Squash is a type of fruit from the Cucurbita family and is commonly cooked as a vegetable.
It is important to point out the differences between “winter squash”, which ripen in fall and will keep for a long time and “summer squash”, which are harvested before they are fully mature and have a short shelf life.
The latter group includes courgette (zucchini), patty pan squash (in photo on the right) and crookneck squash, as well as other varieties, which are in season right now.
Indigenous to America, squash has been farmed for the last 10,000 years, either to use as bowls (cut in half) or for their nutritious seeds.
Ever since they landed on this continent, Europeans have always especially loved marrow squash, which looks like a very large zucchini.
Here in Quebec, both anglophones and francophones call the courgette by its Italian name, “zucchini”.
On a side note, if you ever see zucchini flowers (in photo on the left) the next time you are at your local market, I suggest you get some, coat them in a batter and fry them up – delicious!
This week I suggest some recipes that feature zucchini or squash.
Originally published in the Journal de Montréal on September 19, 2009.