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Fresh Living

summer_squash_gratin.jpgI feel like I failed my farmer’s market this week.  One of the growers showed up with the most tender early summer squash–neon golden zucchini, green “regular” zucchini, yellow squash, and more.  I was overcome with excitement, as I am whenever I see the year’s “first” of anything. 

But all I walked away with was one tiny (perfect!) golden zucchini, like I was a scientist taking a specimen back to the lab.  Why, oh, why didn’t I grab an armful of the yellows and greens? 

Mind you, the single golden is just the right size for a simple frittata, or just chunked up into a salad.  So I’m not worried.  But next week, look out!  I’m going straight to Heidi Swanson’s delectable-looking summer squash gratin recipe (click the link or the image, above) to try to recreate its creamy, crunchy, bubbly glory.

Why are squash so exciting?  Two immediate reasons leap to mind:

1.  They’re easy to grow.  Other than some minor annoyances like the “sounds-worse-than-it-is” condition called powdery mildew, squashes grow quick, and prolifically (sometimes too prolifically!).  So you can make zucchini bread, grilled zucchini, and three of these gratins in a week in high summer.  By the way, easy-to-grow also means easy-to-eat-locally.  And don’t veggies always taste better when they didn’t have to travel far to get to your plate?

2.  They’re healthy.  Squash contain plenty of water, which makes them hydrating and good vehicles for vitamin delivery.  Their green and yellow colors also give away their nutritional value (they’re high in manganese, vitamin C, vitamin A, and dietary fiber).  They’re also low-cal and easy to prepare without major fat additions (the above gratin notwithstanding).  So chow down!

What’s your favorite way to enjoy summer squash?

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