Squash

Hello, thanks for dropping by. We thought you may have been a little confused by what this site was. No, we’re not about that game you play with a ball and racquet, nor are we about flattening things. We’re a vegetable and part of a large family related to pumpkins, cucumbers and melons. Squashes and pumpkins are often confused but, in general, we have a thinner and softer skin than pumpkins and do not keep as well.

We come in all sizes, shapes and colours, which makes us a very interesting family of vegetables. Some of us are long and thin like the vegetable marrow, whilst others, like the button squashes, are small and squat with scalloped edges. Most of us have an edible thin skin and white to yellow, sweet, succulent flesh.

Availability

We’re generally available all year round with our peak being from July to November.

Did you know?

  • We belong to the curcubit family that includes pumpkins, melons and zucchinis
  • Our name is a corruption of a Mattachusett Indian word meaning ‘eaten raw’
  • Honey bees pollinate us
  • Americans call some types of winter pumpkin ‘squash’ but Australians use the term squash for what Americans call ‘summer squash’. All types of squash belong to the cucumber family.

Varieties

We’re usually sold by variety.


Vegetable Marrow

We’re cylindrical, long (40cm), thin and tapering with creamy-white to yellow smooth skin.

Spaghetti Squash
We’re unusual in that our yellow flesh resembles spaghetti when cooked. Egg-shaped, plump, with creamy-white to yellow skin, we’re about 20cm long. Our flesh has a pleasant, sweet and nutty taste.


Scaloppini or Button Squash

We’re very small, immature, sweet and succulent squash with distinct, round, scalloped edges. Our skin colour varies from white, yellow, green to variegated types in yellow and green with pale green flesh.

Why Squash are Good to Eat

  • We’re an excellent source of vitamin C
  • We also have some dietary fibre and potassium.
  • Those of us which are darker in colour supply some beta carotene.
  • 100g of has just between 85 and 105kJ.

How Squash are Grown and Harvested

We prefer to grow in a temperate climate with a well-drained soil. We’re planted one of two ways – from seeds or from seedlings (generally grown in a nursery). It takes about 2 weeks for seeds to start growing into a seedling.

Our parent plant grows very quickly and will start producing us in about 8 weeks. It’s a twining vine with large, broad, spiny, lobed leaves and an angled, prickly green stem. Its yellow flowers are either male or female and the female flowers, after fertilisation, produce us.

We’re harvested by cutting us from the vine through our stem. We need to be harvested frequently and this is done by hand due to our very soft skin and so we’re very labour intensive to grow.

Choosing Squash

Select those of us which are firm, medium-sized and heavy for our size. Look for smooth, glossy skin, free of soft spots.

How to Keep Squash

Refrigerate us unwashed, stored in a plastic bag.

Prime Growing Areas

History of Squash

We look like little spaceships but are actually one of the oldest edible plants grown by man. We’re thought to have originated in northern Mexico, and as I mentioned, our name comes from the Mattachusett Indian word meaning ‘eaten raw’. An old cultivated vegetable, widely used in many parts of the world, we have become increasingly popular in recent times with the development of new shapes, sizes and colours.

Fun Ways to Eat and Cook Squash

Although we can be eaten raw, we’re normally cooked by boiling, microwaving, steaming, baking or deep-fry. Cook us whole, sliced or cut in wedges and serve us as a vegetable, in stir-fries or stuff us by following some of the recipes suggested below.

Sliced Squash with Crispy Bacon
Cook 1-2 rashers of chopped bacon in a frypan until crisp. Remove and saute 1 clove minced garlic and 6 medium squash, sliced, for 2 minutes. Remove and saute 1/2 green apple, thinly sliced with skin on and 2 finely chopped shallots, for 1-2 minutes. Add squash and heat through. Serve sprinkled with crispy bacon.

Prawn Stuffed Squash
Boil, microwave or steam 24 small squash until just tender. Drain. Cut the tops off and scoop out the flesh. Mix with 1/2 cup each stale breadcrumbs, grated tasty cheese and cooked chopped prawns. Add 30g melted butter and 2 tablespoons each finely chopped red capsicum and shallots. Spoon into squash and grill until browned.

Squash and Capsicum Pesto Salad
Slice 8 squash. Deseed and slice 1 red capsicum. Barbecue or saute both in frypan until just tender. Drain on paper towel. Mix 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, pinch sugar, 1 clove crushed garlic and 1-2 tablespoons pesto. Pour over vegetables and serve.