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Squashes   << BACK
Types: Acorn, Butternut, Crookneck, Spaghetti, Zucchini
Squash was a food staple in the Americas for some eight thousand years before the first European explorers arrived here. Like melons and cucumbers, squashes are edible gourds that are indigenous to North, Central, and South America. The name comes form the Algonquin word askutasquash, which means, "eaten raw" and probably derives form the kind of summer squash encountered by early European settlers. The Native Americans taught them how to store and use winter squashes as a staple and demonstrated the curative and hygienic properties of squash seeds. Following the practice of the natives, the settlers ate whatever was available in the wild--fish, fowl, venison-which often carried parasites, and cured themselves by eating squash.

The squashes commonly found in the United States are divided into summer and winter varieties. Summer varieties are immature squashes, usually small in size, with a soft skin, white flesh, high water content, and crunchy texture. Summer squashes are 100 percent edible, seeds and all, and very perishable. Winter varieties are fully mature squashes that are usually larger in size, with a hard outer shell and a long shelf life. They are always eaten cooked. Most have an orange flesh that is sweeter and nuttier in flavor than the more delicate summer squashes and contain large quantities of beta-carotene. The larger, harder seeds of winter squashes are usually discarded, but they can be salted, roasted, and eaten like nuts.


  • California
  • Florida
  • Honduras
  • North Carolina


Summer squash

  • 42-lb. bushel and 1 1/9-bushel containers
  • 35-lb. cartons/crates
  • 30-lb. 3/4-bushel cartons/crates
  • 26-lb. cartons/lugs (California, Mexico)
  • 21-lb. 1/2- or 5/9- containers
  • 10-lb. 8-quart baskets/cartons

Winter squash

  • 50-lb. 1 1/9-bushel cartons/crates
  • 40-lb. cartons/crates
  • 35-lb. cartons/crates

Storage & Handling:

  • Temperature: soft, 41 to 50 F, 5 to 10 C; hard, 50 to 55 F, 10 to 18 C
  • Relative humidity: soft, 95 percent; hard, 70 to 75 percent