piles of excess summer squash, yellow squash and zucchini

What to do with Excess Squash from the Garden

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Having an abundance of squash in the garden is a great problem to have! There are numerous ways to utilize excess squash from the garden, whether you have summer or winter varieties. We love using all the excess produce we grow.

What to do with Excess Squash from the Garden

Growing Squash is Easy

If you want more information on how to use everything you grow without canning, check out this great book.

Squash, with its versatility and rich nutrient content, can be incorporated into numerous family-friendly dishes. Whether you’re using butternut, acorn, spaghetti, yellow squash, patty pans or zucchini, there’s a recipe to satisfy every palate. Here are some excess squash recipes for families that span different cuisines and courses.

Squash is easy to grow. If you can combat the squash vine borers and then squash bugs, you’ll have a plentiful harvest! There are easy ways to pollinate squash by hand. And here are the best things to grow next to squash for the best harvest.

yellow squash growing on the vine in the garden

Health Benefits of Squash

Squash is healthy and offers various nutritional benefits, depending on the type of squash. Here are some general health benefits and nutritional highlights for common varieties of squash:

  1. Summer Squash (e.g., zucchini and yellow squash)
    • Low in Calories: One cup of sliced zucchini has about 20 calories, making it an excellent choice for those looking to reduce calorie intake.
    • Vitamins: Contains vitamin C, B vitamins, and vitamin K.
    • Minerals: Good source of potassium and manganese.
    • Antioxidants: Contains beneficial antioxidants.
    • Hydration: High water content helps keep you hydrated.
  2. Winter Squash (e.g., butternut, acorn, spaghetti, and pumpkin)
    • Calories: Generally higher in calories than summer squash, but still relatively low.
    • Vitamins: High in vitamins A (from beta-carotene), C, and some B vitamins.
    • Minerals: Contains potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
    • Dietary Fiber: A good source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and can help reduce cholesterol levels.
    • Antioxidants: Contains various antioxidants, including beta-carotene, which is beneficial for eye health.
  3. Seeds: The seeds of squash, like pumpkin seeds, are edible and are a good source of protein, healthy fats, and various minerals.

Including squash in your diet can contribute to overall health. As with any food, it’s best consumed as part of a balanced diet. It’s also worth noting that while squash is generally safe for most people to eat, those with certain allergies or sensitivities may need to be cautious.

What to Do with Too Much Squash

Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty on using up our bountiful squash harvest! There are so many ways you can use excess squash, let’s check out a few here:

  1. Cook and Freeze:
    • Steam, roast, or blanch squash, then freeze it in zip-lock bags or containers for later use in stews, casseroles, or side dishes.
  2. Pickling:
    • Especially popular for zucchini and other summer squashes, pickling can be a tasty way to preserve the squash. Use a basic pickling recipe with vinegar, sugar, salt, and pickling spices.
  3. Baking:
    • Make zucchini or pumpkin bread, muffins, pancakes, or brownies.
    • Spaghetti squash can be baked and the strands used as a pasta substitute.
  4. Soups and Stews:
    • Squash makes a delightful base for creamy soups or can be added as chunks in stews and curries.
  5. Stuffed Squash:
    • Especially for varieties like acorn or zucchini, stuff them with a mixture of grains, vegetables, and perhaps some protein like cheese or meat, then bake.
  6. Grilling:
    • Slice summer squash like zucchini lengthwise, brush with a little oil, season, and grill.
  7. Spiralize or Shred:
    • Turn zucchini into “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) using a spiralizer.
    • Shred and use in recipes, salads, or as a garnish.
  8. Dehydrate:
    • Use a dehydrator or low oven temperature to make zucchini or squash chips.
  9. Fermenting:
    • Similar to pickling, but uses a fermentation process to preserve the squash and can be great for gut health.

When dealing with an excess of any produce, it’s beneficial to mix preservation methods (like freezing, pickling, or fermenting) with immediate uses (like baking or cooking). This approach ensures you enjoy your squash both now and in the months to come!

piles of excess winter squash like butternut and acorn squash

What to Do with Excess Squash

Then we can’t forget a few more ways to use excess squash:

  • Share your bounty with neighbors, friends, or consider donating to local food banks or community kitchens.
  • Save the seeds from some of your best squash specimens to plant next year. For pumpkin and winter squashes, the seeds can also be roasted and eaten.
  • If all else fails and some of your squash go bad, don’t forget they can be composted.

Squash Recipes for Toddlers and Everyone Else

So let’s check out some recipes we can use for fresh squash:

Eggs are another great way to enjoy shredded squash. We love to put it in our fritattas and quiches. Here is a recipe for egg and potato casserole with zucchini shreds too.

spaghetti squash crack chicken

Spaghetti squash is a whole different animal. It has an amazing texture and makes a great substitute for pasta. We just LOVE it. It’s easy to grow in the garden and takes on any flavor you add to it. Here are some of our favorite spaghetti squash recipes:

And you can make a wonderful noodle replacement or sauce with squash, winter and summer. Here are some delicious pasta or pasta substitute recipes using squash:

Squash Pickles

I didn’t know until a few years ago anything about pickled squash but we make some refrigerator pickled squash and it’s amazing. The kids love it and devour it at every chance. If you don’t like the mushier texture of cooked squash, this is definitely a must-try for you! I just think it’s absolutely delicious!

Excess Squash Relish Recipes

summer squash soup in a bowl

Squash Soup Recipe

There are so many delicious squash soups. We love making soup from summer squash like these:

And of course, winter squashes make amazing soups as well. We usually go the creamy soup route with these squash:

Roasted Summer Squash

There is no better way to prepare any vegetable than roasting. We love roasted squash the best! Check out these recipes for roasted squash:

For more excess produce ideas, check these out:

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