- Its scientific name is Cucurbita. In Mexico it includes calabacita (zucchini), calabaza (pumpkin), and chayote (vegetable pear).
- Squash was the first plant cultivated in Mesoamerica.
Squash plants are creepers or climbers, with tendrils and lobulate leaves. They also have two types of flowers, because they can be male or female.
Squashes tend to be large, pear-shaped, elliptical, or semi-round, with thick skin and lots of pulp, which has seeds that can also be consumed.
In Mexico calabaza de castilla (Cucurbita moschata), criollo (small round green squash), chayote, and calabacita (zucchini) are grown.
The nutritional contribution of squash is comparable to that of milk or eggs.
Squash and chayotes have been in Mexico for more than 10,000 years. From the time of Mesoamerica to the present, it is a vegetable consumed daily.
Candied pumpkin is one of the most common ways this vegetable is prepared in Mexico and it varies depending on the region. In some places in Mexico squash is commonly found in chunks as an ingredient in broths and stews. Its seeds are toasted and consumed as snacks, while squash blossoms are eaten fresh in quesadillas and salads.
- 60 percent of Mexico’s squash is grown in Sonora.
- 95 percent of the squash purchased by the United States comes from Mexico.
- 4 of 11 squash species are cultivated in Mexico: zucchini, calabaza de castilla (Cucurbita moschata), calabaza pipiana (green outside, orange inside), chilacayote (black-seed squash), and kabocha.
- Mexico is the seventh biggest squash producer worldwide.
- 3.4 kilos are commonly consumed by each person in Mexico per year.