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When buying summer squash, there are a couple of ways to make sure you choose the best vegetable. Early to late summer is the peak season for the squash, so try to buy during this time. Select squash with shiny, bright skin that is free of spots, bruises and cracks. A dull appearance is an indication that the squash is not fresh. Select a squash that is heavy for its size. An overly large squash tends to be too fibrous and bitter, and squash that is too small will lack flavor.
Summer squash are picked while immature and are best when eaten within a short time of picking. They are very perishable and should only be stored for four to five days. Store the squash in a perforated plastic bag and do not wash it until you are ready to use it. Handle your squash gently as it is easily damaged.
Summer squash have thin skin and do not require peeling before cooking. Instead, scrub your squash under running water to make sure it is clean. If the skin feels tough or gritty after washing you can peel it. Squash hold a lot of moisture and may require draining prior to cooking. To drain the squash, cut it into slices and place them on a shallow dish. Sprinkle the slices with salt and allow them to sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse the squash with cold water and pat dry. You can also evaporate some of the water by grilling or baking the squash. Try to avoid boiling your squash because it will become watery and lose flavor. If you must boil your squash, do not peel it and use as little water as possible. You can also add a little sweetener such as brown sugar, honey or maple syrup to your squash to produce a sweeter taste.