You’re probably already aware that squash is not only healthy for you but versatile since it can be used to make a number of dishes. That’s because you can prepare them by grilling, sauteing, steaming, and using them for baking. Some people prefer to eat them raw.
What you may not know, is that squash has several health benefits that may be just what you’re looking for. This article will share with you the different types of squashes, how to grow them, and a lot of other useful information. So here’s everything you need to know about squash. This is where I get my garden seeds: SeedsNow
Basic Info: Everything You Need to Know About Squash
Squash comes from the cucurbits family (gourd family). There happen to be over 100 different types of squash. That’s far more than what you would find at your farmer’s market or local grocery store.
This may surprise you, but even though squash is considered a vegetable, it’s technically a fruit. That’s because it produces seeds and comes from the flowering part of the plant, just like fruit.
Squash has lots of vitamins and minerals that provide you with several health benefits. No matter which squash you choose to consume, they are full of vitamins A, B6, and C. You’ll also find magnesium, fiber, potassium, phosphorus, and riboflavin. Yellow squash has a great deal of manganese in it.
Health Benefits of Squash
Boosts Immune System
Because of all the minerals and vitamins that are present in squash, they provide a boost to our immune system and help fight against foreign invaders.
Helps Manage Diabetes
Certain types of squash are very high in fiber and pectin, which actually helps stabilize sugar levels. This makes it easier for people that suffer from diabetes to manage the symptoms better.
By chewing and eating the seeds of squash, they’ve been known to help fight off foreign substances in our bodies that can cause some serious health issues.
Strengthens Lung Health
Squash is jam-packed full of vitamin A, a vitamin that is associated with reducing emphysema. Eating squash can also be a protective element for lung cancer.
Regulates Blood Circulation
If you eat enough squash, you can actually increase your energy level and increase the circulation in your bloodstream. That’s because there is a ton of iron and copper present, that works great with your red blood cells.
Protects Your Heart’s Health
The potassium and magnesium that you can find in squash work as a defense against a number of heart health issues. It helps increase the blood flow and increases the oxygen level in organs, such as the lungs and heart. Because of this, it decreases the chances of a heart attack or stroke.
Provides Relief From Asthma
People that suffer from asthma have found relief by eating squash. That’s because it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can actually help with the irritation.
With all the vitamins and minerals that are present in squash, they’ve been known to help with bone development and bone mineral density. Eating squash can also help with preventing conditions such as osteoporosis.
Two Categories for Squash
No matter which type of squash you have, it is from one of two categories. First, you have Summer squash, that grows quickly and harvests sooner, producing a softer skin and flesh. Winter squash takes much longer to grow and is harvested in summer and fall. They also have a tougher skin.
Common Types of Squash
The acorn squash is shaped, well, like a green acorn. It has a yellow-orangish flesh and has a mild flavor to it. You can scoop the seeds out and use the syrup as a glaze for the perfect baked acorn squash.
The banana squash has an elongated shape and a light yellow color to its exterior, making the name appropriate. The inside has an orange color and a sweet taste that comes with it. People who often eat banana squash will mash it or puree it in a soup.
This type of squash is shaped like a bulb, with a light tan color on the exterior. It has a sweet nutty flavor and unique texture that makes it a perfect squash for soup, gnocchi, and risotto. You could also enjoy it by baking or sauteing it.
They are the pricier pumpkins typically at the grocery store and are smaller in size. Look for the little 6-8-inch in diameter pumpkins when they come in the fall. These are not the pumpkins we carve for Halloween.
Spaghetti (picture of a yellow one)
Just like its name suggests, spaghetti squash contains stringy shredded flesh inside. Spaghetti squash has become a trendy food option for those looking for a pasta alternative that has far fewer carbs. It’s also a great squash to consider for stuffing.
Yellow squash has a bright yellow exterior and is often found next to Zucchini at the grocery store. Their skins are very thin, making them easy to chop and saute. There are two types of yellow squash. The best way to tell them apart is by looking at the neck to see whether it’s straight or crooked.
The zucchini squash has a dark green color and a straighter shape to it. You can prepare zucchini in a number of ways, including steaming, baking, sauteing, and grilling. Zucchini also is great with baking, especially if you love zucchini bread or cookies.
Everything You Need to Know About Growing Squash
Squash does well when temperatures are more of a consistent 65 degrees or higher, so waiting till late spring is fine. They need plenty of sunlight and soil that has good drainage. It helps if you add compost on top of the soil.
They also require regular watering, but just enough to moisten the soil. Squash plants are typically big, so be sure that you plant them at least 3 to 6 feet apart, but follow the recommended spacing that comes on the packaging.
Depending on what type of squash you’re growing, summer squash takes around 50 to 65 days to mature, while winter squash may take around 60 to 100 days before being harvested.
Summer squash will need to be harvested 2-3 times a week when you notice the rind is tender, and just before the seeds develop. Winter squash, on the other hand, will need to be fully ripened with hardened skin and is harvested just before the first frost.
How to Store Squash
Summer squash will only be stored in the refrigerator for around 4-5 days. Winter squash happens to store away for far longer than summer squash.
You’ll want to store your winter squash in a dark cool place where the sun won’t ripen them so quickly. Winter squash doesn’t need to be refrigerated and can last for 2 to 3 months.
You can freeze squash to use it within the next 6 months without any worry of compromising the flavor or texture. If you’re wanting to freeze winter squash, you’ll need to remove the skin and cook it before doing so.
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Everything You Need to Know Series:
- Cucumbers: Everything You Need to Know
- Kale: Everything You Need to Know
- Broccoli: Everything You Need to Know
- Mushrooms: Everything You Need to Know
- Lettuce: Everything You Need to Know
- Carrots: Everything You Need to Know
- Tomatoes: Everything You Need to Know
- Potatoes: Everything You Need to Know
This is a lot of information about squash that is important for you to know. What are some other ways you prepare squash or have discovered other health benefits that have to do with squash?
Everything you need to know about squash is listed here. However, is there anything you would add? Please start a garden if you haven’t ever had one before. May God bless this world, Linda
Copyright Images: Squash Depositphotos_227024450_s-2019, Acorn Squash Depositphotos_19371871_s-2019, Butternut Squash Depositphotos_55174259_s-2019, Pumpkins Depositphotos_11785006_s-2019, Yellow Squash Depositphotos_204124358_s-2019, Zucchini Squash Depositphotos_133167002_s-2019