Guide to Summer Squash

These colorful squash are easy to grow, with the promise of a bumper crop.

Whether it's a backyard plot or a few planters on a balcony or fire escape, cooks with home gardens can savor the seasonal taste of just-harvested yellow squash and zucchini. With its swanlike neck, pale flesh, and mild taste, yellow squash and its long, straight, green cousin zucchini are perfect for blending with other ingredients or in simple preparations highlighting the taste of fresh herbs. Because they have a high water content, they don't require much cooking; raw, they add nice texture to a salad of greens or a crudités plate. In addition, yellow squash and zucchini are good sources of vitamins A and C, and fiber, as well.

If you have your own garden, you probably know you'll have an abundance of yellow squash and zucchini from early to late summer; you may see them in markets is some regions year round. Whether you're gathering them from the backyard or supermarket produce bins, though, choose smaller ones with bright-colored, blemish-free skins. Refrigerate in plastic bags for no more than five days.

A bumper crop of squash can challenge the inventiveness of the most dedicated cook. But here are some summer squash and zucchini recipes to get you started.