The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

What to do with monster squash

Monster squashThe joke goes that July is the only month when you have to lock your car in [insert the name of your rural county here] or you'll return to find it full of zucchini.  Previously, I've rolled my eyes and held out my hand when told that tale of garden bounty, but for the first time in 2012, succession planting and variety selection have allowed us to defeat the squash vine borer and we're drowning under an ever expanding pile of summer squash.

We've done our best to eat the bounty (and have at least one great new recipe to share), have dried masses of the squash for the winter, but the inevitable finally happened --- monster squash!  In my gourmet opinion, a monster squash is any summer squash where the seeds have become more than a thin line within the flesh.  There are so many tender, young squash competing for my attention that I figure a monster squash isn't worth my culinary time.

Of course, the permaculture side of me isn't willing to let even a monster squash go to waste, and once I started thinking up purposes for our one monster squash, I wished I had a few dozen more.  Here are my top ideas:

Saving summer squash seeds

I saved the seeds from my monster crookneck squash and then gave the remains to the old girls, who asked for more.  What do you do with monster squash?

Our chicken waterer keeps the flock well hydrated after a hard day of scrounging for wild food.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Last year I found a recipe for zucchini pickles (bread and butter style). We found that if we split them, deseeded, quartered and then sliced them in pickle chip sized bites. They were very good. We also found a recipe for "chow chow" (a sweet pickle relish) that used zucchini. In each of these recipes we've had zucchini and yellow squash. Because they're cut up and immersed, they hold up well, but aren't tough.
Comment by Steph Sun Jul 3 09:43:39 2011
I should have added the obvious --- zucchini bread. We're not big fans of zucchini bread or pickles, but if we had a much more limited garden, we definitely would find some way to eat these monsters rather than passing them on. Even though they get tough, they're still probably a lot better for you than grocery store food. Probably I'd try baking them like winter squash first.
Comment by anna Sun Jul 3 09:59:54 2011
I have been known to scoop out the seeds and stuff the shell with seasoned rice (or whatever you like). Bake and cover with melted cheese. A great meatless dish option.
Comment by merryann Tue Jul 5 03:21:09 2011
That's a great idea! If our tomatoes were ripe already, I could see it being really good to fill the center with raw eggs and tomato sauce, then top with cheese --- the eggs would poach as the squash bakes.
Comment by anna Tue Jul 5 08:30:09 2011
I was going to suggest the same thing as above - halve lenthwise, scoop out the seeds, stuff, cover with grated cheese, and bake. We usually use a tasty mince or chilli as the stuffing, but a tomato sauce sounds good - I'll have to give that a try this summer.
Comment by Darren (Green Change) Wed Jul 13 22:10:42 2011
What's perfect about ripping out the center and baking it is that the seeds are the chickens' favorite part. :-) Looks like we'll have to try that sometime.
Comment by anna Thu Jul 14 06:24:57 2011
At the end of the summer, leave the squash on the vine till they turn hard and orange, then use them for fall decor!
Comment by Kimberly Martin Mon Oct 5 09:22:59 2020

I purposely overgrow my zucchini to make these family faves. Cut in half, scoop the guts, peel. I chop into something like celery stick shape and size. Then simmer in a big pot with frozen concentrated fruit juice usually mixed 1 can juice to 2 cans water (instead of 3). Add a little citric acid to brighten the flavors. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, then turn off heat and let them sit for a couple hours and absorb the flavors. Then dehydrate overnight. Gummy worms!! I can't keep up with my family's appetite for these.

It's about 1 can of juice per one monster zuc. I stain and reuse the water once, adding another can or two of juice. I typically do 2 circular dehydrator trays per monster.

Comment by Jen Tue Jul 27 20:07:37 2021
I took the advice here of cutting the big yellow squash the long way, scooping out the seeds, put a bit of olive oil on the outside and some oil on the inside, cracked 4 locally produced free range eggs into the opening, put cherry tomatoes sliced in half, garden grown oregano, chopped some spinach I bought at the no-chemical no-till farm I got the squash from, topped it with vegan mozzarella "cheese" shreds. Toasted some seeds (saved the rest for drying to grow next season) with real mineral salt and tossed the salted roasted seeds on top of the squash after I cooked each separately. It takes a good long while to bake (first I started at 375F, turned it up to 425 halfway to hurry it up, and it still took an hour to cook). Thank you all for your suggestion to bake and fill the hollow with tomato and "cheese" - it made an awesome delicious nutritious meal with roasted fingerling potatoes with fresh rosemary :-)
Comment by Leolabug Sun Sep 26 21:14:36 2021

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