Squash: What It Is And How To Eat More

I think squash is pretty underrated.

It may have something to do with the weird and wonderful shapes they come in, I suppose they do look a little odd. But, I think they deserve more attention.

If you haven’t tried squash, it has a really great taste, and it’s actually very versatile and easy to use.

So, is it a vegetable or a fruit? Most people would say squash is a vegetable, after all they are found in the vegetable section at the grocery store, right?

However, because they contain the seeds, they are actually a fruit. And, like tomato, they can be used as a vegetable when cooking.

Summer Squash

Summer squash is less mature, and smaller in size, with thin, edible skins and soft seeds. They include:

Crookneck — yellow skin (sometimes green), with white flesh.

sxc.hu: davidlat

Straightneck — yellow/orange skin, with white flesh.


Zucchini — smooth green or yellow skin, with white flesh.

sxc.hu: nkzs

Pattypan — small in size, with pale green or yellow skin, and creamy white flesh.

Provident Organic Farm

Other varieties of summer squashes include:

  • Cousa squash
  • Yellow summer squash

Summer squash nutrients
Summer squash is an excellent source of manganese and vitamin C. It is also a very good source of magnesium, vitamin A, dietary fibre, potassium, copper, folate, and phosphorus, and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, calcium, zinc, niacin, and protein.

How to cook summer squash
Summer squash have a pretty high water content, which means dry-heat methods of cooking are best — think stir-frying, grilling or sautéing.

Click on the next page to read about Winter Squash (with recipe ideas)…
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About Melanie
Melanie is a Registered Dietitian who started Dietriffic in March 2007. Her aim is to make good health attainable and sustainable, without guilt and torture, making her approach popular with those who desire a level-headed approach to good health. Have you got your copy of her free book yet?

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Tory April 21, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Wow! I didn’t realize there is that many types of squash!! Thanks for the tips Mel!
.-= Tory´s last blog ..How does fiber help me lose weight? =-.


Melanie April 22, 2010 at 8:31 pm

No, neither did I, lol. It’s pretty amazing. I would have a job finding them though in my local store, there’s certainly not this variety.


Kylie April 21, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Hi Mel, that’s a great article about squash (or pumpkins as Australians’s tend to call them). As a dietitian I often recommend introducing these types of foods to fussy kids who won’t eat vegetables. Mashing them with potato can be a way to get kids to try something new.
.-= Kylie´s last blog ..Top 3 drinks that make you fat =-.


Melanie April 22, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Hi Kylie,
That’s a great tip, thanks for sharing. I think kids veg like this due to the sweetness, so it’s a good way to introduce them to more variety.


spela squash stockholm May 3, 2010 at 8:44 am

Ever heard of the sport named squash?
.-= spela squash stockholm´s last blog ..Swedish Open på TV 4 Sport =-.


Melanie May 3, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Yes, I have :-) Why?


Troy June 3, 2010 at 9:28 am

Hi Mel,

So when a squash is not cooked it is a fruit but when cooked it becomes a vegetable? i think i’ll cook mine helps get to my 5 servings a day and i can easily get my 2 pieces of fruit anyway…



Melanie June 5, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Hi Troy,
I think it’s more that it can be used as you would do with a vegetable, i.e. in place of broccoli, etc, but it’s technically still a fruit. That said, I would just count it towards one of your portions of vegetables.


Michael Westberg July 26, 2010 at 7:26 pm

I love summer squash, crookneck especially. I eat it like 5 times a week. As for the concept of vegetable versus fruit. You’re absolutely correct in that it contains its seeds and ergo a fruit, in a botanical sense. While in a culinary sense it is considered a vegetable beacause of its cooking purposes in savory dishes while fruit are categorized as sweet in culinary terms. Did you know the US Supreme Court ruled on whether tomato was a vegetable or fruit? Legally its a vegetable in culinary terms! It’s all syntax in my honest opinion, delicious syntax.


Melanie July 27, 2010 at 11:37 am

Is that true about tomatoes? I didn’t know that, very interesting indeed! :-)


TheGourmetCoffeeGuy April 14, 2011 at 4:05 am

In our home, we consume many vegetables. Squash varieties are always in the list. However, I have to say your list of Winter Squash is very impressive: have not seen many of them for sale in our area, perhaps not looking for them and overlooked. Your post has motivated us to make a list of some of these varieties, look for them and taste them. Quite sure many will become favorites. Thank you for sharing.


Aniebiet josiah August 5, 2012 at 10:31 am

I didn’t know that squash is also fruit but now i know. This is interesting


GiGi Eats Celebrities October 3, 2012 at 3:32 am

Butternut squash & spaghetti squash – I eat both of them EVERY single day!!! They’re delicious, low calorie and well, SUPER healthy too of course! Cannot get enough!


Melanie October 18, 2012 at 2:43 pm

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