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Don't Squander The Squash

Though winter squash is now plentiful, many cooks ignore this veggie's edible pleasures.

Linda Hart displays a Seminole pumpkin grown on her farm in Fellsmere. “It is an indigenous fruit that has been growing around here for hundreds of years,” she says.

Linda Hart displays a Seminole pumpkin grown on her farm in Fellsmere. “It is an indigenous fruit that has been growing around here for hundreds of years,” she says.

It’s that time of year when the winter squash crop, planted in the summer through Labor Day, is at its peak. Hubbard, acorn, butternut, pumpkin, buttercup, banana and spaghetti – among the most common – are plentiful on supermarket shelves and at farmers markets. Winter squashes can be the base for an appetizer soup, a main course, side dish or dessert.

Yet, despite their versatility, many cooks shy away from including winter squashes in their repertoire. As one local grocer commented, “We carry a few, but most people don’t know what to do with them.”

Sad, but true. In a era when “fast” home cooking is the norm and often the necessity, today’s cooks may be daunted by the colorful and curvaceous squashes with their hard rinds – some smooth and others knobby – and unfamiliar origins. They may appear out of place in the produce section among such common green vegetables as broccoli and asparagus.

Read the entire article in November 2012 issue