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What Is Squash?

What Is Squash?

Growing up, there are few vegetables which kids dread more than squash. And who could blame them, really? One bad encounter with a specific food is usually enough to scar someone for life. Every time they think of squash, they can probably only think of some overcooked, unrecognizable, mushy orange mass with its syrupy sweetness. But that’s a bit unfair, because there are so many varieties of squash that there just might be one out there that changes their minds. And cooked properly, they can be delicious.

Squash is generally divided into two categories: summer and winter. Familiar summer varieties include zucchini, crookneck, and pattypan. Summer squash have thin skins and small seeds that can be eaten, and their watery flesh which doesn’t require much cooking yields a fairly neutral flavor. They reach their peak between June and September, although the name can be misleading, as it is common to see some types, such as zucchini, year-round now in supermarkets. Look for those with vibrant skin free of any cuts or blemishes. (Photo courtesy of Stock.XCHNG/nkzs)

Familiar winter varieties include the now ubiquitous butternut squash, acorn squash, and spaghetti squash, as well as the newly introduced kabocha squash, a Japanese winter variety that resembles a green pumpkin and is becoming increasingly available in supermarkets. In contrast to summer squash, these have thick, tough skins and seeds, and solid flesh that holds up well to cooking for long periods. When shopping for winter squash, select ones that are hefty in size and have a hard, solid rind free from bruises. (Photo courtesy of Stock.XCHNG/alexiares)

All squash are generally low in fat and sodium, and are a good source of dietary fiber, the antioxidant beta carotene, potassium, and calcium. They are technically a fruit in the biological sense, since they are seed-bearing, and are members of the gourd family in the Western Hemisphere. Squash was eaten in Mexico as early as 5500 B.C., but this food has played an important role in many cultures around the world. The Romans believed that when eaten together with honey, squash could help ease digestion (it was probably all that fiber) while some Native Americans considered it to be one of the “Three Sisters,” a combination of crops that were mutually beneficial to each other — the other two being corn and beans. And of course, we take pumpkins and carve faces on them and give them life with candles.

This versatile and varied fruit is open to a variety of preparations; you can roast, grill, stuff, sauté, steam, stir-fry, and even deep-fry all kinds of squash. They can be incorporated into soups, salads, side dishes, main courses, and even breads, muffins, cakes, and pudding. The possibilities are nearly limitless; just use your imagination. (Photo courtesy of flickr/elana's pantry)

So give squash a second chance. They’re versatile, nutritious, and satisfying. And you may just decide that you like them after all.


What is Chayote Squash and What Do I Do With It?

What is Chayote Squash and What Do I Do With It? Chayote ( chai · ow · tei) Chayote, like the tomato, is technically a fruit although it is almost always prepared as a vegetable. This squash looks like a large, lumpy, unripe pear.

It has a color ranging from pale green to dark green with white flesh. Another favorite that we have discovered is cucamelons or Mexican Mouse Melons, these we grow each year at home.

Some varieties have a spiny texture to the skin while others are smooth but bumpy. While chayote can be eaten raw or cooked, it is more commonly cooked unless being served in a salad or as an appetizer.

Raw chayote drizzled with lemon or lime juice and a pinch of salt is a favourite snack in many Southern households. The skin is edible and full of nutrients so leave it on when preparing chayote.

Check out our new How-To section to learn more about unusual produce plus great ideas for the kitchen and home.


36 Irresistible and Easy Butternut Squash Recipes You Need to Make

These luscious butternut squash recipes will have you craving fall food all year long.

Summer has the best rep for the freshest of produce (hello, corn and tomatoes!), but autumn really serves up some solid fall fruits and vegetables, from apples to cauliflower to Brussels sprouts, and of course, the almighty squash. These butternut squash recipes prove (in our opinion) that it is the best of the winter gourds. Known for its creamy and seriously sweet interior, butternut squash makes for an epic mash, but it is also delicious as the star of any savory butternut squash recipe (bring on the Instant Pot risotto).

If you&rsquore intimidated by prepping this pear-shaped beast, don&rsquot worry! It&rsquos a lot easier to peel and slice than you think. And it makes for an easy, flavor-packed main for any weeknight dinner (move aside, spaghetti squash!). Whether you like it roasted, pureed into a luscious butternut squash soup, or baked in a cheesy lasagna, these butternut squash recipes will be real winners this fall. And before you dig in, follow our step-by-step guide to learn how to peel and cut butternut squash in a few easy steps so you can make it the star of your fall and winter dinner table.


What Does Opo Squash Taste Like?

When harvested at optimal length (not allowed to grow beyond about 15 inches), Opo squash has a very mild flavor &ndash similar to zucchini.

