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Publication #FCS8880

Florida Fresh: Summer Squash1

Claudia Peñuela2

Nutrition Facts

Summer squash in Florida are:

  • High in vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to heal cuts and keeps teeth and gums healthy.

  • High in vitamin A when left unpeeled. Vitamin A aids in normal vision, healthy skin, and protects against infections.

  • A good source of vitamin B6, which helps us metabolize protein.

  • Supplier of folate. Folate produces red blood cells and reduces a woman's risk of having a baby with certain brain or spinal cord birth defects.

  • Supplier of potassium, which helps to control blood pressure.

• Naturally free of fat, cholesterol, and low in sodium.

Note: Squash are divided into summer squash and winter squash. Florida produces more summer squash including zucchini (part of the summer squash family) and yellow.

Figure 1. 
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Why buy locally?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that the average farmers' market produce travels about 50 miles to its destination, compared to 2,000 miles for supermarket produce.

Buy locally and get these benefits:

  • Freshness and good nutrition. Fruits and vegetables harvested in their peak have better flavor and nutritional characteristics.

  • Social/cultural. Helps the community to be aware of the importance of agriculture.

  • Environmental. Protects the natural resources such as green space, wildlife, water, air, and soil.

  • Economic. Promotes local labor force.

Where are Florida's summer squash harvested?

Most of Florida's zucchini are grown in North Central Florida, while most of Florida's yellow squash are grown in West Central and South Florida. Summer squash adapts well to the warm climate. They should be harvested before they are fully mature.

When can you buy Florida summer squash?

You can buy Florida Summer squash from September through June. This is ten months out of the year!

Table 1. 

JAN

FEB

MAR

APR

MAY

JUN

JUL

AUG

SEPT

OCT

NOV

DEC

Select

  • Glossy deep green, slim, and cylindrical-shaped zucchini.

  • Bright yellow, bottle-shaped or cylindrical-shaped yellow squash.

  • Summer squash that are tender and firm with no soft spots.

  • Summer squash that are heavy for their size.

Figure 2. 
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Figure 3. 
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Florida Fresh Summer Squash: From Market to Table

Colorful Squash and Tomato Gratin

Yield: 6 Servings

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 shallots, chopped

1 Tbsp chopped basil, or 1 tsp dried

½ tsp salt and ½ tsp black pepper

2 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced lengthwise

2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise

3 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup dry bread crumbs

Olive oil for drizzling

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil an 8-inch square baking dish.

2. Spread the garlic, shallots, and basil in the bottom of the prepared dish. Add salt and pepper.

3. Slice the yellow squash, zucchini, and tomatoes in straight alternating layers, repeating until all the vegetables are used in the casserole.

4. Sprinkle the top with the cheese, then the bread crumbs. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.

5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition info per serving: Calories 95 cal; Total Fat 2 g; Cholesterol 2mg; Sodium 266 mg; Total Carbohydrates 18 g; Protein 6 g. Good source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C.

Adapted from: http://www.florida-agriculture.com/consumers/fnr/recipes/Vegetable-6140.html.

Zucchini Stir Fry

Yield: 4 Servings

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 medium onion

1 medium yellow squash

1 medium zucchini

1 medium red pepper

½ tsp black pepper

¼ tsp basil

¼ tsp oregano

  1. Peel the onion. Cut it into thin slices.

  2. Slice the yellow squash and zucchini into thin round pieces.

  3. Chop the red pepper into small pieces.

  4. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion slices, cook over medium heat for 1 minute.

5. Add the spices and stir a few times.

6. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes till vegetables are just tender.

Nutrition info per serving size (45g): Calories 70 cal; Total Fat 3.5 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 15 mg; Total Carbohydrates 8 g; Protein 2 g. Good source of Vitamin C.

Adapted from: Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Network, Website Recipes, The Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Program; and http://recipefinder.nal.usda.gov/index.php?mode=display&rec_id=464

Footnotes

1.

This document is FCS8880, one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. First published: August 2009. Reviewed, with minor revision: September 2012. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Claudia Peñuela, nutrition assistant-EFNEP, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences; Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.