Squash Come in All Shapes, Sizes, and Varieties
With the passing of Labor Day, it is now time to embrace a new season: Autumn/Fall! Not only does it bring in some colder weather, but also a slew of tasty seasonal produce! One such mighty contender is the squash. In today’s blog, we’ll talk about the various kinds of this fruit. Plus, some easy dishes to make with them!
A Squad of Squash
A squash is part of the gourd family and is native to the Andes and Mesoamerica. They fall into two main groups:
- With annual or short-lived vines that require a more or less continuous water supply.
- Grows in zones that tolerate dry conditions.
Also, did you know that they are fruit? This is because fruit contain seeds and develop from the flowers of a plant. Conversely, vegetables are a plant’s roots, stems, or leaves. All types of squash have seeds and come from the flowering part of plants. Blossoms are the edible flowers that grow out of them.
Thus, they are fruit that comes in all shapes and sizes! Check out but a few of those varieties.
The Summer Variety
These squash grow on bushy plants and are perfect when they are small and tender. September is the perfect month to pick the end of this harvest.
- Zucchini. A staple of the grocery store, zucchini have a mild slightly sweet slight bitter flavour. Eating them promotes healthy digestion. What’s more, they can be used in a wide variety of recipes from pasta sauces to bread!
- Crookneck. Yellow, these fruits get their name from their rounded bottoms and curved necks. They have a creamy texture and contain more potassium than a large banana!
- Pattypan. Resembling squashed pumpkins, pattypan or “scallop” are lower in calories but high in vitamins and minerals.
- Cousa. Grown in the middle-East, these are hard to find unless you grow them yourself. Like others on this list, they are prepared any which way.
- Tatume. Heat-tolerant and fast-growers, tatume are sweet and flavourful!
- Tromboncino. Named after a trombone, these Italian heirlooms are firm and less seedy than other types.
The Winter Variety
These squash need a lot of room to stretch. In fact, their vines sprawl 10-15 feet in every direction. Depending on where you live, Autumn is the perfect time to harvest the first pickings of this fruit.
- Acorn. Shaped like (you guessed it) an acorn, this fruit is less sweet than other kinds and is typically prepared by removing the seeds and roasting it.
- Buttercup. Buttery-sweet, this variety makes for an excellent mash! Plus, the store well into late winter.
- Butternut. A staple of Autumn recipes, this squash has a recognisable sweet, earth taste. What’s more, they are an excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants — protecting your cells from damage.
- Delicata. Delicate like their namesake, this fruit takes a little like sweet potatoes. Unlike most other winter varieties, the rind is also edible.
- Pumpkin. Not only do pumpkins make excellent halloween decorations, but they are also an excellent source of potassium and vitamin C! Many recipes utilise its flesh and edible seeds.
- Kabocha. A staple of Japanese cuisine, this varieties has a flavour between a pumping and a potato.
- Spaghetti. Looking for a carb-free alternative to pasta? Try this type! Scraping out its cooked stringy-flesh creates spaghetti-like strands.
How to Use Them
Want to make the most out of the different kinds of squash? Well, you can use them in:
- Salads. Just roast with some spices and add to your favourite leafy greens.
- Casseroles and Tray-bakes. They perfect low-effort Autumn dish.
- Soups. Once cooked either blend, leave chunky, or strain for broth.
- Burgers. Mix with vegetables and grains for a meat-free alternative.
- Pasta. Butternut and ricotta make a wonderful tortellini stuffing!