There are more than hundred types of squash that are known. They all belong to the same genus, that is, Cucurbita. Squash is available all year round. You can find one variety or the other of squash in the market throughout the year.
Squash is an important component of culinary traditions and diets all around the world. It has a rich nutritional profile. They are extremely versatile and can be used in a number of ways. Squash is available in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes which makes them one of the most popular ornamental fruits. Squash fruits are usually oval or round in shape with a hard outer rind. They can be green, orange, yellow, brown, or even white in color. Squash is rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin C, along with other essential vitamins and minerals. Most squashes have a mild or nutty taste. When they are paired with the right ingredients, the flavor becomes even more vibrant.
Squashes are extremely popular and we all love them, but do we have enough knowledge about them? Well, now that you are here, read along and get to know everything about your favorite fruit!
Table of Contents
- Types of Squash
- Summer Squash and Winter Squash
- Popular Types of Squash
Types of Squash
Summer Squash and Winter Squash
Like we mentioned earlier, there are more than hundred types of squash of which, some are edible while others are ornamental. Squash are mainly divided into two groups which are:
- Summer squash
- Winter squash
It may seem by the names that summer squash grows in summer and winter squash grows in winter, but that is not the case. Let’s see which squash are summer squash and which ones are winter squash.
Summer squash is so named because their fruit is ready for harvest and consumption in warm summer months. They are soft-skinned squash. They can also be called tender squash. Summer squash has tender skin and moist flesh. They are harvested steadily starting from early summer to late summer. They can be eaten raw, sautéed, or steamed. You cannot store them in the refrigerator for more than two days.
Winter squash is named so because their fruit is not ready to be harvested until the end of summer. They are harvested starting from late summer till autumn, and sometimes, even in early winter. Their fruits can be stored well for a long time and you can eat them in winter! The fruits have very hard skin and firm flesh that makes it ideal for storage for long periods of time. It is not very tasty when eaten raw, but it is a very popular type of squash when it comes to baking and making pies.
Popular Types of Squash
There are some varieties of squash that are more popular and common than the rest. Some of these popular varieties are summer squash and some are winter squash type. We have listed down the types of squash that are most common.
Zucchini squash is one of the most prolific varieties of squash. It is a type of summer squash, is fast-growing, and extremely easy to grow. Zucchini plant may produce several fruits during the peak season.
Zucchini plants should be planted after the last frost has passed. Since they are summer plants, they cannot tolerate winters. The seeds should be planted when the temperature of the soil has risen up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. 2 to 3 plants should be planted together because, in order to produce fruit, squash flowers need to be pollinated multiple times. The flowers open only once a day and when there are more flowers close to each other, chances of pollination are greatly increased.
Zucchini plants grow best in well-drained soil that is enriched with compost. They require full sun exposure for optimal growth. They should be harvested when they are about 6 inches long, with young and tender fruits.
Zucchini fruits have dark-green skin and a pale or white colored flesh. They are one of the most common types of squash that are used in culinary, owing to its sweet taste.
Round zucchini is summer squash. They are easy to grow and maintain. The fruit is light-green to dark-green in color with pale flesh. It tastes extremely sweet and nutty which makes it one of the most popular varieties of squash that are used in culinary.
Like zucchini, round zucchini is a summer-loving plant that performs best in warm climates. The seeds or seedlings should be planted when the temperature of the atmosphere and the soil has increased to about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Round zucchini requires well-drained soil, having a pH in a range of 6.0 to 6.7. The soil should be fertile and treated with compost. If the soil lacks nutrients naturally, it should be fertilized with fertilizer. For best growth, round zucchini requires a lot of water and food but overwatering can lead to the death of the plant.
Acorn squash is a winter squash variety. It is a dark-green colored fruit having a dark-yellow to orange colored flesh. Being a winter squash, it can be stored for a very long period of time, owing to its hard skin and firm flesh.
They have a vining growth habit hence they take up a lot of garden space. It is best to grow them in larger gardens. They should be planted after the last frost has passed and the temperature has turned warm. The best time to sow seeds of Acorn squash is when the temperature of the soil has risen to about 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Acorn squash is very heavy feeders and therefore, the soil should be very rich and fertile. It should be treated with compost and fertilizer. The soil should be well-drained. A soil too moist is not good for these plants. Acorn squash prefers a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.8.
