Cucurbita moschata is the botanical term for a variety of squashes and pumpkins that are produced in parts of South America and northern Central America. Also known as winter squashes, these pumpkins and squashes are usually distinguished by their five-angled, twisted fruit stem.
Winter squashes generally grow in summer and autumn months and can be stored throughout the winter season.
Varieties of cucurbita moschata are generally more heat and humidity tolerant as compared to cucurbita maxima or cucurbita pepo. These winter squash varieties are also more resistant to insects and diseases.
Popular Winter Squash Varieties
- Calabaza- It is an annual trailing wine which bears fruit that are bright orange in color. Calabaza is also known as butter nut squash. It is used as a vegetable in a variety of dishes. The fruit is considered a rich source of vitamin B, whereas the flowers are rich in calcium, iron and phosphorus.
- Dickinson field pumpkin- A popular variety of Cucurbita moschata, it is one of the commercially canned pumpkins.
- Long Island cheese pumpkin- This winter squash resembles a wheel made of cheese. This pumpkin variety is suitable for making flavorful pumpkin pies.
- Seminole Pumpkin- It is a variety of winter squash produced by Seminole Indians of Florida.
- Neck pumpkin- Suitable for making pumpkin pies, this variety is popular in Mid- Atlantic state of U.S.
Cucurbita Moschata Uses
- Protection against intestinal worms- The seeds of winter squash varieties are useful in preventing and controlling the growth of intestinal parasites and worms.
- Relief in prostate gland disorders- The seeds help in treating prostate gland disorders. In a clinical study, it has been found that the seeds help in reducing the gland swelling and control diuresis. The phytosterols present in the seeds are thought to be responsible for reducing the enlarged prostate gland.
- Rich source of nutrition- Winter squash varieties are a rich source of calcium, zinc, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium A, alpha and beta carotene.
- Preventing kidney stones- The seeds of winter squashes are often used as home remedy for treating kidney stones.
Storing Winter Squash
Winter squashes should be stored in cool, dry and frost-free place. Apples and pears should not be kept near to squashes as the emission of ethylene by them can lead to rotting of squashes. Rotten cucurbita moschata should be not be used for consumption.
Butter nut squash variety of cucurbita moschata usually weighs up to 50 pounds.