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Types Of Squashes

Updated on October 22, 2011

Originally native of Central America and Mexico the species of the Cucurbita genus, more commonly known as squashes have been grown in particular areas of England, Europe, North America, India and Australia.

There are two specific categories of squashes:

  • Summer squashes
  • Winter squashes

Summer Squashes

Summer squashes are generally planted in early spring and once they are near maturity in early summer they are harvested and eaten throughout summer. Summer squashes mature quickly in comparison to winter squashes. Their skin is usually thin and soft depending on it maturity level.

They are harvested while the rind is edible and tender. Due to their premature harvest, their life span is quite limited. Although categorised as fruits they are also thought of as vegetables and used for those purposes.

Summer Squash
Summer Squash

These squashes, usually yellow in colour are used for decoration in salads because of their bright colour.

They are usually used in pasta dishes, made with boiled pasta, vegetables such as carrots, capsicum, tomatoes, stir fried potatoes, finely chopped garlic, chopped ginger and stir fried squashes.

Salt, pepper, turmeric powder and chilli powder is added to taste. Finally all of these are mixed and made into vegetable pasta. The dish can be garnished with chopped mint leaves or parsley leaves.

In salads they are tossed with different vegetables, sometimes even used as garnishing. Although they can be eaten raw, they are known best for their prominent taste in vegetable platters.

Some like to eat them with stir fries, whilst raw squashes maybe used to make pickles and chutneys. 

Different varieties of summer squashes are:

Yellow Summer Squash
Yellow Summer Squash
Yellow Crookneck Squash
Yellow Crookneck Squash

Yellow Summer Squash

It is a yellow coloured summer variety famously known as the 'Straightneck Squash'. The mild, watery and tender skin of the yellow summer squash is used for many different recipes.

Its taste is usually sweeter than most squashes and therefore is a great favourite in fruit salads.

Yellow Crookneck Squash

Famous for its yellow, scratchy, bumpy and roughly dented skin, this type of squash is more commonly used in vegetable platters as its’ skin gives a bitter gourd taste.

However, its’ flesh is sweet and juicy and therefore more commonly used as a relief for its’ bitter skin.

When harvested at the length of 6 inches it tastes better and is more likely to remain fresh, aromatic and delicious for a few months if stored properly.

Zucchini
Zucchini
Pattypan Squash
Pattypan Squash

Zucchini

This variety of squash is also known as Courgette and is quite similar in appearance to a ridged cucumber, this squash is usually green, yellow or light green in colours.

Pattypan Squash

This variety of squashes is known by various names such as White squash, Button Squash, Scallopini or Sunburst Squash.

For this variety of squash the distinctive features are small size, scalloped and rough edges and a shallow, round edge resembling a flying saucer. It has nutrients such as niacin, vitamins (A & C) and magnesium.

Winter Squashes

Winter squashes unlike their counterparts are allowed to mature fully before harvest. This is because before harvest they are raw and bitter in taste and as a result hard to digest and savor as a delicious fruit.

They are harvested once their skin has become hard and the rest of its flesh is sweet and tender and the squash becomes red in colour. This allows the seeds to mature too.

A few varieties of this particular species of squash are;

Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti Squash
Acorn Squash
Acorn Squash
Kabocha
Kabocha

Spaghetti Squash

It is sometimes also known as vegetable spaghetti, noodle squash and spaghetti marrow is a seed bearing subset of squashes which an oblong shape.

This type of squash may be found in different colours such as yellow, amber, ivory, orange, pumpkin colour and when not fully mature it is raw green.

Depending on its level of maturity the flesh oscillates between bright yellow, white, brown or orange in colour. The raw type is usually used to make pickles, although this is not usually a crowd favourite.

Acorn Squash

It is green in colour with longitudinal ridges and a tough outer skin.

Newer products made through artificial means like the Golden Acorn have obtained a variety from the colour yellow to darkish red almost purple colour.

Kabocha

It is a Japanese type of winter squash that resembles a squatted pumpkin at its best shape is a bumpy looking and hard skinned squash.

The skin colour is usually green however it may vary to yellow or mustard colour depending on the artificial means used to produce and grow it.

Other varieties of winter squashes vary from Turban squash to Calabaza and their distinctive features are their pointed and round shape respectively.

These fruits may seem tiresome when used to prepare different and interesting dishes however, they do taste good and make the dish look colourful and smell great too! 

Comments

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    • hassam profile imageAUTHOR

      hassam 

      7 years ago from Pakistan

      My pleasure! :)

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image

      Ultimate Hubber 

      7 years ago

      Didn't know that there were so many types of squashes. Thanks for the useful info!

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