Most people love the taste of squash but often wonder whether to call it a fruit or a vegetable! Some like to argue that since squash is sold at the vegetable section of grocery stores then undoubtedly it is a vegetable, while others argue that the seeds inside a squash make it a fruit. The second group is right, since squash is indeed a fruit, and just like a tomato which is also a fruit, is used in cooking.
Archaeologists have evidence to prove that this fruit was first cultivated about 8,000 to 10,000 years ago, in Mesoamerica. Native Americans brought squash to this country, and it was a part of the ‘three sisters’ (corn, maize and squash), originally planted by them. Squash is not a hardy plant and needs to be protected from pests, diseases and even frost during fall and winter.
There are primarily two kinds of squashes, the winter squash and the summer squash. Summer squashes are smaller in size, are not suitable for storing, and bear thin skinned fruits that need to eaten as soon as possible, without much need for cooking.
Zucchini, pattypan and yellow crookneck are some of the popular summer squashes grown in the country, while winter squashes which include butternut, ambercup, buttercup, Hubbard, pumpkin, acorn and spaghetti squash, can be stored for later. The winter squashes come with harder skins and must be cooked before eating. Even though they are fruits, the culinary world refers to both summer and winter squashes as vegetables.
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