The immature summer variety of squash is a warm season vegetable grown throughout the States. They require warm frost-free climate and are harvested before the fruit matures and rind hardens. This member of the Cucurbita pepo species has edible flesh, seeds, skin and even flowers. When purchasing, look for shiny unblemished ones. Rinds should not be hard and the veggie should be average in size.
Cultivation of summer squash originates way back in Mexico and Central America. Scientists have found squash seeds stored in Mexican caves for over 10,000 years. The Portuguese and Spanish explorers introduced vine herb to the entire world, which is now popularly grown in United States, China, India and Russia.
Summer squash is versatile. It tastes well when baked, sautéed or grilled. However, boiling is the best recommendation to retain its nutrients. Before freezing for storing, steam blanch the vegetable to cleanse its surface from dirt and microorganisms.
Benefits & Features
The name, summer squash, refers to its short storage duration, in comparison to winter species. It is characterized with its mild flavor, soft shell and creamy white flesh. It is an important source of cartenoids, antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin C. Summer squash's main ingredient, polysaccharide, has been found beneficial against diabetes. It also helps in regulating insulin.