In fact, it&rsquos not uncommon to see it grated and used in quick bread and muffins just as North Americans use zucchini in quick bread and muffins.


WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR FRIED SQUASH

  • Yellow Squash (or Zucchini) – Yellow squash and zucchini are both summer squashes and if you’re a gardener, they’re likely growing together at the very same time. Conveniently, you don’t have to change a thing to this recipe if you’d like to fry both squash and zucchini at the same time, or even just zucchini! If you have extra squash in the garden, add SouthernYellow Squash Casserole to your list of must-make Southern dishes! It’s a sweet and savory casserole that comes together quickly and bakes up beautifully!
  • Whole Milk & Eggs – The mixture of milk and eggs is what keeps the dry coating in place.
  • Hot Sauce – This gives your Fried Squash a flavor oomph, but don’t have to worry about it adding too much heat. If you don’t have any on hand, you can leave it out altogether.
  • Canola Oil – A truly flavorless oil and perfect for frying!
  • Flour – Use only all-purpose flour for this recipe.
  • Cornmeal – We suggest using fine cornmeal for a less chewy and crispier texture. However, if you like that sort of thing, feel free to use medium-ground cornmeal/polenta instead.

WHY CORNMEAL AND FLOUR?

Rather than using just cornmeal or just flour, we suggest using both. A straight cornmeal batter can be unforgiving and chewy. Using flour in the mixture softens the bite, and makes for a much more pleasing, crunchy exterior.

This mix is almost identical to the batter on our Fried Green Tomatoes. If you’ve got both growing in the garden at the same time, double the recipe (except for the squash) and make a it a feast!


Defining a Squash

First of all, what exactly is a squash? The answer most people would give would probably be a vegetable. After all, it’s found next to other vegetables in the produce section of your local grocery store. In actuality, squash is a fruit. Because it contains seeds, squash is classified as a fruit though like the tomato, it is used as a vegetable when cooking. There are several varieties of squash, commonly placed into groups such as winter squash and summer squash. The use of seasons does not indicate when a particular type of squash is harvested, rather how long the fruit will keep. Summer squash is a variety that is less mature and smaller and should be eaten sooner, while winter squash is more mature and can be kept and eaten at a later date. Though most squash varieties can be found year-round, some have their peak months when they are considered the freshest. Familiar types of summer squash are zucchini and yellow squash, common winter types include spaghetti squash, acorn squash, and pumpkins.


How to Buy Kabocha Squash:

While available year round, kabocha squash’s true season is late summer to early fall. Look for it at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, your local Asian grocer, or at the farmers market. When picking out the perfect kabocha squash, the two most important factors to consider are color and weight. It should feel heavier than expected when lifted and the skin color should be a rich, deep green. Golden speckles and streaks across the exterior are also good indicators of ripeness.


Winter Squash

  • Despite their name, winter squash is a warm-weather crop, but get their name because they can be stored through the winter.
  • There are four species of winter squash—curbita pepo (acorn, spaghetti, and others), cucurbita moschata (calabaza and others), cucurbita mixta (butternut and others), and cucurbita maxima (hubbard, turban, banana, and others) with pumpkin varieties in all of them.
  • Winter squash have hard, thick skins and seeds, and are high in vitamins A and C, iron and riboflavin. The flesh is firmer than summer squash and requires longer cooking.
  • When selecting, look for squash that is heavy for their size and has a hard, deep-colored, blemish-free skin. Winter squash can be stored unrefrigerated but in a cool, dark place for a month or more.

WHAT IS CUCURBITA (SQUASH)?

Cucurbita is a type of herbaceous vine from the gourd family. There are a total of five different types of species grown across the world, all of which are edible. The delicious fruit which is normally a golden yellow or orange in color is known as squash, and regardless of the type all deliver large quantities of nutrients including vitamins A and C.

Many people often think of squash as a hearty winter meal, but there squash can be put into two categories – winter and summer squash. The different types of squash are defined by the types of ingredients used, those that are predominantly grown and harvested in the summer, are used to make summer squashes, and those that are harvested during the rest of the year make winter squashes.


Chayote Can Change Your Life

If you’ve never had chayote before, having some of these recipes can really change your mind. They can change the way you see certain foods.

Chayote can become something that you start to incorporate on a regular basis in your diet.

Doing this is not only going to improve your health, but it’s going to give your taste buds something to be happy about at all times.

All of these recipes are going to keep your taste buds guessing. Taste buds that are guessing are always going to be happy, especially when it comes to chayote recipes.

Welcome to The Daily Nutrition where our goal is to make food be the sidekick to your Super Hero day.