Season for Pattypan Squash April - August
Pattypan Squash Described
Up until now, you may have been more likely to gaze at this flying saucer-shaped squash in bewildermint than bring it home for gastronomical purposes. The Pattypan squash, also sometimes called the sunburst squash, white squash, scallopini or button squash, is a summer squash notable for its small size and other-worldly shape. It features skin that can either be pale green or golden yellow with cream-colored flesh that is often described as more dense and slightly sweeter than that of zucchini. Perhaps it's time to give this little guy a second gander.
How to Buy and Store Pattypan Squash
When searching for the best Pattypan, look for the smaller specimens, 2-3 inches in diameter (but not too small!), that are heavy for their size. The larger ones - while tempting to the eye - tend to be more fibrous. Opt for those with brightly-colored skins that are free from spots and bruises. Keep in mind that any small punctures will lead to decay fairly quickly. Unlike winter varieties, summer squashes are quite perishable and should be refrigerated for no more than 5 days before you use them.
How to Cook Pattypan Squash
Begin by washing your pattypan under cool running water and then cutting off both ends. It's up to you from there how you finagle the cutting of this oddly-shaped veggie. Or you can scoop out its insides and use the pattypan as a decorative container for other foods like a pilaf or couscous. Some people like to slice, coat and fry their pattypans until golden brown. In Polish cuisine they are pickled in sweet vinegar. Pattypan can be prepared in a variety of ways including steaming, baking, sautéing and deep-frying. Generally, anywhere you can use a zuchinni, a pattypan will do.
Health Benefits of Pattypan Squash
These little guys have a lot going for them. Pattypan squash is an excellent source of manganese and vitamin C and a very good source of magnesium, vitamin A (notably through its concentration of carotenoids, including beta-carotene), fiber, potassium, folate, copper, riboflavin and phosphorus. All of pattypan's nutrients combine to form a heart healthy, disease-preventing food, not to mention extremely diet-friendly fare. The antioxidants in pattypan work to keep free radicals at bay while its high fiber content helps excrete toxins from the body. Pattypan also contains nutrients that combat inflammation.
Why Buy Natural and Organic Pattypan Squash
What's On My Food reports that the USDA Pesticide Data Program found 41 pesticide residues on summer squash, many of which are known to be harmful to your health and that of the planet. And since we love the thin skins of a summer squash (besides, peeling is never fool proof), especially because it's so healthful, we say, purchase pattypan organically. That way, you avoid nasty chemicals and support farmers who make sustainability a priority. Not to mention that peeling one of these guys would be a huge hassle! And at the end of the day, organic just tastes better, doesn't it?