It’s squash season so we thought it was appropriate for a “How Food Grows” mini lesson about how squash is grown!

Incredibly, squashes are considered one of the oldest known crops – eaten primarily in Mexico 10,000 years ago. Squash originated as a wild plant in Central America and Mexico. The squash family is one of the largest and most diverse in the plant kingdom and is a significant source of food for many cultures.

Fun Facts: Squash is not a vegetable! Botanically speaking Squashes are fruits! Simply because they have seeds.

Squashes are classified as winter squash and summer squash and are grown from seeds. They require plenty of soil, space to flourish as well as ample sun. Summer squash should be grown when frost has passed; while winter squash can be planted in the middle of summer.

Both summer and winter squashes grow either as trailing vines or bushy plants. Summer squashes, including zucchini, yellow squash, long Italian squash and patty pan, are available in both vining and bush cultivars. Winter squashes, such as Hubbards, spaghetti squash and acorn squash, grow almost exclusively on rambling vines up to 15-feet long.

Typically, summer squashes are soft skinned, best picked young and used straight away, while winter squashes are usually grown to maturity, then dried off and stored for use into winter. Pumpkins are generally enjoyed in the fall/winter.

Squash are also incredibly nutritious – high in vitamin C, a great source of fiber,
high levels of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, and much more! They can be enjoyed in soups, roasted, in salads, and more! Did you know that you can eat squash flowers? They can be eaten fresh as well as fried. Steamed, baked or stuffed.

Enjoy this delicious fruit this season and the bounties of the earth!

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