the book Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills, wrote how cooking yellow squash with onion is all it takes to bring out the delicious flavor of yellow squash. “The mild-flavored yellow squash can be transformed into an especially savory vegetable when cooked with its perfect companion, the lowly onion.”
You can make yellow squash bread and yellow squash muffin.
Remember, when you cook yellow squash, it loses some of the water content.
When preparing yellow squash for cooking, bear in mind that because of the yellow squash’s soft flesh, there are many ways you can cut it – halved, shaved to make squash ribbons, cut to make squash wedges or squash spears or in a shape of a coin or disc, diced, or grated.
Yellow squash contains fiber and water to help you feel full. Yellow squash also contains vitamins A, B, and C, folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium. It is also a good source of beta-carotene.