winter squash

Squash belongs to a plant family with more than 700 species. / Florida Food & Farm file photo

No one knows exactly when humans began cultivating squash. The evidence of its cultivation dates back to “only” 8,000 B.C. But we do know that squash is growing and being harvested in Florida right now.

The name of the game of “squash” is related to this vegetable. “The game of squash used to be called ‘rackets.’ However, the game uses a soft ball constructed of thin rubber that collapsed when hit hard; in effect it ‘squashed’ during play. Eventually, the game itself came to be known as ‘squash'” (swampyacresfarm.com).

Below are five fun facts about squash.

Five fun facts about squash

1) Squashes, gourds and pumpkins belong to the “enormously diverse Cucurbitaceae family, which contains more than 100 genera (the major subdivision in a family of organisms; plural of ‘genus’) and over 700 species” (missouribotanicalgarden.org).

2) The word “squash” the Narragansett Indian word ‘askutasquash.’ This roughly translates into ‘eaten raw or uncooked'” (swampyacresfarm.com).

Squash can be colorful as well as nutritious. Shown: pattypan squash. / Kai-Kai Farm file photo

3) The names “pumpkin” and “squash” could, in theory, be used interchangeably. That’s because both plants “share almost the same genetic composition” (herbazest.com).

4) The Sioux Indians “would cut pumpkins into strips, dry them, and weave them into mats for sitting and sleeping” (swampyacresfarm.com).

5) Although squash is grown commercially in almost every state, “the United States imports the most squash in the world … on average … 300,000 metric tons of squash each year. … Mexico supplies 90.7 percent of the imports” (Agricultural Marketing Resource Center).

Nutrition
(Source: USDA)
Serving size: 1/2 cup of cubes (120 grams)
Calories: 50
Total fat: 0 g
Sodium: 0 milligrams
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Protein: 1 g

Recipes
For tasty squash recipes, click on the story below.

10 Best Squash Recipes to Make this Year