Squash is native to Central America and Mexico. Archaeological evidence suggests squash may have been first cultivated 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. They were first cultivated specifically for their seeds since early squash did not contain much flesh. Over time, squash cultivation spread throughout the Americas, and varieties with a greater quantity of sweeter-tasting flesh were developed.
Squash was one of the “Three Sisters” planted by Native Americans. The Three Sisters were the three main native crop plants: maize (corn), beans, and squash. These were usually planted together, with the cornstalk providing support for the climbing beans, and shade for the squash. The squash vines provided ground cover to limit weeds. Christopher Columbus brought squash back to Europe from the New World, and like many other Native American foods, their cultivation was introduced throughout the world by Portuguese and Spanish explorers. Continue reading