Lemon squash are a type of yellow summer squash that are shaped rather like lemons. They're a variant of yellow crookneck squash or yellow straightneck squash, with a similar flavor and texture, and they can be used in the same ways.
What Are Lemon Squash?
Lemon squash, also known as lemon drop squash, are members of the squash family (Cucurbitaceae), specifically Cucurbita pepo, which also includes zucchini. If you're familiar with yellow crookneck squash, lemon squash are very similar, though with slightly thinner skin and a bit sweeter. It's considered an heirloom cultivar because it isn't grown on a large scale commercially, which means it isn't generally found at the supermarket.
Lemon squash skin is a creamy yellow color, and their tender flesh is slightly watery with an ivory-white color, few seeds, and mild flavor. They're best eaten when young, when they're about 2 to 5 inches in diameter, as their skin will thicken as they mature and their seeds will harden.
Lemon squash are very similar to another round summer squash, known as yellow eight-ball squash, or alternately, one-ball squash, a reference to the yellow one ball in billiards. In fact, the difference between the two is so subtle as to be almost nonexistent. But while one-ball squash are almost perfectly round, lemon squash have a slightly oblong shape that gives them a strong resemblance to their namesake citrus fruit.
Like all summer squash, lemon squash are ideal for sautéeing, baking, and grilling. The larger ones, which are slightly larger than an actual billiard ball, closer to a softball, are good for stuffing.
How to Cook With Lemon Squash
Lemon squash can be prepared much the same as other summer squash, namely, by sautéeing, stir-frying, baking, and grilling. But one of the things that is so unique about lemon squash is that its shape and size make it the perfect single-serving stuffed squash. If you've ever made stuffed peppers, this is pretty much the same thing, but using a hollowed-out squash instead.
To prepare stuffed lemon squash, preheat your oven to 350 F. Slice the stem end off the top of the squash, and scoop out the flesh and seeds inside. You should have what appears to be a hollow bowl. Some cooks like to steam the squash cut-side-down for around ten minutes to make scooping out the innards a bit easier, but this isn't strictly necessary for a summer squash.
Now, the types of fillings you can use for making stuffed lemon squash are virtually limitless, but ground meats, sausages, grains, legumes, vegetables, and breadcrumbs are all possibilities. You'd typically cook these items until done, combine and season the mixture, spoon it into the squash bowls, top with grated cheese, and then bake for about ten minutes, just long enough for the cheese to melt on top.
Other ideas for preparing lemon squash include battering and frying it, broiling it, or even slicing it into "noodles" using a spiralizer and serving as a pasta substitute or in salads.
What Do They Taste Like?
Lemon squash have a mild, slightly sweet, nutty flavor, with vegetal notes, similar to other yellow-skinned summer squash such as crookneck or straightneck, with a tender, watery texture. Despite their name, lemon squash don't taste particularly like lemons.
Lemon Squash Recipes
In addition to stuffing them, you can prepare lemon squash just like you would any other summer squash, and you can substitute them for practically any recipe that calls for summer squash, including zucchini, crookneck, and pattypan.
- Baked Zucchini With Tomatoes And Cheese
- Grilled Zucchini And Summer Squash
- Skillet Squash With Onions And Bacon
Where to Buy Lemon Squash
Since it's considered an heirloom cultivar, you're less likely to find lemon squash at the supermarket. However, by the end of June and early July, you might start seeing them at farmers' markets. They're also fairly easy to grow in home gardens and tend to be relatively prolific as compared with other summer squash.
Lemon squash can be stored in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to 10 days. Handle it gently as the thin skin is easily scratched and bruised. To freeze lemon squash, slice it and then blanch it for about 3 minutes, then drain, cool and freeze on a flat sheet pan before transferring to freezer bags.