History of Cucurbita Moschata (Butternut Squash)

The apple of God was an expression given to the squash by the Native North American Indians. They believed squash seed would increase fertility if they were planted close by from the settlement. Having such strong belief associated with a fruit led to a significant attachment to the Native Americans’ diet.  The name squash is an abbreviation of the word askutasquash from the Narragansett Indian language. The Iroquois called them “isquoutersquash’’.Squashes are true natives of the “New World” and are ubiquitous throughout both North and South America. The turban squash came from Brazil; the Valparaiso was from Chile; the Hubbard originated in the West Indies; and the cushaw was first found in Florida.

The Spanish explorer, Francisco Pizarro, discovered winter squashes in Peru and brought seeds back to an unenthusiastic citizenry in his country. Archaeologists uncovered stems, skins, and seeds of summer squashes in the caves of the Tamaulipas Mountains of Mexico dating back between 7,000 and 5,000 BCE.

The butternut squash according to Mrs. Doroty Legget was a crossing between a Gooseneck squash and a Hubbard squash.  Charles A. Legget, husband of the late Mrs. Doroty Legget , was interested in crossing these two varieties in order to obtain a compact but tough squash  in order to facilitate the transportation process. Mrs. Legget declared  the name of the squash was invented by Mr. Legget’s observation of the squash as  “ smooth as butter , sweet as nut”.

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