Summer Squash vs. Winter Squash



Summer SquashDo your kids know the ways that summer squash and winter squash are different? It’s not as easy as it sounds!

Here’s a fun quiz to see how well they (and you!) know your way around squash. The answers contain explanations and additional information.


1. Which picture shows summer squash and which shows winter squash?

2. Which kind of squash, summer or winter, is harvested in late summer and fall?

3. Which kind has thin, tender skin?

4. Which kind takes longer to mature and so needs a longer growing season?

5. Which kind likes to be refrigerated?

6. Which kind of squash is great for stuffing or baking?

7. Which kind is generally smaller in size?

8. Which kind is a great source of vitamins C and A?

9. Which kind has darker-colored flesh?

10.  Which kind can you use to make yummy desserts?

winter squash rudi riet flickr


1. Which picture shows summer squash and which shows winter squash?

The picture at the top of the post, which includes zucchini and yellow squash, is summer squash. The larger picture, just above, is winter squash. Pumpkins are perhaps the best known variety of winter squash.

2. Which kind of squash is harvested in late summer and fall?

Winter. Even though it’s harvested in summer and fall, winter squash stores so well you can find it year round–even in the dead of winter.

3. Which kind has thin, tender skin?

Summer. Summer squash is easy to cut and it doesn’t have to be peeled–you can eat the whole thing.

4. Which kind takes longer to mature and so needs a longer growing season?

Winter. Winter squash takes two to three times longer to mature than summer squash–from 80-120 days. That’s three to four months, so you have to be patient if you’re planting winter squash seeds!

5. Which kind likes to be refrigerated?

Summer. Summer squash will stay fresh in the refrigerator for about a week; winter squash prefers storage warmer than a fridge but cooler than the house. A garage or outdoor storage shed is ideal.

6. Which kind of squash is great for stuffing or baking?

Winter. Because the skin of winter squash is tough and rigid, it keeps its shape in the oven.

7. Which kind is generally smaller in size?

Summer. If left unharvested, a zucchini can grow up to three feet long and weigh several pounds, but the world record pumpkin was as big as a mid-sized car and weighed in at 2,325 pounds! (No wonder Cinderella’s fairy godmother used a pumpkin for a carriage!)

8. Which kind is a great source of vitamins C and A?

Both! All varieties of summer and winter squash are rich in vitamins C and A (in the form of beta-carotene), two antioxidants that help prevent cancer, heart disease, and some eye problems. They are also good sources of fiber.

9. Which kind has darker-colored flesh?

Winter. And the darker the flesh of the squash, the more beta-carotene and other nutrients it contains. Winter squash is also a good source of iron and riboflavin.

10. Which kind can you use to make yummy desserts?

Both! Think zucchini bread and pumpkin bread. But if bread doesn’t do it for you, think winter squash (pumpkin) pie!

Yours factually,

Barbara Jean the Story Queen

Healthy Food

Information adapted from, Cooking Light: Summer Squash and Cooking Light: Winter Squash. Summer squash photo used with permission via Tim Sackton, flickr. Winter squash photo used with permission via creative Rudi Riet, flickr.



First, a disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a chef. I’m not even a mom. What I know about healthy food and healthy eating I’ve learned by reading and doing, just like you.

What I am is a children’s book author. A Story Queen! My area of expertise is FUN. In the last dozen years, I’ve written a number of entertaining, award-winning picture books–about monsters, cats, Disney princesses–and veggies, of all things. 

I’m big on imagination. Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli encourages kids (the way my dad encouraged my siblings and me) to think of broccoli as crunchy, munchy, fun-to-eat trees. Once Upon a Parsnip is a fairytale rematch between Little Red Riding Hood (a vegetarian) and the Big Bad Wolf (NOT a vegetarian). Scary fun!

On the surface, neither of my veggie books is really about healthy eating–they’re just plain fun. But the fun is subversive: both books introduce and normalize the idea of eating healthy, fresh-from-the-garden vegetables. (Never underestimate the power of fun to get your kids to try something new!)

My goal in these pages is to find and share fun ways to introduce fresh fruits and vegetables to children and to normalize healthy foods and healthy eating in their experience. My means is to expose them–through you, their parents and caregivers–to food-friendly books, videos, downloadable and printable posters and coloring pages, hands-on activities and kid-friendly recipes. Anything that equates healthy food and FUN!

I’m here for you–to help you make healthy eating feel as natural to your children as breathing.

Because healthy food and healthy fun make healthy kids. And that’s something all of us can get behind.


Barbara Jean Hicks, a.k.a. “The Story Queen”

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To purchase signed, personalized copies of my picture books, visit the “Books” page on my website.  To contact me about my well regarded young author presentations for schools, or for other enquiries, send an email from the “Contact” page at I look forward to hearing from you!

2 responses on “Summer Squash vs. Winter Squash

  1. John S Green says:

    I got them all correct (both for Vit C & A) except I answered winter for deserts and pies—sorry zucchini…

    • Barbara Hicks says:

      You are one smart Papa! My dad grew zucchini and my mom made sweet zucchini bread (delicious warm with butter melted on it!). I guess some people might call it a bread instead of a dessert, but not in my book!

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