Squash plants are native to Central and North America, and have been a staple food for cultures in those areas for at least 10,000 years. The Wampanaog and other native peoples taught early European colonists how to grow and prepare squash, and from there it has spread into becoming a popular food enjoyed around the world today. There are many different kinds of winter squash. Some types are grown for their edible seeds, others for making containers or for decoration (like a jack-o-lantern!), but most of all they are grown for their fleshy fruit. Winter squash are in the cucumber, or gourd family, of plants, known in Latin as Cucurbitaceae. Other related plants include watermelon.
- “Squash” comes from the Narragansett Native American word askutasquash, which means “eaten raw or uncooked."
- The world's largest squash was a green squash weighing in at 2118 pounds!
- Winter squash is an excellent source of vitamin A, the mineral potassium, and carotene pigments.
- It's a good cource of vitamin B1 (thiamine, B5 (pantothenic acid), B9 (folic acid), and C.
- Winter squash is also a good source of fiber and the mineral copper.