Veggies for Atkins
These nutrient-dense leaves are crisp and slightly bitter, and most people use them to make raw salads. Tiny baby squash can be used as appetizers, or left whole and sauteed with other vegetables. Click the image to view, print or save. Say YES to your health! I am offended by your introduction.
Health Benefits of Vegetables
Recommended varieties of summer squash include:. Cocozelle dark green overlaid with light green stripes; long, very slender fruit. Gold Rush AAS winner, deep gold color, superior fruit quality, a zucchini not a straightneck. Early Yellow Summer Crookneck classic open-pollinated crookneck; curved neck; warted; heavy yields. Early Prolific Straightneck standard open-pollinated straightneck, light cream color, attractive straight fruit.
White Bush Scallop old favorite Patty Pan type, very pale green when immature, very tender. Butter Blossom an open-pollinated variety selected for its large, firm male blossoms; fruit may be harvested like summer squash, but remove female blossoms for largest supply of male blossoms. Gourmet Globe hybrid; globe-shaped; dark green, with light stripes; delicious. Sun Drops hybrid, creamy yellow, unique oval shape, may be harvested as baby with blossoms attached.
Plant anytime after the danger of frost has passed, from early spring until midsummer. Some gardeners have two main plantings - one for early summer harvest and another for late summer and fall harvest. Sow two or three seeds 24 to 36 inches apart for single-plant production, or four or five seeds in hills 48 inches apart.
Cover one inch deep. When the plants are 2 to 3 inches tall, thin to one vigorous plant or no more than two or three plants per hill. Any well-drained garden soil produces excellent yields of summer squash. Certain mulches increase earliness and yields, because the roots are shallow. Because summer squash develop very rapidly after pollination, they are often picked when they are too large and overmature. They should be harvested when small and tender for best quality.
Most elongated varieties are picked when they are 2 inches or less in diameter and 6 to 8 inches long. Patty Pan types are harvested when they are 3 to 4 inches in diameter.
Slightly larger fruit may be salvaged by hollowing out and using them for stuffing. These larger fruits may also be grated for baking in breads and other items. Do not allow summer squash to become large, hard and seedy because they sap strength from the plant that could better be used to produce more young fruit. Pick oversized squash with developed seeds and hard skin and throw them away. Go over the plants every 1 or 2 days. Squash grow rapidly; especially in hot weather and are usually ready to pick within 4 to 8 days after flowering.
Although summer squash has both male and female flowers, only the female flowers produce fruits. Because the fruits are harvested when still immature, they bruise and scratch easily.
Handle with care and use immediately after picking. Be careful when picking summer squash, as the leafstalks and stems are prickly and can scratch and irritate unprotected hands and arms.
Use a sharp knife or pruning shears to harvest and wear gloves if possible. Some gardeners also pick the open male and female blossoms before the fruits develop. Especially the female blossoms, with tiny fruit attached, are a delicacy when dipped in a batter and fried. Cucumber beetles attack seedlings, vines and both immature and mature fruits. They can be controlled with a suggested insecticide applied weekly either as a spray or dust.
Be alert for an infestation of cucumber beetles in early September because these beetles can damage the mature fruits. For more information on cucumber beetles, see our feature in the Bug Review. Squash bugs attack vines as the fruit begin to set and increase in numbers through the late summer, when they can be quite damaging to maturing fruit. They hatch and travel in groups, which seem to travel in herds until they reach maturity. Using the proper insecticide when the numbers of this pest are still small minimizes damage.
For more information on squash bugs, see our feature in the Bug Review. Summer squash varieties can cross with one another, with acorn squash and with jack-o'-lantern pumpkins. Cross-pollination is not evident in the current crop, but the seed should not be sown for the following year. Summer squash does not cross with melons or cucumbers. Most people harvest summer squash too late. Like winter squash, summer squash is an edible gourd. Unlike winter squash, it is harvested at the immature stage.
Ideally, summer squash should be harvested at 6 to 8 inches in length. Pattypan and scallopini are ready when they measure about 3 to 4 inches in diameter or less. Tiny baby squash are delicious too. Large rock-hard squashes serve a better purpose on the compost heap than in the kitchen.