With their definite nut-like flavor, they are a very commonly used fruit in many dishes, especially soups or as stuffed squash.
Buttercup squash is winter squash. The fruit of buttercup squash is turban-shaped. They are dark green in color with bright orange colored flesh. The flesh is thick, dry, and very flavorful. Their sweet taste makes it a popular variety of squash that is used in culinary.
These squashes grow on vines that can be as long as 24 inches. They require a very fertile, well-drained soil for best growth results. The preferable soil pH is 6.0 to 6.8. Buttercup squash should be planted in an area that receives full sun. Most importantly, the seeds should be sowed when the temperature of the environment and the soil has warmed up significantly.
As buttercup squash is a bit dry, it can be steamed or baked and can be used in stews. Baking buttercup squash brings out its naturally sweet taste and adds moisture to it, making it a delicious treat!
Butternut squash is a type of winter squash. The fruits are elongated, pale in color, having orange flesh. They are bushy plants which make them suitable to be grown in small gardens and containers.
It is pretty easy to grow butternut squash. They should be planted in an area with a lot of sunlight. They require a fertile, well-drained soil for best growth. The soil should be treated with a lot of compost and manure to ensure the plants get all the necessary nutrition. The seeds of butternut squash should be sowed when the temperature has warmed up, which is a common requirement for growth of all types of squash.
Butternut squash is used in a variety of recipes ranging from soups to pasta to fillings! They are highly nutritious and delicious fruit.
Crookneck squash is summer squash. It is a yellow colored squash with a crooked neck and orange colored flesh. It is a bushy plant which makes it suitable to be grown in containers and small gardens. It is one of the best tasting squash among all types of squash, with a sweet and buttery taste.
Crookneck squash needs a well-drained, and fertile soil with pH in the range of 5.8 and 6.8 for the best growth. It thrives best in areas that receive full sun exposure for at least 6 to 8 hours every day. they are fast-growing, prolific plants that produce plenty of fruits all season long, as long as you continue harvesting them. Since it is a bush variety, they can be grown in smaller gardens and containers with success.
Owing to its wonderful taste, they are used in a variety of recipes all over the world.
7. Pattypan Squash
Pattypan squash is more commonly known as Scallop squash. Like zucchini, Pattypan squash is summer squash. It has a shape similar to that of a flying saucer. It can be green, yellow, or white in color. Their fun shape makes them popular among kids. They taste more or less like other squash – sweet and nutty.
They have a semi-bush habit. The vines on which the squash grow are not very long. Like all types of squash, patty pan squash needs full sun exposure and well-drained, fertile soil for optimal growth. They can do well in partial shade but sun exposure is essential. The seeds of these squash should be sowed when the last frost has passed and the temperature has turned considerably warm.
Pattypan squash are delicious fruits that can be eaten raw, roasted, steamed, or sautéed!
8. Cousa Squash
Cousa squash is a summer squash that is a lot like zucchini in taste. It is pale to medium-green in color, speckled with a darker green shade. It is more bulbous than zucchini in appearance. Its sweet taste makes it quite popular in culinary, especially in Syrian and Lebanese recipes.
Like all squash varieties, Cousa squash also needs a rich, fertile soil that is well-drained. It requires full sun exposure for best growth. As it is a summer squash, the fruits should be harvested while they are still young.
Tatume squash, a summer squash variety is an heirloom vegetable that is native to Central and South America. It is green-colored squash that is round in shape. The flesh is pale or white in color. Tatume squash fruits are produced on long vines. Due to their spreading, vining habit, they
cannot be grown in smaller gardens or containers. The fruits are delicious in taste. They are sweeter than zucchini or crookneck yellow summer squash.
They perform best in areas where the climate is warm. The seeds should be planted when the temperature of the soil has warmed up to at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The soil should be well-drained, rich, and fertile. The sun exposure should be full, for at least 6 to 8 hours.
Their popularity is due to their sweet taste that makes it a very common type of squash to be used in numerous recipes, especially in Mexican recipes.
10. Tromboncino Squash
Tromboncino squash is a summer squash which is often used as winter squash. The fruit is light green in color, having orange colored flesh. It is firmer than zucchini which makes it suitable to store for some time (hence we say it can be sued like winter squash). Its flavor is mild and delicious which makes it a great ingredient in many dishes.
The seeds of Tromboncino squash should be sowed when the last frost has passed and the soil has warmed up to at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The soil should be rich and fertile and should be treated with plenty of compost. Moreover, they should be planted in an area that receives full sun so that the growth is optimum.
