“Fresh2U” Nutrition Program for Kids and Parents
Squash is native to the Western Hemisphere and was consumed centuries ago by the Narragansett Indians. We still follow their example and eat summer squash while tender and unripe, although it is usually cooked. Florida produces acorn, butternut, yellow crookneck, yellow straightneck, white, and zucchini squash. In 2000, Florida ranked number two in the nation in the value of squash produced.
Hard shell squash is a good source of vitamin A and iron, with 1/2 cup of baked butternut squash providing more than the daily recommended allowance of vitamin A. Soft-skinned “summer” type squash, both green and yellow, have a valuable amount of vitamin C and also provide useful amounts of other vitamins and minerals. Squash are low in calories and sodium. They provide fiber to the diet, but no fat.
When shopping, look for yellow squash with glossy skin. Dull skin indicates the squash is past its prime. Smaller squash are more flavorful. Be sure the squash is firm and not spongy. Do not peel before cooking. Wash, trim ends, and cut to the desired size called for in the recipe. Most squash can be kept refrigerated, unwashed, in a plastic bag for up to five days.
Florida squash are available from September through June.