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Playing With Pumpkins & Winter Squash

By | 2018-05-31T13:38:27+00:00 September 28th, 2015|Categories: Autumn, Blogs, Late Summer/Transition, Nutrition Articles, The Seasons|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Playing With Pumpkins & Winter Squash

April Crowell, Dipl.ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

“Squash would be great for you to eat.”

It’s a common recommendation that I make.  And for good reason. Pumpkins and winter squash are the perfect food for strengthening your Spleen, Stomach and the core of your body.  But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

A Little History

Native to North America, we’ve been playing with pumpkins and winter squash for nearly 7,000 years.  The word pumpkin was actually first used by American colonists.  It’s a bit of a word play from British term ‘pumpion’ which originated from the Greek word “pepon” meaning “large melon,”  a term the Greeks applied to large round objects.

Pumpkins, squash and gourds are members of the enormously diverse Cucurbitaceae family, which contains more than 100 genera and over 700 species.  They have been providing mankind with food and utilitarian objects since before recorded history.  Names differ throughout the world, but in the United States, any round, orange squash used for pies or jack-o-lanterns is likely to be called a pumpkin.  But the term “pumpkin” really has no botanical meaning, as they are actually all squash.  Squash are divided into two categories: tender or summer squash, and hard-skinned or winter squash.  Examples of summer squash include zucchini, pattypan, straightneck, and crookneck squash.  Winter squash include small to medium hard-skinned squash such as the acorn, small hubbard, miniature pumpkin and spaghetti types, as well as the large hard-skinned types, including banana, butternuts, cheese pumpkins, cushaws, and large hubbards, among others.

During the late 1800’s pumpkins and squash were viewed as by the aristocracy as “poor people’s food.”  Something less than favorable for those who could afford to dine regularly on meats and rich foods.  Even today, squashes and […]