Q. I thought butternut was a winter squash but I have two in my CSA share this week and it is certainly not winter. I’m confused. — A.B.
A. Good question. Because most squashes are available year-round we find out from whatscookingamerica.com that it has become a matter of usage, or common nomenclature, that the terms “summer” and “winter” are still used.
” ‘Summer’ types are on the market all winter; and ‘winter’ types are on the markets in the late summer and fall, as well as winter, according to this source. This terminology was never meant to confuse — it just dates back to a time when the seasons were more crucial to man’s survival than they are now. ‘Good keepers’ became known as winter vegetables if they would ‘keep’ until December.
“Winter squash comes in shapes round and elongated, scalloped and pear-shaped with flesh that ranges from golden-yellow to brilliant orange. Most winter squashes are vine-type plants whose fruits are harvested when fully mature. They take longer to mature than summer squash (3 months or more) and are best harvested once the cool weather of fall sets in. They can be stored for months in a cool basement-hence the name “winter” squash.”