The Squash Racket

Picture of squashI’ve discovered over the years that there can be some confusion categorising squash, depending on where you live in the world.

There is a whole range of vegetables that belong to the ‘Marrow’ family. They include squash, melons, cucumbers, gourds, marrows (zucchinis) and pumpkins.

The general rule is that squash that grow in winter time have thick skin and hard flesh, while summer squash has softer skin and wetter flesh.

In Australia, when someone goes shopping for Summer Squash, they are referring to the ‘Pattypan Squash’. Pattypans are flying saucer shaped with knobbly edges and are often available in green or bright yellow (as in my illustrated).

Also, what Australians refer to as Zucchini, Americans may call ‘Courgette’.

Pumpkins can also cause equal confusion for Australians, because in the US many varieties are referred to as squash or gourds.

It seems to me that if an American can carve it into a Jack-o’-lantern, then it’s called a pumpkin?

I’m not certain where the differences in squash terminology originated. It may be possible that America drew culinary influence from France, while Australia was traditionally guided by Britain.

So, regardless of where you reside on this great planet, it pays to be cautious when reading from a foreign recipe book or website and check that you are using the correct type of squash.

Putting all the differences aside, some things still remain similar. Most squash varieties can be boiled, pureed, braised, steamed and sautéed. Squash are colourful, versatile, healthy and delicious.

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