Wikipedia Article About Squash on Wikipedia
Squashes are four species of the genus Cucurbita, also called pumpkins and marrows depending on variety or the nationality of the speaker. Squashes are categorized as summer squash or winter squash, depending on when they are harvested (winter squash also commonly refers to those squashes of the maxima species). Compare Gourds.
Summer squashes, including young vegetable marrows (such as zucchini (also known as courgette), pattypan and yellow crookneck) are harvested during the summer, while the skin is still tender and the fruit relatively small. They are consumed almost immediately and require little or no cooking.
Winter squashes (such as butternut, Hubbard, buttercup, acorn, spaghetti squash/vegetable spaghetti and pumpkin) are harvested at the end of summer, generally cured to further harden the skin, and stored in a cool place for eating later. They generally require longer cooking time than summer squashes.
Squash is native to North America and was one of the "Three Sisters" planted by Native Americans. Its name translates roughly to "eaten raw" in native American cultures. The Three Sisters were the three main indigenous plants used for agriculture: maize (corn), beans, and squash. These were usually planted together, with the cornstalk providing support for the climbing beans, and shade for the squash. The squash vines provided groundcover to limit weeds.
Besides the fruits, other parts of the plant are edible. Squash seeds can be eaten directly, ground into paste, or pressed for vegetable oil. The shoots, leaves, and tendrils can be eaten as greens. The blossoms are an important part of native american cooking and are also used in many other parts of the world.