Fall has officially begun!
Are you ready for the shift in seasons?
I've found that people have renewed interest in seasonal topics at the very beginning of a new season, which is why I've gathered these 8 fun facts about squash! Why not educate your audience about a seriously nutritious vegetable while simultaneous celebrating fall? After all, winter squash are just hitting their stride in the markets.
So, without further ado, here's a list of 8 fun facts about squash. Tweet them, email them, add them to a newsletter, use them as presentation icebreakers, incorporate them into your next wellness fair booth, or just enjoy the facts!
There are two different types of squash: summer and winter squash. Summer squash, like zucchini or pattypan squash, have thin skins and can be eaten whole -- skin, seeds, and all. Winter squash like pumpkin and butternut squash have robust skins that aren't usually edible (though some people like to keep the skin on with thinner-skinned winter squashes like delicata squash), much harder flesh, and their seeds generally need to be removed before eating (though they can be toasted and eaten separately).
Squash and melons are related. Did you know that both summer and winter squashes are related to melons like honeydew and watermelon?
Butternut squashes (and most orange squashes) are loaded with vitamin A. A single cup provides more vitamin A than most people need in a day (457% of the daily value, to be exact).
Most winter squash have long shelf lives and can last in a cool, dry place for weeks or even months!
Pumpkins don't have to be orange. We're most familiar with bright orange jack-o-lanterns or pie pumpkins, but pumpkins themselves can actually be orange, green, white, yellow, or even red!
Even though most winter squashes are harvested in the fall, they are called "winter squashes" because they store well during long, cold winters. That's when most people cook and eat them too.
The best winter squash for storing (then eating!) will generally feel heavy for its size and have firm skin without dullness, blemishes, or soft spots.
No, spaghetti squash doesn't taste like spaghetti. It gets its name from the fact that, when it's cooked, its flesh separates into shapes that look remarkably like noodles. Spaghetti squash is much less sweet than most other winter squashes.
Want to start cooking with squash? Here is a handout for Lemon Pepper Squash you can use right now: