Gardening season is upon us. There is joy that comes from growing your own food. Even if you only have a few potted plants on a small patio, it can be very satisfying to grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Popular plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers can provide you with tasty ingredients for salads and food to snack on. Then you have the humble squash. Many gardeners grow summer squash because they are easy to grow and they usually are very prolific. But sometimes, there are too many squash and you may not know what to do with them. If you find yourself with too many summer squash, consider using the following tips to use them up so your hard work doesn’t go to waste.
Try new recipes and share what you have
Summer squash is great fried, sauteed, or grilled. But there is so much more you can do with it. A southern classic, the squash casserole, is a great addition to any get-together or cookout. You can also make squash fritters, squash noodles, and stuffed squash. Due to the mild flavor of most types of squash, you can also blend them up into sauces and hide them in baked goods to add nutrients to your foods. Non-gardening friends and family will likely appreciate it if you share your squash harvest. If you’ve already given away all you can, consider sharing it with your pets or livestock. Dogs can eat cooked squash in moderation and it does provide them with some fiber and other nutrients. Chickens, goats, and other livestock can also benefit from eating excess produce like squash. In most cases, you can feed it to them raw.
Preserve your squash
There are several ways to preserve squash so you can use them throughout the year until next summer’s harvest. When frozen the right way, squash can be used in many of the same ways as freshly picked ones. You can also pickle them or can them. With the right equipment, you can even dehydrate or freeze-dry your squash. If you want to keep fresh squash longer, you may want to consider growing some winter squash. They get a harder exterior, and when stored correctly, can last for months after harvest.
Summer squash are one of the easiest plants to grow and they are great for beginning gardeners. Even one plant can provide you with many pounds of produce. Summer squash are best when picked young and tender. If you want to preserve them for later use, be sure to do so soon after picking them to maintain their flavor. Because they are so mild and versatile, summer squash like crookneck squash and zucchini can be a great addition to any garden.