Squash Food Facts
The English word "squash" derives from askutasquash (literally "a green thing eaten raw"), a word from the Narragansett language, which was documented by Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, in his 1643 publication "A Key Into the Language of America". Similar words for squash exist in related languages of the Algonquian family such as Massachusett.
Though considered a vegetable in cooking, botanically speaking, squash is a fruit (being the receptacle for the plant's seeds), and not a vegetable.
In addition to the fruit, other parts of the plant are edible. Squash Seeds can be eaten directly, ground into paste, or (particularly for pumpkins) pressed for vegetable oil. The shoots, leaves, and tendrils can be eaten as greens. The blossoms are an important part of native American cooking and are also used in many other parts of the world.
Squash is available all year. Soft-skinned types should be smooth and glossy. Hard-shelled should have firm rinds. Refrigerate all soft-skinned types and use within a few days.
Firm rind variety should be stored at room temperature. Buy squash that are hard and heavy with a dull skin.
Varieties of summer squash include chayote, patty pan, yellow crookneck, yellow straightneck and zucchini.
Winter squash develops more beta carotene after being stored than it has immediately after picking.
The smallest squash are usually the tastiest.
Belly Bytes: Zucchini Squash