Delicata squash is sometimes called sweet potato squash because the taste is similar to that of a sweet potato. It is a smaller variety of winter squash that has cream-colored fruits, with dark-green lines running along their lengths. The skin of Delicata squash is not as hard as other winter squash varieties which do not make it suitable to be stored for longer durations.
Delicata squash plants spread to about 48 inches. They grow best in areas that receive full sun. They are heavy feeders which mean that they need a soil that is very fertile. The soil should be treated with compost and seeds should be sown after the soil has been amended. Make sure that the soil has warmed up considerably before sowing seeds. Delicate squash has relatively short growing seasons.
The flesh of Delicata squash is light-orange in color. it is extremely rich and creamy that makes delicious dishes.
Dumpling squash or Sweet Dumpling is another type of winter squash. The fruits are small with pale, cream-colored skin, having green or orange colored lines. The flesh of these squash is yellow or orange.
They are fast-growing squash. They have a vining growth habit and vines are long and creeping. They should be planted in gardens that are big and spacious. They prefer areas which receive full sun. The soil should be fertile, moist, and well-drained. The seeds are easy to show, needing no special treatment. They should be sowed when the temperature of the atmosphere and the soil, both have turned considerably warm to allow the seeds to germinate.
Dumpling squash is in stuffed squash recipes. They can be sued in many salads and other delicious recipes.
Hubbard squash is huge, winter squash varieties that can grow to be as large as 50 pounds. The fruits have a tough and rough skin which ranges in color from blue to green. The flesh is bright orange in color. The outer shell is extremely hard that allows you to store it for up to six months!
Like all other types of squash, Hubbard squash also prefers a warm temperature to grow. The seeds should be planted when the temperature of the soil is at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit, in an area which receives full sun exposure. The soil should be moist but well-drained. Moreover, for best growth results, the soil should be rich and fertile. Before sowing seeds, the soil should be treated with compost.
The flesh is starchy and dense. It has a sweet, nutty taste. it tastes amazing when baked or steamed.
Kabocha squash is another winter squash that has a vining growth habit. The fruits are dark-green in color with light-green or yellow stripes running along the entire surface. They are hybrid squash varieties that have been developed particularly for their rich, nutty flavor.
Following the trend of all other squash, Kabocha squash also grows best in warm temperature. The soil temperature should be between 70 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit at the time of planting. The soil should be well-drained, rich, and fertile. Kabocha squash prefers growing in an area that receives full sun.
It’s rich, nutty flavor makes it an ideal squash for making soups and curries. They taste great in fried form as well.
Spaghetti squash is winter squash. As the name indicates, the flesh of this squash is like spaghetti. The fruits are yellow colored. The flesh is a lighter shade of yellow. It is easy to grow squash that is full of nutrients.
The seeds of Spaghetti squash should be sowed after the last frost has passed. As the temperature becomes warmer, the conditions turn favorable for Spaghetti squash. The ideal time to plant this squash is when the temperature of the soil has risen to at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The soil should be well-drained, rich, and fertile having plenty of compost for best growth. They should be planted in a location that receives full sun exposure.
They are used in numerous recipes. They can be cooked with pasta, tossed over toasts and in salads. Fried spaghetti squash tastes wonderful as well!
16. Calabaza Squash
Calabaza squash is winter squash. Its fruits are found in many different colors ranging from green to beige, light-red to orange. The flesh is a bright-orange color too. The skin is extremely hard which makes it suitable to be stored for a very long time.
Calabaza squash grows on vines that spread vigorously. They can spread to as far as 50 feet. This squash variety should be planted in large, open areas that receive full sun for at least 6 to 8 hours every day. The seeds should be sowed after the last frost has passed. In frost-free regions, the seeds can be planted any time during the summer. The soil should be moist enough but not too wet. Calabaza squash grows best in well-drained, rich, and fertile soil.
Calabaza squash can be used in more or less the same way like other squash varieties like in soups, salads, curries, fried, baked, steamed, or sautéed.
There are so many types of squashes available that it is just not possible to through all of them. The ones we have discussed are the ones that are used most commonly and widely. Squashes are known for their sweet, rich, nutty taste that makes them versatile that they can be used in numerous recipes. With so much variety, it’s truly no surprise that squash is used so widely all around the world.