Squashes are native to Mexico and Central America, where they may have been first cultivated 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. They are one of the “Three Sisters” of traditional American cuisine.
Summer squashes, including zucchini (also known as courgette), pattypan, and yellow crookneck are harvested during the growing season, while the skin is still soft and the fruit is small; they are eaten almost immediately and require little to no cooking.
Winter squashes (such as butternut, Hubbard, buttercup, ambercup, acorn, spaghetti squash and pumpkin) are harvested at maturity, generally the end of summer, cured to further harden the skin, and stored in a cool place for eating later. Winter squash were an especially important crop for the Wampanoag Indians in New England because they could be stored through the winter.
In addition to the fruit, other parts of the plant are edible. Squash seeds can be eaten directly, ground into paste, meal, “nut” butter, or even flour. The shoots, leaves, and tendrils can be eaten as greens. The blossoms are an important part of native American cooking, and are also used in many other parts of the world. Both the male and female blossoms can be harvested pre- or mid-flower.
Squash can be served raw or cooked. It is low in fat, very low in sodium, and contains no cholesterol. It is also a good source of thiamine, niacin and pantothenic acid, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese. It has a balanced profile of amino acids.
The following are some ANDI scores for squash:
- Pumpkin, canned 471
- Pumpkin, 249
- Butternut Squash 241
- Zucchini, cooked 164
- Hubbard Squash; Zucchini, raw 142
- Summer Squash 141
- Sweet Dumpling, Red Kuri, Kabocha, Delicata, Carnival, or Buttercup Squash 137
- Yellow Crookneck Squash, cooked 92
- Yellow Crookneck Squash, raw 88
- Acorn Squash 46
This blog uses the latest nutritional data available from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), and the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration), as well as nutritional data provided by food growers and manufacturers about their products. We believe the information on this website to be accurate. However, we are not responsible for typographical or other errors. Nutrition information for recipes is calculated by Living Cookbook based on the ingredients in each recipe based on statistical averages. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients, and other factors.
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