Cut the squash from the vine using a sharp knife or pruning shears to avoid damaging the plant. Summer squash vines are very prolific, the more harvest the greater the yield.
The most important characteristic to remember is that summer squash is best when immature, young and tender. In this section, summer squash varieties will be limited to zucchini, yellow squash crooked and straight , pattypan which is also call scalloped and scallopini.
Because summer squash is immature, the skin is very thin and susceptible to damage. The average family only needs to plant one or two of each variety. To store summer squash, harvest small squash and place, unwashed in plastic bags in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Wash the squash just before preparation.
As with most vegetables, water droplets promote decay during storage. The storage life of summer squash is brief, so use within two to three days. Squash blossoms are edible flowers, raw or cooked. Both summer and winter squash blossoms can be battered and fried in a little oil for a wonderful taste sensation. Harvest only the male blossoms unless the goal is to reduce production. Male blossoms are easily distinguished from the female blossoms. The stem of the male blossom is thin and trim.
The stem of the female blossom is very thick. At the base of the female flower below the petals is a small bulge, which is the developing squash. Always leave a few male blossoms on the vine for pollination purposes. There are always many more male flowers than female. Harvest only the male squash blossoms unless you are trying to reduce production. The female blossom can be harvested with a tiny squash growing at the end and used in recipes along with full blossoms.
Use the blossom of any variety of summer or winter squash in your favorite squash blossom recipe. Use pruning shears or a sharp knife to cut squash blossoms at midday when the petals are open, leaving one inch of stem. Gently rinse in a pan of cool water and store in ice water in the refrigerator until ready to use. The flowers can be stored for a few hours or up to 1 or 2 days. If you've never eaten squash blossoms, you are in for a treat.
A recipe for Stuffed Squash Blossoms is in the recipe portion of this section. Because summer squash is immature, they are considerably lower in nutritional value than their winter counterparts. Generally, there is little variation in nutritional value between varieties. The peel is where many of the nutrients hide, so never peel summer squash. Calories 16 Protein 1. Summer squash can be grilled, steamed, boiled, sauteed, fried or used in stir fry recipes.
They mix well with onions, tomatoes and okra in vegetable medleys. Summer squash can be used interchangeably in most recipes. Tiny baby squash can be used as appetizers, or left whole and sauteed with other vegetables. Don't waste male squash blossoms by leaving them in the garden. If you do not have the time or inclination to prepare them separately, toss them in the salad bowl or add to any squash preparation.
Canning is not recommended because the tender summer squash will simply turn to mush during processing, unless you are making pickles. Zucchini can be substituted for cucumbers in some pickle recipes.
The results are especially good in your favorite recipes for Bread and Butter Pickles. Blanch and freeze cubes or slices of summer squash or grate and freeze Zucchini, unblanched for making Zucchini bread. The best way to use over grown 10 to 12 inches zucchini is to grate it and use in zucchini bread.
Cut the squash in half lengthwise and cut away the seedy middle section. Imported blueberries also made the list at No. Sweet bell pepper This crunchy, yet thin-skinned, vegetable is highly susceptible to pesticides.
According to the EWG, sweet bell peppers showed traces of 63 types of pesticides. While some pesticides can be washed away, many still remain. Spinach, kale, collard greens These leafy green vegetables are on the Dirty Dozen list, with spinach loaded with 45 different kinds of pesticides and kale In , Dole recalled bagged baby spinach after multiple E.
Grapes imported These tiny fruit have extremely thin skins, allowing for easy absorption of pesticides. And think twice before buying imported wine. The grapes that go into the wine could be coming from vineyards that use too many pesticides. Potatoes Have you ever indulged in a potato skin at your favorite restaurant? You might want to think twice before eating the skin. This spud was highly laced with pesticides—36, according to the EWG—that are needed to prevent pests and diseases.
Cherries Cherries, like blueberries, strawberries, and peaches, have a thin coating of skin—often not enough to protect the fruit from harmful pesticides. Research showed cherries grown in the U. And, according to EWG, no samples were found to have more than one pesticide. Asparagus Asparagus also has fewer threats from insects and disease, so not many pesticides are needed.
Eggplant Its thick skin provides a natural defense against chemicals, pests, and diseases. Washing the outside skin before cutting also can prevent any dirt or residue from getting to the fleshy insides.