Can you eat cross pollinated squash? No, eating cross-pollinated squash isn’t the best idea as they may contain a large concentration of cucurbitacin, so eating any squash that you are unfamiliar with may be injurious.
So, if you find your garden producing “volunteer” zucchini or acorn squash that you did not plant, or you grow ornamental pumpkins and gourds alongside squash, you should totally avoid them.
A vegetable that contains a high concentration of cucurbitacin will be extremely and unpleasantly bitter, so if you bite into squash and tasCan You Eat Portobello Mushroom Raw?te a nasty flavor, spit it out and toss out the vegetable.
Eating even a small amount of such vegetables can make you terribly ill and cause terrible side effects.
Why is Cross Pollinated Squash Toxic?
The Cucurbitaceae family plants produce a toxic compound, cucurbitacin, which acts as a natural defense against insects.
Wild squash, cucumbers and other cucurbits contain substantial amounts of cucurbitacin, but domesticated varieties usually contain a very small amount that isn’t harmful to humans.
Due to the relatively large concentrations of cucurbitacin in wild cucumbers and squash, they are highly bitter. The domesticated variety that is grown in gardens and bought in the store tend to have less but varying amounts of the bitter compound.”
Some factors that increase the concentration of this compound in squash and other produce include cross-pollination with wild plants, some type of stress during growth like lack of adequate water or poor fertilization.
The word Cucurbitaceae may seem foreign to you, but chances are you’ve eaten some before.
Cucurbits are a gourd family of flowering plants that include pumpkins, cucumbers, melons, and squash; they make a delicious and healthful addition to your diet. However, consuming the wrong plant could also make you quite ill.
The toxic compound called cucurbitacin that some squash especially cross-pollinated ones, contain can cause cucurbit poisoning, also known as toxic squash syndrome when consumed. This should not be confused with toxic shock syndrome.
The journal of the American medical association made a publication in march 2018 that tells a report of two French women who became violently ill and had massive hair loss following an unrelated case of cucurbit poisoning.
This doesn’t mean you should discard every zucchini or cucumber in your pantry. Although it can be quite serious, the chances of cucurbit poisoning occurring is very low.
To protect yourself and your family, you need to learn how cucurbit poisoning occurs, how to avoid it and steps to take if you or any member of your household should ever contract toxic squash syndrome.