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Types of Squash Overview of the Varieties and Nutritional Value

 


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If you have ever wondered what a true American food is, you need look no further than the many types of squash that grow in the America's. Though many people think of squash as a vegetable, it is actually considered a fruit. A fruit is defined as such when the plant's seeds are contained inside, as in a tomato or grapes. Fans of squash refer to it as a vegetable for the simple reason that squash don't have a sweet flavor like most other fruits with which we are familiar with.

The name squash comes from the Nahahiganseck Sovereign Nation word askutasquash. The Nahahiganseck controlled areas in what we now consider New England and when translated the word means, “a green thing eaten raw. "

Squash Varieties

Though there is a vast array of squash types, they are typically categorized as either “winter" or “summer" squash, though both types can usually be purchased year round. The distinction between summer and winter squash is loosely determined by the season in which it is normally harvested. However, it is more accurate to group squash by how durable each type is. For example, summer squash bruise easily and have a very thin skin. When choosing summer squash, look for ones with skin that is tight and have no blemishes. If you prefer your squash sweet, choose smaller squash. An example of summer squash is zucchini. It should be noted that summer squash varieties don't store as well as winter varieties. They only last for a week or so when stored in the refrigerator before they begin to get soft and wrinkly.

Winter squash varieties are the warriors of the gourd family. Their skin is hard and thick and when trying to halve one you may need the help of hammer to give the knife some extra muscle. Winter squash can be kept from 1 to 3 months if they are stored in a cool, dark place. An acorn squash is an example of winter squash.

A Healthy Treat

Squash is not only versatile and delicious, but it packs a lot of nutrients as well. The calorie count typically is in the range of 50-125 calories depending upon the variety of squash for half of a cup serving. A single serving of squash supplies you with 20% if not more of the recommended daily allowance of vitamins C and A, potassium and magnesium. You may be surprised to find that the seeds of the squash are rich in vitamin E. Eating squash will also provide you with more than 10% of your daily recommended calcium intake. A squash is not only a great source of nutrients but it also tops the list when it comes to beta carotene as well as antioxidants.

There are numerous types of squash from which to choose from and each are a delicious way to add nutrition to your diet.

Find a list of squash recipes to start incorporating it into your diet today. Squash is only one of the delicious garden produce that can add nutrition to your diet. For optimum health benefits, start incorporating a number of garden recipes to your daily cooking routine!

Allen Burt is a business consultant and entrepreneur with passions and hobbies including cycling, skiing, triathlons, cooking, and travel.

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