Gourds and Squash
December 3, 1492
On this day, Christopher Columbus noted in his diary:
"I climbed a mountain and came to level ground, which was sown with many different crops and gourds."
The gourds Columbus was referring to were actually squashes that were turned into utensils.
Many people confuse gourds and squash. So here’s a little gourd and squash trivia to keep your knowledge of gourds and squash sharp.
Gourds and squash are members of the Cucurbitaceae ("coo-kur-bi-TAY-see-ee") plant family, including over 700 species.
Both squash and gourds are fruits because they are part of the flower that contains the seeds, and like grapes, they grow on a vine. The fruits of gourds, squashes, and pumpkins are berries known as a pepo (“pee-poh”).
Loofahs are a type of gourd, and they come from the inside of a gourd. Pumpkin is a squash.
And while most gourds are not suitable to eat, squash has a mild taste and is delicious.
The main difference between summer squash and winter squash is how long they can be stored.
Summer squashes are soft-skinned, they're harvested in the summer, and they need to be eaten quickly (i.e., zucchini and yellow crookneck squash).
Winter squashes are hard-shelled squashes that can be stored for months (i.e., acorn squash).
Here’s a little gourd joke:
What vegetable keeps your garden safe?
A security gourd.
Lastly, if you enjoy puns, gourd puns abound on the internet, and they are truly the worst puns.
"You’d butternut forget to grow gourds… because they’re ‘gourd’geous!"