The History of Butternut Squash

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The butternut squash is related to the pumpkin.
The butternut squash is related to the pumpkin. (Image: assortment of autumn squash image by Roslen Mack from Fotolia.com)

Squash has been eaten for well over 10,000 years and began as wild squash, which was grown in Guatemala and Mexico. This type of squash had little flesh and was bitter to taste. There are now varieties of squash that have been transformed into more meaty produce with a mildly sweet taste.

Biology

The butternut squash is a member of the gourd family in the Curcurbita moschata species and related to the pumpkin.

Origin

Native Americans once believed squash was so nutritious that "they buried it along with the dead to provide them nourishment on their final journey." Squash was originally grown for the seeds because they were believed to increase fertility; however, with the evolution of the butternut squash, plants produced fruit that had a thicker skin, fewer seeds and less waste. Butternut squash has a buttery orange flesh and a sweet taste.

Geography

The butternut squash is a Native American gourd, which wasn't commonly eaten until the 19th century, but is now "the most widely grown winter squash." They are planted during the summer months and are in full season during October and November, although they can be eaten year round. Florida is the largest producer of butternut squash in the United States.

References

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