8 Fun Facts About Squash
1.) Squash is a very old food crop. There is evidence of its cultivation going back at least 8,000 B.C in Central Mexico, Peru, and the Eastern United States. Squash (along with corn and beans) formed the staple diet of Mesoamerican Indians and made the creation of these empires possible.
2.) In addition to its food value, many squashes were grown to be used as containers when dried (mostly the gourd type).
Cucurbit is a term used to describe all members of the Cucurbitaceae family. In addition to squash, this includes cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, and gourds.
3.) Squash comes from the Narragansett Indian word “askutasquash.” This roughly translates into “eaten raw or uncooked.”
4.) Virtually, the entire squash plant is edible. The leaves, tendrils, shoots, stems, flowers, seeds, and fruit can be eaten.
Presidents Washington and Jefferson both grew squashes in their gardens.
5.) Squashes are commonly made into candies in Latin America.
6.) Squashes are generally categorized into two types by backyard gardeners. “Summer” squash types are fast maturing (fruit in ~50 days), have thin rinds that are usually eaten, cannot be stored for long periods (two weeks at best), and are generally picked when immature. “Winter” squash types take longer to mature (~100 days to maturity) have thick rinds that generally need to be peeled, are picked when completely mature and can be stored for several months.
7.) Sioux Indians would cut pumpkins into strips, dry them, and weave them into mats for sitting and sleeping.
8.) Squash contains a number of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron.