Sasquash: When Gourds Attack

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"               

     --George Santayana, squash grower and part-time philosopher


I knew there would be consequences, but I went ahead and planted seven squash seeds in my backyard. Then, a perfect storm of hot weather and monsoon rains resulted in plants as fast-growing and unruly as a teenage boy. So read on, friends, family and colleagues, since there may be a squash or two in your future.

One of the oldest crops, squash were likely used as containers 10,000 years ago in Mexico, due to their hard shells. Later, the innards became a staple of the Pre-Colombian diet, and eventually Native American tribes grew many varieties (depending on location) and ate them roasted or boiled. Settlers in New England were initially unimpressed with squash, but became fans during the long and harsh winters, baking them with honey, syrup and animal fat.

Squash are divided into two categories: summer and winter. The summer variety includes crookneck, zucchini, scallop and straightneck, and are high in vitamins A and C and niacin. Winter squash get their name from the fact that they can be stored through the winter, with species such as butternut, spaghetti, and all pumpkins. They contain vitamins A and C, iron and riboflavin.

Summer squash have thin, edible skins, and, due to their high water content, can be salted for 15 minutes and then blotted to avoid mushiness. It's best to sauté, stir fry, deep fry or grill them, although they can also be added to sauces or casseroles.


Winter squash must be boiled, roasted, simmered, slow-cooked, steamed or microwaved, and the skin should be removed before cooking or serving.

Check out:


Squash: A Country Garden Cookbook (1994) by Regina Schrambling

The Veggie-Lover's Sriracha Cookbook: 50 Vegan Rooster Sauce Recipes That Pack a Punch (2013) by Randy Clemens

Sunset Edible Garden Cookbook: Fresh, Healthy Cooking from the Garden (2012)


What's Cooking America

The Food Network

How to Grow Birdhouse Gourds

bon appétit

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Written by Lisa on July 17, 2013


Mr. Greenjeans on July 17, 2013


Hilarious and all too true. I thought Santayana was an heirloom eggplant man, though.

Thanks for the recipe links!


Thank you for your comment, Mr. Greenjeans. I don't know if we could say that Santayana was an "heirloom" eggplant man, however. Since the eggplant was introduced to the United States by Thomas Jefferson (who also grew squash) that fruit (yes, it's a fruit) would have been too new to earn that label, assuming such a concept existed in those days...

Leigh Ann on July 19, 2013


Yummy...I could eat all varieties, all the time...thanks, Lisa, for the recipes & fun squash facts!

Laurie. on July 20, 2013


Thanks for all the cooking tips! I am ready to cook so you can send a few squash my way :)

CathyJ on July 20, 2013


I too am in the throes of major mea culpa due to the consequences of over-enthusiastic squash planting. Shall we form a support group? Sincere thanks for the links. I didn't know where to turn ...

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