Delicata squash

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Delicata squash
Delicata Squash-small.jpg
Species Cucurbita pepo var. pepo
Cultivar 'Delicata'
Delicata squash from Green Mountain Girls Farm.

Delicata squash is a winter squash,[1] "the cylindrical fruits, which are cream-coloured with green stripes, are of good culinary quality." (Robinson & Decker-Walters 1997[2] p. 79) As its name suggests, it has characteristically a delicate rind (or skin[3]). It is also known as peanut squash, Bohemian squash, or sweet potato squash. Although consumed mature as a winter squash, delicata squash belongs to the same species as most types of summer squash known in the U.S.A., Cucurbita pepo. This species includes pattypan squash, zucchini, and yellow crookneck squash, as well as the Jack-o-lantern pumpkins used on Halloween.

Delicata squash are easily grown. Seeds are started after all danger of frost is past and the soil is warm or within 3–4 weeks before the predicted last frost date in the area. Seeds directly sown are placed one inch deep, 5-6 to a hill; hills are 6 feet in all direction from other hills. Roughly 105 days after germinating, delicata squash are ready to be harvested. Curing takes approximately a week in a warm dry place such as a garage, protected from frost.

Delicata squash is most commonly baked, but can also be microwaved, sautéed or steamed. It may be stuffed with meat or vegetable mixtures. The seeds of the squash are also eaten, usually after being toasted. This squash is not as rich in beta-carotene as other winter squashes, but is a good source of dietary fiber and potassium, as well as smaller amounts of vitamins C and B, magnesium, and manganese.

Indigenous to North and Central America, squash were introduced to early European settlers by Native Americans. "'Delicata' was first introduced by a seedsman in the USA in 1894 (Tapley et al. 1937[4]), but a fruit very much like those of this cultivar was illustrated by Naudin (1856[5])." (Paris 1989[6]). As a cultivar, is "more or less unique and is not readily classifiable in any one modern group" (Paris 1989[6]). The standard delicata is vinous; however, bush varieties have arisen including 'Bush Delicata',[7] and seed sellers offer varieties with more sweetness as 'Sugar Loaf'[8] and 'Honey Boat'[9]


  1. ^ Stoner, Kimberly A.; Eitzer, Brian D. (2012). "Movement of Soil-Applied Imidacloprid and Thiamethoxam into Nectar and Pollen of Squash (Cucurbita pepo)". PLoS One (e39114) 7 (6). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039114. 
  2. ^ Robinson, R. W.; Decker-Walters, D. S. 1997. Cucurbits. CAB INTERNATIONAL.
  3. ^ "Cucurbita pepo (Delicata Squash)". 2010-11-18. Retrieved 2010-11-18. 
  4. ^ Tapley, WT, WD Enzie & GP Van Eseltine. 1937. The vegetables of New York, Vol. 1, Part 4. JB Lyon, Albany, NY, 131 pp.
  5. ^ Naudin, C. 1856. Nouvelles recherches sur les caracteres spécifiques et les variétés des plantes du genre Cucurbita. Ann. Sci. Nat., Bot., ser. 4, 6:5-73, 3 plates.
  6. ^ a b Paris HS. 1989. Historical Records, Origins, and Development of the Edible Cultivar Groups of Cucurbita pepo (Cucurbitaceae). Economic Botany 43,4:423-443.
  7. ^ Ferriol M, Picó B. (2008) Pumpkin and Winter squash. in: J Prohens, F Nuez (eds) Handbook of Plant Breeding Springer New York. pp 317-349.
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