The word “squash” comes from the Native American word, askutasquash, which means to eat raw, though most of today’s squash is cooked before eating. Squash is part of the cucurbit family, which also includes cucumbers, watermelon, and pumpkins. Most varieties of squash are native to North America, with some imported from South America.
References: Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.
TYPES, VARIETIES & CUTS
Squash is divided into two categories: winter and summer. Both are warm weather crops, with summer squash grown for fresh and winter squash often grown for storage over the winter.
Winter squash is often unsymmetrical or oddly shaped, have harder rinds for better storage, up to several months. Popular types of winter squash include acorn, spaghetti, butternut, buttercup, and hubbard.
Summer squash refers to squash that grows quickly and is harvested immature including zucchini, yellow (straightneck and crookneck), and scallop squash. These have softer rinds and are often eaten before full seed development when the flesh is still tender.
References: Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension, University of Illinois Extension.