Jerri’s Sautéed Yellow Squash

Yellow squash is one of the summer squashes, a cousin of zucchini and pattypan. There are straight and crookneck varieties. They taste the same to us and we use either for this recipe.

Yellow squash is native to the Americas. It grows well from Wisconsin to Florida, though the plants are very sensitive to frost. There are scores if not hundreds of recipes for fried, steamed or sautéed yellow squash. Jerri’s version is simple but colorful. She has been making it since we were married, and we are still hitched, so you know it’s good.

When we lived in Virginia we had to depend on friends to supply us with those pretty yellow fruits, but a couple of months after I dug up a piece of lawn behind our house in Kentucky, we had enough to share with our friends. A year or two later I became a squash fanatic. There are so many varieties of squash that it is easy to fall in love with the things.

It takes about ten minutes to put this side dish on your table, so give it a try when you need a vegetable with a mild but fresh flavor to complement the main dish on a busy day. Yellow squash also happens to have a lot of dietary fiber and is very high in vitamins A and C, so it’s good for you too.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups yellow squash
1/4 – 1/2 cup sliced onion
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
2 T olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

PROCEDURE:

Wash and chop the squash and onion and tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Heat the olive oil in a skillet or sauté pan, Sauté the onion until it is translucent, then add the squash, salt and pepper. Continue cooking for three or four minutes until the squash starts to become tender. Add the tomatoes and cook another minute or so until they release their juices.

Taste and adjust the seasoning.

NOTES: Choose squash that are one to two inches in diameter. Set larger ones aside for a Squash Casserole. Do not peel them, but remove the stem and blossom ends. You can use any kind of tomato. Grape tomatoes cut in half or larger varieties chopped into bite-sized pieces work equally well.

Jerri removes the outer layers from an onion, slices enough to make a generous quarter cup or more, then chops the slices into inch-long pieces.

The quantities in this recipe make two generous servings, but you can easily double or triple the amounts to produce enough to serve more guests.

Fresh Limeade

The frozen concentrated orange juice that we enjoy today was developed during World War II. The Florida Citrus Commission assembled a team of three researchers to improve the quality of processed orange products. The immediate goal was to produce a concentrated orange juice that would taste like fresh for the armed forces fighting in Europe and on islands in the Pacific Ocean. The long term goal was to sell more orange juice. The team succeeded at both.

C.D. Atkins, Edwin L. Moore and L. G. MacDowell discovered a way to produce a concentrated frozen orange juice that retained most of the flavor and much of the vitamin C of fresh juice. The work was done at a laboratory in Lakeland, Florida, provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, and the first major order for the new product was placed by the U.S. Army.

After a relatively slow start, retail sales of frozen concentrated orange juice from Florida Foods Corporation took off in 1949 when the company changed its name to Minute Maid in 1949 and hired Bing Crosby to croon its praises. The process developed by that team wanting to help the army provide “fresh” orange juice for the troops is used to make many other frozen juices we enjoy today.

Since my mother was an early adopter of new food products, we had juice made from stuff that looked like orange popsicles sometime in the early 1950’s, and I am pretty sure that we also had limeade made from stuff that looked like green popsicles before I left for college.

I’m not very particular about lemonade, but I still think that limeade made with fresh limes has a better flavor than even that made from premium quality concentrates. The secret seems to be the lime zest which produces a deep delicious lime flavor. You release that flavor by heating the zest in the sugar syrup. It takes a little time to grate the zest, but the results are worth it.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup water 
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups sugar
1 T lime zest
1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice 
6 cups cold water 
1 drop green food color

PROCEDURE:

Wash and dry at least eight limes. If they are small or not very juicy, you may need a dozen. Use a fine kitchen grater to remove the zest, the green outer layer of the rind, from several of them until you have a tablespoonful.

Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the sugar and the zest
until sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to a full boil. Remove the pan from the heat. Squeeze enough limes to collect a cup and a half of juice while the syrup is cooling. Pour the juice into a large container.

Mix in a cup of cold water to further cool the syrup and stir it into the juice. Add five more cups of cold water and a drop of green food color, stir well and refrigerate.

NOTES: It is easier to extract the juice from the limes if you microwave them a few seconds before squeezing them. I heat three limes at a time for thirty-five seconds in our microwave.

When I first made this limeade I thought that the zest would make the limeade look like it had some impurity in it, but I don’t even notice it. I stir the zest into the syrup with a fork and watch for any big pieces of rind that may have found their way into the syrup and remove them with the fork.

If you want to have the limeade ready to drink right away, melt some ice cubes into the juice and syrup when you add the water and pour the limeade over ice cubes in the glasses when you serve it.