Squash is an alternative name for plants that are within the gourd family. Most varieties of squash have a seeded core which is surrounded by soft flesh encased in a skin which is usually hard. There is a huge range of squash and they are usually set into either a winter squash or summer squash. No matter what type all squash are delicious, and have many different uses. Common types of squash include zucchini and spaghetti squash which is oblong in shape and yellow in color and splits into shapes like noodles when cooked, which are an example from winter and summer squash categories.
Although the taste delicious there are district differences to common types of squash that are in summer and winter categories.
Common types of squash that are considered summer varieties mature and ripen quicker than winter types as the skin is a lot thinner. Summer squash can be eaten raw so you will often find it on vegetable dishes. Many will use summer squash in stir fires, chutneys and salads and as it is planted at the start of spring is usually eaten in the summer when it’s ready.
Common types of squash from the summer variety include yellow crookneck which should be roasted. This type is very varied as there are very small types, tender types to large wood like varieties. Another common type of squash that is a summer squash is zucchini which is dark green and shaped like a club.
If summer squash is left on the vine or in cupboards for too long it can turn too woody which results in its flavor being lost. So if you are buying them from a store opt for those that are small in size and firm rather than large bruised ones.
This is mainly because winter type squash is planted later that the summer varieties so it matures later usually around late fall. These types of winter squash usually have a skin that is firmer which is not edible if raw and is more like a rind, however there are more varieties of winter than summer squash. Winter varieties also last a lot longer and are usually kept in a dry and cool place throughout the winter. Common types of squash from the winter varieties are great to use in stews, soups and even roasted. Most people use winter squash in pumpkin pie.
Another common type of squash that is a winter squash is butternut squash. This is typically round and has an orange flesh with a skin that varies red to green.
On both winter and summer squash the flowers are OK to eat, and many Italian restaurants use it in their dishes such as mixing it into salads and pastas and serving it fried. The taste of squash blossom is pleasant and delicate.