There are many varieties of the vegetable squash, but they all fall in two main groups: summer and winter. Winter squash has a hard outer rind and can be stored for months without spoiling. The many varieties of both squash groups are vining, semi-vining, semi-bush, or bush types. Squash varieties are available all year long. There are several species of squash within the winter squash category, but all summer squashes are the Cucurbita pepo species.
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Cucurbita Pepo - Summer Squash
There is a small list of summer squash varieties. Patty pan, or scallop, is round and flat in shape. The Yellow Crookneck and Yellow Straightneck are named for the shape of their necks. Zucchini is another summer squash and has several varieties including Black Beauty, Aristocrat, Spineless Beauty and Gold Rush. The summer squash grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture planting zones 3 and up. Plant anytime after the danger of frost and from spring to midsummer. Pick the vegetable before it fully ripens and the rind becomes too hard.
Cucurbita Pepo-Winter Squash
Cucurbita pepo winter squash varieties have many relatives. Acorn squash cultivars include Swan White, which has a creamy white skin, and Table Ace, which is black. Other acorn varieties include Table King, Table Queen and Table Gold. Delicata is also called the sweet potato bush and has a few relatives including the Honey Boat, Sugar Loaf and Sweet Dumpling. Spaghetti squash gets its name from the stringy, spaghetti-like strands inside. Different varieties of spaghetti squash include Orangetti, which is high is carotene, Pasta and Sripetti, which is a hybrid of Spaghetti and Delicata squashes. Cucurbita pepo winter squash grows throughout the United States in zones 3 and up. Plant in early spring after frost and harvest when fully ripened and the rind is hardened. Peak season is the fall.
Cucurbita Moschata-Winter Squash
Cucurbita moschata includes the Long Island Cheese squash, as well as the Butternut and its many relatives. The Long Island Cheese Squash resembles a wheel of cheese. Butternut varieties include the Ponca, Puritan and Zenith. Supreme has a thick neck, Ultra grows up to 4.54 Kilogram and the Waltham variety can reach 12 inches in length. Curcurbita moschata are medium-sized vegetables. They are tolerant of warm weather. Plant after danger of frost has passed and harvest when fully ripened. Peak season is in the fall.
Cucurbita Maxima-Winter Squash
Cucurbita maxima are the largest sized squashes and are often called "true winter squash." Bush varieties include All Season and Emerald Bush Buttercup. Buttercup hybrid versions include Honey Delight and Sweet Mama. Banana squash is long, slim and pointed at the ends like a banana. It can weigh nearly 13.6 Kilogram. The many varieties of Hubbard squash include Baby, Blue, Chicago, Golden, Green and Warted and can reach up to 11.3kg. Cucurbita maxima are harvested in fall, alongside Halloween pumpkins. The vegetable grows throughout all of the United States.
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