Can you eat green squash raw?

In this short article, we will answer the question, “Can you eat green squash raw?” with an in-depth analysis of green squash, the health benefits of eating green squash, the risks of eating raw green squash, and how to store green squash properly. 

Can you eat green squash raw?

Yes, you can eat green squash raw. Green squash can be eaten raw or cooked since the flavors and textures differ. 

Raw green squash contains a high concentration of vitamins C and A, as well as potassium, magnesium, and folate. Its antioxidants are also preserved when eaten raw, which can help prevent cells from harm caused by aging and cancer (1).

If you wish to consume raw green squash, make sure it is fresh and free of blemishes and discoloration, and clean the squash’s outside with running water before eating it. 

Cooking it can make it simpler to digest, which can help some people absorb its nutrients more effectively. 

What are the health benefits of eating green squash raw?

Green squash has a wide array of nutrients that may prove to be beneficial for health in many ways. Some of them are described below(1-4):

Loaded with nutrients 

Green squash contains vitamins, minerals, and other useful plant compounds, such as polyphenols which act as antioxidants, thus protecting the cells against the damage caused by free radicals (4).

Improves digestion 

Water and both the soluble and insoluble fibers in green squash can help lower the risk of constipation. Soluble fibers also act as a source of food for beneficial gut bacteria (3).

Promote weight loss

Green squash is high in water and fiber yet low in calories. These characteristics restrict the appetite and aid in weight loss (2).

Increases healthy blood sugar levels 

Green squash has a low amount of carbohydrates and provides a good source of fiber. Diets rich in fiber from fruits and vegetables may assist in controlling blood sugar levels in diabetic patients (2).

Improve heart health

Green squash is a good source of soluble fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, all of which may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases (4).

Promote healthy vision 

Green squash offers beta-carotene and vitamin C, which promote healthy vision. It also has the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which help to reduce the risk of age-related eye problems(4).

What happens when you cook green squash?

Various cooking techniques can affect the nutrient content of green squash, resulting in some nutrients being lost. Water-soluble nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, and folate can leach out of green squash when boiled in water (3).

A high temperature or prolonged cooking process for green squash can also lead to some nutrient loss. While cooking has some disadvantages, it also has some advantages.

Cooking green squash brings out its natural sweetness and makes it soft and tender.

Another advantage of cooking green squash is that it can be simpler to digest. Cooking can break down the tough fibers present in raw green squash, making it easier for the body to digest and absorb the nutrients(2).  

Additionally, cooking green squash might boost the bioavailability of certain minerals, such as beta-carotene, which the body can convert into vitamin A. This can make it easier for the body to absorb and use these nutrients(1).

Cooking green squash can also help lower the risk of foodborne illness. On the surface of raw green squash, pathogenic bacteria or parasites can grow, causing disease if consumed. Cooking green squash kills bacteria and parasites, making it safer to eat (3). 

Finally, cooking methods bring diversity to your diet. Green squash can be prepared in a variety of ways, including roasting, sautéing, grilling, and baking, each of which offers distinct flavors and textures. This choice can benefit you in maintaining a healthful and enjoyable diet. 

What are the risks of eating raw green squash?

In most cases, raw green squash is safe to eat with few side effects that are given below (6,7).

This bitterness of green squash could indicate high levels of compounds known as cucurbitacins, which can be toxic. Consumption of foods rich in cucurbitacins has been associated with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, and even death.

However, these effects are not seen in commercially grown varieties. While cucurbitacin poisoning is serious, it is rare from store-bought green squash, as suppliers tend to selectively cultivate crops that have low amounts of cucurbitacins.

 Alternatively, be cautious when consuming wild green squash, as they are more likely to be rich in cucurbitacin compounds. That said, if you bite into green squash and it feels very unpleasant and bitter, it is best to spit it out and discard the whole fruit to avoid the risk of cucurbitacin toxicity.

Another potential side effect risk of eating raw green squash is bloating. This is caused by nutrients, including cellulose and soluble fiber, both of which produce gas (7). So always consume moderately.

As with any raw vegetable, there is a likely risk of a bacterial and parasitic infection and pesticide residue. To reduce the risk of food poisoning, wash the green squash thoroughly with cold water while scrubbing the skin with a soft rub.

Scrubbing the green squash before using it will help decrease bacteria on the peel and can also decrease pesticide residue found on raw green squash. To avoid the risk of pesticide residue, try to eat organic green squash. 

How to store raw green squash?

Following are some of the tips to keep your green squash longer(7):

  • Keep green squash in a refrigerator the moment you get them home.
  • Set them in tightly sealed plastic bags to prevent airflow.
  • Do not wash them before storage; the extra moisture can cause fungus to grow.
  • Do not slice green squash up before storing them.
  • Plan on six days’ storage for green squashes from a farmers’ market while four days’ storage for those bought from the supermarket.
  • Green squash can be frozen for a longer period. Cut the vegetables into half-inch-thick slices, blanch in salted water for two minutes, transfer to a bowl of ice water, dry well with paper towels, and freeze in sealed plastic bags.

What are the ways to enjoy green squash? 

You do not necessarily need to cook green squash. It can be eaten raw. However, the following are some recipes to enjoy raw green squash (8);

  • Shred raw green squash for a taco dressing or as a replacement for lettuce in a burger or a hot dog.
  • Use a peeler to make long, wide strips from green squash; serve raw tossed with peanut or any other sauce.
  • Replace diced green squash with celery in chicken, tuna, or egg salad.
  • Grill thick slices of green squash with sliced onion for an easy side dish.


In this short article, we have answered the question, “Can you eat green squash raw?” with an in-depth analysis of green squash, the health benefits of eating green squash, the risks of eating raw green squash, and how to store green squash properly. 


  1. Turkmen N, Sari F, Velioglu YS. The effect of cooking methods on total phenolics and antioxidant activity of selected green vegetables. Food Chem. 2005;93(4).  
  1. Dolinsky M, Agostinho C, Ribeiro D, Rocha GDS, Barroso SG, Ferreira D. Effect of different cooking methods on the polyphenol concentration and antioxidant capacity of selected vegetables. Journal of Culinary Science and Technology. 2016;14(1). 
  1. Turkmen N, Poyrazoglu ES, Sari F, Sedat Velioglu Y. Effects of cooking methods on chlorophylls, pheophytins and colour of selected green vegetables. Int J Food Sci Technol. 2006;41(3).  
  1. Díaz MTB, Font R, Gómez P, Río Celestino M Del. Summer squash. In: Nutritional Composition and Antioxidant Properties of Fruits and Vegetables. 2020. 
  1. Renna M, Signore A, Paradiso VM, Santamaria P. Faba greens, globe Artichoke’s offshoots, crenate broomrape and summer squash greens: Unconventional vegetables of Puglia (Southern Italy) with good quality traits. Front Plant Sci. 2018;9.  
  1. Entrenas JA, Pérez-Marín D, Torres I, Garrido-Varo A, Sánchez MT. Safety and quality issues in summer squashes using handheld portable NIRS sensors for real-time decision-making and for on-vine monitoring. J Sci Food Agric. 2019;99(15).  
  1. Sánchez MT, Pérez-Marín D, Torres I, Gil B, Garrido-Varo A, De la Haba MJ. Use of NIRS technology for the on-vine measurement of nitrate content and other internal quality parameters in intact summer squash for baby food production. Postharvest Biol Technol. 2017;125.  

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!