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Harvest of the Month

December - Winter Squash

Winter Squash
Delicata, Acorn, and Butternut... oh my!  There are a plethora of winter squash varieties just waiting for you to try!  Here's an extensive list, for those curious enough to try them all.  What makes winter squash different from its summertime counterpart?  The rind.  Winter squash is harvested in the fall when the seeds have matured fully and the skin has hardened into a tough rind.  This thick, protective layer allows the squash to keep throughout the winter, making it a staple in dishes during the colder months. The skin is inedible in all winter squash varieties EXCEPT delicata squash, which can be eaten rind and all. What is your favorite kind of winter squash?

History
Squash plants are native to Central and North America, and have been a staple food for cultures in those areas for at least 10,000 years. The Wampanaog and other native peoples taught early European colonists how to grow and prepare squash, and from there it has spread into becoming a popular food enjoyed around the world today. There are many different kinds of
winter squash. Some types are grown for their edible seeds, others for making containers or for decoration (like a jack-o-lantern!), but most of all they are grown for their fleshy fruit. Winter squash are in the cucumber, or gourd family, of plants, known in Latin as Cucurbitaceae. Other related plants include cucumbers, zucchini, and watermelon.


Benefits
Winter squash is rich in Vitamin A, important for eye health; Vitamin C, important for immune system function; and fiber, important for digestive health.


Fun Facts
  • “Squash” comes from the Narragansett Native American word askutasquash, which means “eaten raw or uncooked."
  • The world's largest squash was a green squash weighing in at 2118 pounds!

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