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and the flowers (especially the surplus male flowers) of several species are sometimes eaten, and they, too, are sources of vitamins and minerals. In some species, the seeds are roasted and consumed as a snack and are often more prized than the flesh that surrounds them. The seeds can have protein and oil contents of 30–40 percent.
Five richly flavored Andean cucurbits are discussed below.
Zapallo (Winter Squash). The squash
(Cucurbita maxima), called “zapallo” (pronounced za-pie-oh) in the Andes, is of exclusively South American origin. Its center of diversity lies in northern Argentina, Bolivia, southern Peru, and northern Chile, but by the 1400s it had been spread northward throughout the warmer parts of the Inca realm.
At the time of Columbus, it was still confined to South America, but today it is widely grown throughout the world, particularly in Europe, India, the Philippines, and the United States. It is a winter-type
squash and includes the table vegetable most often called “pumpkin,” as well as many common vegetables called “squash.”