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Belonging to the Cucurbita family, summer squash was cultivated originally as far back as 8,000 BC in Central Mexico and the eastern part of the US. Summer squash was especially useful for the native Americans as they could be dried and used for storage.
The different varieties include the unique patty pan squash, which resembles a flying saucer, long neck yellow summer squash, and elongated zucchini squash. Most people discard the seeds, rind and leaves; however, these are all edible and quite nutritious.
Summer squash contains some of the highest nutrients of all vegetables, mainly due to its high mineral content, which include copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and iron. This healthy vegetable also is loaded with lutein, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, E, K, B, thiamin, niacin and folate.
Some wonderful recipes for summer squash include casseroles, lasagna, omelets, dips and even desserts, such as zucchini bread; summer squash can also be eaten raw in salads, or roasted, baked, sauteed, or boiled, and will be a colorful addition to any dish. Adding bell peppers or herbs to your summer squash when roasting enhances the flavor, and since the taste and texture in most varieties of summer squash are quite similar, you can use them interchangeably. In Latin American summer squash is even made into candy!
One of the easier vegetables to grow, summer squash seeds can be planted in many different climates, but are generally planted from March to April and from May to June. Keep in mind when planting your St. Clare heirloom summer squash seeds, that they are quite prolific and you will most likely have an abundant harvest!
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