Dear Fresh Farms Customers,
This week we have decided to highlight a winter favorite, butternut squash. After a lot of research, I am happy to bring you this week’s amazing fruit and complimentary recipe…Enjoy!
Country of Origin
The phrase, “as American as apple pie” has been used to describe things that our country has either created or adopted so readily that it becomes a household staple; things like baseball, reality television and the butternut squash. Butternut squash is as American as apple pie. When researching this weeks chosen ingredient, I assumed that it would have been made popular by its use within Polish soups or possibly as a staple given to use by the Central and South American countries where butternut squash is mainly harvested; I was wrong.
Butternut squash is the de facto Frankenstein’s monster of the squash world. The man who reportedly bread the strain we now know and love was neither a farmer nor a scientist though, his name was Charles A. Legget and hailed from Stow, Massachusetts. Stow is renowned for its popularity as a weekend getaway during apple-picking season, much like parts of Wisconsin, like the areas around Lake Geneva, are in Chicago. Legget wasn’t a farmer or a scientist, but he was driven by his need to support his family.
He owned land on which he attempted to grow corn, to no avail. His land was no good and seemed as if it wouldn’t grow anything of value until necessity drove him to experiment. He started cross-breading squash. After crossing the Gooseneck squash, which were long and gangly, and difficult to transport because of their irregular shape, with other varieties such as the Hubbard squash that was very large, with a hard skin and flesh that was also hard to cut.
After some tinkering, Legget brought his new fruit to market in Waltham, Mass where it enchanted those that saw it as it was, “”smooth as butter and sweet as a nut.” So, it was called the butternut squash. Mr. and Mrs. Legget went on to market their miracle squash to people of all sorts that came to seek it out for its unique qualities. With his new creation Legget went on to live a comfortable life, a real rags-to-comforts American dream.
Butternut squash’ primary use is as a base for soups, primarily butternut squash soup. Butternut squash is as comfortable of a food as milk is as a drink. Its buttery yet nutty flavor situates it within a place on the palette that makes one think of their family sitting around the dinner table on cold nights when the warmth of good company is most eagerly appreciated, those days your mom took off of work to take care of you when your runny nose and next-to-evil cough. That sentimental notion, along with its self-acclaimed culinary qualities, is what makes butternut squash, “as American as apple pie”.
Worldly Wednesday Recipe
This week I was so tempted to tell you the entire, PERFECT recipe for savory butternut squash soup that I make for my friends and family…but I decided not to… yet. I will save that for one of the appetizers to compliment my meal on Fancy Friday so stay tuned! This week I chose (drum rollllll)…Mashed Butternut Squash with Indian Spices! Our family has always had a strong tie to the Indian and Pakistani community within Chicago, my grandfathers best friend was Indian and neither of them spoke a word of English…seeing them interact was just about the most adorable thing I have ever seen. Point being, we want all of our customers to appreciate the bounty our world provides through the beautiful, distinct cultural tastes that surround us in Chicago, a cultural Mecca.
With fragrant Indian spices such as coriander, turmeric and black mustard seeds, this recipe is like the cousin to butternut squash soup that has an accent that accompanies its amazing stories at your family holiday party. The squash can be mashed, or even pureed, to your preference although I suggest you leave it a little chunky to offer some texture to compliment either chips or toasted pita chips.
Preparation Time: 40 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Dietary Preference: Vegetarian
I have been raised within a family of first-generation Greek Immigrants, working in a company that surrounds itself with more ethnicities and cultures than I can ever hope to fully understand. Though, each week I further study the foods we sell, the recipes they are part of and the cultures they derive from my appreciation for difference and the beauty that comes with it grows. I hope this World Wednesday has sparked your interest and look forward to continuing with you on this pursuit of food-knowledge!
Fresh Farms International Produce Market
Director of Marketing and PR
“Mashed Winter Squash with Indian Spices.” Food & Wine. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Jan. 2014.