For the purpose of this short post we are going to be talking generally about both winter and summer squash.
Cucurbita, a member of the Cucurbitaceae family is a New World crop pre dating human arrival. (Though there are 5 species in the Cucurbitaceae family grown around the world) This post will not do each of the 5 species justice and thus we will revisit this topic in individual posts. But for now, let’s look at what makes a squash a squash!
We should also take a moment to appreciate the wide variety of colours, shapes and sizes squash come in. From just a few ounces to 600+lbs and just about every colour, squash are as tasty as they are decorative. In the fall we pile squash up as high as they can go! The National Heirloom Expo has an impressive squash mountain every year to showcase their immense variety and beauty. Impressive is the only word to describe it.
The leaves of a squash are typically 5 lobed, which can be more separated or conjoined depending on the type. The plants produce both female and male flowers in which the female flowers must be pollinated in order for the squash to start to fruit.
Squash flowers are big pollinator attractors! (Everyone seems to find them delicious) while honey bees love them, native pollinators will flock to your garden for a taste of the good stuff. Did you know you can eat squash blossoms? I kid you not, they are outrageous fried. Don’t believe me? Try this spectacular recipe of
I LOVE to eat squash, it is possibly one of the most diverse and delicious vegetables ever to hit the pan. Sugar pie pumpkins, tromboncino, acorns, spaghetti, buttercup, butternut (both warty and non), red kuri, and mystery are just some of the vines crawling through our property. The mystery ones are leftovers from years gone by and are just starting to fruit, we are taking bets on what they could be.