Crookneck squash is a type of summer squash with a classically crooked shape and a rich yellow rind. They can be used interchangeably with other types of summer squash, such as zucchini, in a variety of recipes. In addition to being available in many markets during the summer, crookneck, or yellow squash can also easily be grown at home almost everywhere, as long as the summer is reasonably warm. In extremely warm climates, crookneck squash may be induced into growing year round.
The classic yellow squash has a bulbous shape with intensely warty yellow skin. When the bumpy squash is cut open, it reveals pale yellow flesh and seeds. The entire squash, including seeds and skin, is edible, and it has a sweet, slightly nutty flavor. Crookneck tends to taste more like winter squash than some other summer varieties, making it a good choice for summer grilling, gratins, and similar dishes. It can also be eaten raw, and can lend a nice texture to salads when grated.
As a vegetable, crookneck squash is a great nutritional choice. It is high in fiber and vitamin C, and has calories. The rich flavor makes it a great filler in a wide range of dishes, and it is also great on its own or as a side dish. Many other squashes also share these traits, so learning some squash recipes is a great idea for people who are trying to eat healthy.
To pick out a yellow squash in the store, look for a firm specimen with glossy skin which feels heavy for its size. Some varieties of crookneck squash are smooth, while others have the familiar warty appearance. In either case, avoid a squash which is too large, as it may be woody and tasteless. A very small squash also tends to be rather bland, so seek out a nice medium-sized squash. The squash will keep for up to four days under refrigeration.
To grow crookneck squash, clear a sunny spot in the garden and enrich the soil with compost and mulch so that it will drain well and provide lots of nutrition to the squash. Plant seedlings out after the last risk of frost, and keep them well watered but not saturated. The squash blossoms are also perfectly edible, although try to avoid over harvesting them as you will end up with fewer squash. Pick the squash when they are about six inches (15 centimeters) long.