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Tinda (Indian squash) Nutrition facts

Tinda gourd (Indian squash) is a small, spherical, low-calorie vegetable grown in Northern India, Pakistan, and other Asian countries for its mild-flavored, soft flesh. Nutrition profile/100 g: 21 calories, Vitamin C-18 mg (20% DV), and Iron-0.90 mg (9%a

Tinda or Indian squash is a small, flattened-round fruit in the Cucurbitaceous family eaten as a vegetable in India, Pakistan, and some East African countries.

Scientific name: Praecitrullus fistulosus.

It is the only member of the genus: Praecitrullus, and has close genetic relation with ash gourd and watermelon. It is also called by various names like Indian squash, apple gourd, etc.

Tinda squash
Tinda gourd. Note for light green, smooth skin produce.

Tinda is a monoecious plant, grown as an annual climbing or trailing crop in well-drained sandy soils. After a couple of weeks of seedling, it bears many tiny yellow flowers that may require honeybees for pollination.

Tinda is a flattened round squash in size, ranging between 2 to 4 inches across. Externally, often its light green skin surface is hairy, especially in young, immature fruits.

Inside, its white flesh is soft, with soft, ovate seeds located chiefly at its core. Tinda has a neutral flavor and tastes somewhat described as light-sweet like a bottle gourd.

Tinda are ready to harvest in 12-15 weeks from sowing, depending on temperature and growing conditions. Young fruits are harvested while just short of full maturity to use as vegetables.

Health benefits of Tinda gourd (Indian squash)

  1. Tinda gourd is a very low-calorie vegetable; just holds 21 cal/100g, relatively the same calories as in pumpkins (26 cal/100g).

  2. Nonetheless, it carries ample concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that help in overall health and wellness.

  3. Indian squash peel is a good source of dietary fiber which helps in smooth bowel movements and offers protection against colon cancers by eliminating toxic compounds from the gut.

  4. Tinda squash is gluten-free food item and is one of the better alternative food substitutes for people suffering from a spectrum of gluten-related disorders. Gluten is a protein molecule in foods that causes severe food intolerance in non-celiac (gluten sensitivity) as well as celiac disease patients.

  5. Fresh Tinda squash holds relatively more amounts of vitamin-C (18 mg/100 g or 20% of RDA /100 g) than cucumbers. Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant that plays a role as an immunity booster, collagen synthesis in bones, cartilage, and blood vessels, and aids in the absorption of iron.

  6. It provides small amounts of (5 μg/100 gm) of folates. Folate is an essential element for cell division and DNA synthesis. When taken adequately during early pregnancy, it may help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn.

  7. Being a squash vegetable, it is very low in sodium but composes higher amounts of potassium, an important intra-cellular electrolyte. Potassium is a heart-friendly electrolyte and helps bring the reduction in blood pressure and heart rates by countering the pressing effects of sodium.

  8. Further, Tinda squash carries modest levels of other B-complex groups of vitamins like thiamin, and riboflavin, and minerals like calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.

  9. In traditional ayurvedic medicine, Tinda squash has been thought to be alkaline in nature, and hence its consumption has a cooling and neutralizing effect on stomach acids and as such used effectively for treating digestive ailments like hyperacidity, dyspepsia, and ulcers. It is also used to treat diabetes.

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:

Tinda gourd (Praecitrullus fistulosus), raw, Nutrition value per 100 g.

(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Principle Nutrient Value Percent of RDA
Energy 21 Kcal 1.5%
Carbohydrates 3.6 g 3%
Protein 1.4 g 2.5%
Total Fat 0.2 g 1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 1.6 g 5%
Niacin 0.300 mg 2%
Riboflavin 0.08 mg <1%
Thiamin 0.04 mg 3.3%
Vitamin-C 18 mg 20%
Calcium 25 mg 2.5%
Iron 0.9 mg 11%
Phosphorus 24 mg 4%
Carotene 13 μg

Selection and storage

Tinda gourd is available around the year in the Asian markets. Tinda squash can be easily bruised owing to its smooth, delicate skin and should be handled with care. Farmers generally pack them in cardboard boxes to markets to protect their skin.

Choose firm, bright, young, and spherical tinda squashes in season. Buy fresh, average-sized fruits with clean blossom tips and stem spots.

Avoid large, tough skin as they are over mature and therefore, unappetizing. Also, avoid any, if spotted with a surface blemish, damaged, cuts/punctures, etc.

At home, keep a vegetable tray inside the refrigerator for use within 1-2 days. Avoid extended storage in the refrigerator since they sustain a chill injury.

Preparation and serving methods

Before employing them in cooking, wash tinda squash in clean running water and dry them using a clean cloth. Peeling is not always necessary. If you wish, gently peel very superficial skin.

Given their spherical shape, tinda squash makes perfect vegetables for stuffing. You can also use them cut diced or in slices as you desire in the recipe. They can also be employed as a wonderful substitute for recipes that call chappan kaddu (Indian summer squash), bottle gourd, small squashes, or similar cooked cucurbit fruits.

Here are some serving tips:

  • Peeled, fresh and tender tinda squash cubes/slices can be eaten raw in salads.

  • Prepare Punjabi style, tinda masala sabzi with tomatoes, garam masala powder, onion and garlic.

  • Prepare simply masala stuffed (bharwan tinda recipe) or more exorbitant Shahi tinda recipes with stuffed paneer, cashews, raisins and spices.

Safety profile

Tinda squash consumption rarely causes allergic reactions. However, inadvertent consumption of unfit, bitter fruit results in poisoning due to toxic compounds such as cucurbitacin. Toxicity occurs when a raw bitter (toxic) tinda gourd is consumed either directly or in the form of juice.

Incidents of serious illness and deaths have been reported in India after the consumption of bitter tinda gourd and bottle gourds. Symptoms may include vomiting, stomachache, and diarrhea and can occur within minutes of ingestion of poisonous juice which may follow serious illness like bleeding from the gut, shock, and death.(Medical disclaimer).

Also read ≻≻

≺≺ Chappan kaddu nutrition facts.

≺≺ Snake gourd nutrition facts.

≺≺ Crookneck squash nutrition facts.

≺≺ Bottle gourd nutrition facts.

≺≺ Back to Vegetables from tinda gourd (Indian squash) nutrition. Visit here for an impressive list of vegetables with complete illustrations of their nutrition facts and health benefits.

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Further reading:

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database.

  2. Plants for a future-Benincasa hispida - (Thunb.)Cogn..

  3. Asian melons (PDF).

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