As a vegetable gardener, I am very familiar with that time every summer when the garden suddenly is bursting with produce of all kinds. It comes quicker than it can possibly be used, but so much effort, sweat, and backaches have gone into the production of the veggies that the gardener is loathe to let even one fruit slip through the cracks. And so the search is on for recipes and ways to use up or to preserve the produce.
This week in my garden, it's been the squash, especially the zucchini, that has been coming fast and furious. Anyone who has ever grown zucchini will understand very well what I mean. The fruits come on in a rush and they can grow to gigantic proportions almost overnight.
In some years the squash borers, an insidious insect that destroys the stalk of the squash plant and thus its life, get to the plants before they have a chance to produce very much - or sometimes, any - fruit. But, for whatever reason, perhaps our colder than usual winter, the squash borers are so far absent this year and the squash plants are lush and green and full of fruit.
Thus, most days now find me in the kitchen, cooking up one squash recipe or another. I've canned three batches of Zucchini Relish. If my family has nothing else to eat next winter, we should at least be well-stocked with relish. Now, I've moved on to other squash recipes. Tonight, I'm making loaves of Spicy Zucchini Nut Bread. Later, I'm planning to make some of this batter into muffins for freezing. Thus, we should have some tasty breakfast muffins ready for the microwave. Tomorrow part of our lunch is going to be Squash Cornbread.
We've eaten squash stir-fried, baked, steamed, and in soups. So far, I haven't batter-fried any, even though that may be our favorite way to eat it. That's a labor-intensive way of cooking the stuff that I avoid, even though I like the result. At some point, though, before the crop runs out, I expect I will even be batter-fying squash.
Now, I like squash, but I have to admit at this point that I'm getting just a bit tired of it. As the latest basketful of large dark green and yellow fruits was brought into the kitchen this afternoon, I could only groan. My cooking ingenuity is being sorely tested. One could even say that it is being - er - squashed.