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‘Tis the Season for Squash

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Squash near Berlin, Connecticut, roadside stand (U.S. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, 1939)

Once Autumn hits the Northern Hemisphere we begin to see a plethora of gourds, such as pumpkins and squash, popping up all around our towns and homes. We use them as decorations to signify the season, as well consume them in pies, casseroles, and even beverages!

Squash and pumpkins are angiosperms (flowering plants) and part of the order Cucurbitaceae, which is known as the cucumber family. This order also includes melons. Characteristically referred to as gourds, pumpkins and squash belong to the genus Cucurbita and are exclusively American (South and North America) in origin.

The word squash comes from the Narragansett Native American word askutasquash, which means eaten green or eaten raw/ uncooked. Check out our Everyday Mystery “How did squash get its name?”  to learn more about its fascinating history and interesting facts.

For all the squash enthusiasts looking for time-honored recipes to prepare this season- look no further. The Library’s culinary specialist has made a few selections from the Library’s Community Cookbook Collection (1872-1923).

  • Pentucket Housewife: A Manual for Housekeepers and Collection of Recipes. Contributed by the Ladies of the First Baptist Church Haverville, Massachusetts (1888). This book has recipes for squash breakfast cakes (p.52), squash Indian cakes (p. 52), squash rolls (p. 52), and squash pie (p. 63). For the squash pie you might want to use the butternut or acorn squash. Also check out the images of utensils including a squash strainer on p. 144.


  1. hmm, i never eat uncooked winter squash. it’s funny that the word comes from something meaning that specifically! thanks for the fun post.

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