‘Zephyr’ is a straightneck summer squash. ‘Zephyr’ has a yellow stem end and is pale green at the blossom end. Faint white stripes run the length of this squash.
Zephyr is a hybrid of a yellow crookneck with a squash that is a cross between the Delicata and yellow Acorn squashes. It has a slightly bowed neck about 5 to 8 inches (13-20 cm) long. You can harvest ‘Zephyr’ at about 4 to 6 inches. ‘Zephyr’ is a firm, sweet-nutty flavored squash perfect for quick cooking
Grow. ‘Zephyr’ is a warm-season hybrid, has an open form or habit, and is ready for harvest about 54 frost-free days after sowing.
Choose. Select ‘Zephyr’ squashes that are still tender. Summer squashes that reach maturity will be drier with thicker skins. Choose firm, undamaged squashes with glossy skins free of cracks and blemishes. Select smaller to medium-sized specimens. Overly large squashes tend to be fibrous and bitter, and very small squashes can lack flavor.
Prepare. Before eating or cooking, wash and cut off both ends of the squash. Unless the skin is bitter, you do not have to peel tender squash.
Squash can be used whole, grated, halved, or cut into cubes, strips or slices. Trim the ends and cut into chunks or slice before cooking.
You can “drain” squash with high water content by cutting it into slices and arranging it in a shallow dish. Then sprinkle the slices uniformly with coarse salt and let drain for 20 to 30 minutes. Use a strainer and rinse the slices under cold running water, pat them dry, and proceed with your recipe.
Cook. Use raw tender squash as an addition to crudités trays and salads.
- Simmer until the flesh can be pierced easily with blade of knife. Whole or unpeeled squash should simmer for 10 to 20 minutes; pieces will cook in 5 to 10 minutes.
- Boil pieces cut into ½ to ¾ inch cubes; use little water; cook 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Boiling can make squash taste watery and detract from its flavor.
- Boil whole, unpeeled squash covered with water for about 1 hour. First poke holes in the squash with a fork.
- Steam halves, slices, or pieces on a steam rack in a large saucepan until tender, about 15 to 40 minutes.
- Sauté or stir-fry cut pieces coated with batter until the pieces are tender.
- Pan-fry or deep fat-fry cubes or slices coasted in a wet batter, dipped batter, or seasoned dry coating until the crust is golden brown.
Serve. Serve with tender squash alone or topped with plain or flavored butter or margarine or with white sauce.
Store. ‘Zephyr’ placed in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator will keep for about 1 week. Handle summer squash with care because it is easily damaged.
Summer squash can be frozen but the flesh will be softer when served. Cut the squash into slices and blanch for 2 minutes before freezing. Frozen squash will keep for 3 to 4 months.