If you enjoy gardening, you likely have grown some variety of squash. You may have wondered, is Italian squash the same as zucchini? With so many different varieties, it can be confusing to know which squash is which.
Due to its abundance and versatility, many people choose to grow zucchini in their gardens. This beloved veggie goes great with both savory and sweet dishes. It is a popular squash that has a great flavor and texture.
Is Italian Squash The Same As Zucchini?
Zucchini is a variety of summer squash that is popular in Italian cooking due to its heritage. It is notable for a slightly sweet, mild flavor that makes it ideal for sweet and savory dishes. In sweet dishes, it provides moisture to the dish without affecting the flavor.
So is Italian squash the same as zucchini? Well, since zucchini is so popular in Italian cooking, it is sometimes referred to as Italian squash. However, there are also other varieties of summer squash that are referred to as Italian squash. The term is used frequently in culinary terms.
Some recipes will use the terms zucchini and Italian squash interchangeably. If it is an Italian recipe, there is a good chance that it will say Italian squash when referring to zucchini.
Summer Vs Winter Squash
There are many different types of squash that can be broken into two different categories: summer and winter. The biggest difference between summer and winter squashes is their skin. Winter squashes have a hard skin, whereas summer squashes have soft skin.
The tougher skin on winter squash allows them to survive cold temperatures. Unlike winter squashes, the skin of summer squashes can be eaten.
Summer squash has a moist interior and is great for eating raw, frying, grilling, sauteing, and baking. Winter squash does not taste good raw and is a better option for baking and cooking. Both types are ideal for both sweet and savory dishes.
The most popular summer squashes include zucchini, yellow squash, and Patty Pan. The most common winter squashes include acorn, butternut, and spaghetti. Both winter and summer varieties are full of beneficial nutrients and make a wonderful addition to your diet.
Though it is often referred to as a vegetable, squash is technically a fruit. However, culinarily wise it is generally prepared as a vegetable.
History Of Zucchini
Summer squash dates back thousands of years to 5500 BC to Central and South America. It was an important part of their diets, as it provided an excellent source of nutrition.
It is believed that Italians are responsible for breeding modern zucchini, hence why it is sometimes called Italian squash. The zucchini they grew comes from squash that came from colonial America. In fact, the word squash actually translates to “Zucca” in the Italian language.
The zucchini we know and love today came from Milan, Italy during the 19th century. Different early varieties come from areas near Milan in Italy. During the 1920s, Italian immigrants brought it over to America and it soon became a staple in many gardens and kitchens.
In some places, such as the United Kingdom, it is called courgette. It is a popular plant as it is easy to grow in many summer climates and is great for gardeners of all experience levels.
Zucchini is low in calories and is heart-healthy. Though it is typically green, it can also be yellow as well in color. However, yellow zucchini and yellow squash are two different things, though they are both a variety of summer squash.
How To Grow Zucchini
Zucchini grows best in rich, organic soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.5. They strive in full sun, though they can often grow in partial sun as well. They are a hardy plant and will produce an abundance of fruit when healthy.
It is best to plant your zucchini three to four inches apart when the temperature of the soil is between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. They need regular watering, around one to two inches a week. The ideal time to harvest them is when they are five to eight inches long.
Once you harvest it, zucchini will last for around one week, maybe two depending on the conditions. You should store it in a cool, dry location such as the crisper drawer of your fridge.
Common Recipes That Use The Italian Squash, Zucchini
There are many recipes that call for zucchini thanks to its high moisture level and mild flavor. It is a common addition to many summer dishes, as that is when it is most plentiful.
There are many popular savory dishes that use this common summer squash. In Italian cuisine, it is popular to stew it with tomatoes, olive oil, and fresh herbs. In addition, it is often sauteed and served with pasta, herbs, and cheese.
One of the most popular zucchini dishes is ratatouille, which also includes other summer vegetables and olive oil. In addition, is also common in soups, casseroles, or even by itself.
In baking, it is a popular choice for bread, as it provides an incredibly moist texture. It is also used for cakes, cookies, and muffins.
Italian Squash And Zucchini: The Same Thing
If you see a recipe that calls for Italian squash, it is safe to assume that it is referring to zucchini. Though summer squashes go back thousands of years to Central and South America, zucchini actually comes from Italy. It wasn’t until the 19th century that people began to grow it in Italy before it quickly spread all over the world.
Squash Italian, as some might say, can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. It is quite simple to grow, as it just needs rich, organic soil, full sun, and one to two inches of water a week. It is also extremely healthy and versatile due to its mild flavor and moist texture.
Do you have any questions regarding is Italian squash the same as zucchini? If so, please ask any questions regarding squash, for both the summer and winter kinds, in the comment section below.