What is Squash?

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What is Squash?
Squash is a type of vegetable that belongs to the Curcurbita family. There are four species of this vegetable type and they are said to be native to Central America and Mexico. The four species of squash are Curcurbita maxima, Curcurbita mixta, Curcurbita moschata, and Curcurbita pepo. Common known squashes such as pumpkins (including giant varieties), and zucchinis belong to the C. pepo family while the buttercup squash is an example of a C. maxima specie. Cushaw squash belong to the C. mixta family while butternut squashes are examples of the C. moschata specie.

In the US, people refer to squashes into two different types. These are summer and winter squashes. Summer squashes are typically grown in warmer states. These squash types are harvested without waiting for the fruit to mature and for the rind to harden. Examples of summer squashes include zucchini, scallop, pattypan, yellow straightneck and crookneck squashes. Summer squashes are said to be excellent sources of a variety nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin A, manganese, magnesium, fiber, potassium, calcium, B vitamins, niacin, and zinc.

Winter squashes on the other hand are squashes that are allowed to mature before being harvested. And since these squash types stay on their vines longer, the skin is usually hardened into a rind at the time of harvesting. Butternut squash, turban, pumpkin, acorn, and Hubbard are examples of winter squashes and are considered to have an edge over summer squahes in terms of nutritional content. Similar to summer squashes, winter squash varieties also contain vitamins A, B, and C, plus thiamin, folate, niacin, potassium, and copper.

Since squashes have high nutrient value, it is common to see a squash variety on diet plans and weight-loss recipe books. Squash is known to be a good source of dietary fiber and so people who are trying to eliminate some fat may get help from any squash variety. Squash also contains few calories and carbohydrates which is good news for dieters.

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