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10 Ways to Use Gourds & Winter Squash

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10 Ways to Use Gourds & Winter Squash

I think it’s a shame that pumpkins get hijacked by Halloween. Although they make a brief comeback for Thanksgiving in pie form, their curtain call comes much too early in the season. So what’s a pumpkin-loving girl supposed to do? This one makes a quick shift to other members of the Cucurbitaceae family: gourds and various winter squash. They don’t put me in a dizzy swoon quite the same way pumpkins do, but they’ll suffice. Gourds are great for cool-weather crafts, and winter squash will supply the awesome fodder for delicious dishes all the way until strawberry time (known by some as “spring”).

Gourds and squash are actually fruits by botanical definition–but because they are treated more like a vegetable than a dessert, they are typically considered vegetables. Most commonly, gourds are the product of the species Lagenaria siceraria (the calabash or African bottle gourd), native to Africa. This species is thought by many to be the oldest plant domesticated by humans.

Some gourds are put to culinary application, but most are used in the form of a vessel; think bowls, bottles, yerba mate cups, musical instruments, and birdhouses. Winter squash is used more for food than decoration. Following are ideas for ways to use both.

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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6:30AM PDT on Aug 30, 2014

Squash is my favorite! Thank you for the article.

5:59PM PDT on Aug 28, 2014

A variety of delicious recipes featured here. I certainly like the ideas shown here of using gourds for bird feeders, lamps, a garland and other things. Gourds are fascinating and have a marvellous and natural look to them.

The snake gourd is certainly also colourful and interesting to look at along with the swan gourd and a variety of others that one will come across when looking at different types of colourful gourds.

1:24AM PDT on Jun 15, 2014

Thaks, great ideas.

12:27PM PDT on Jun 1, 2014


8:31PM PDT on Apr 21, 2014

Thank you!

6:33AM PDT on Mar 20, 2014

Thanks for sharing

10:28AM PDT on Mar 15, 2014

thank you

11:19PM PST on Mar 5, 2014

Thanks for sharing!!

2:58PM PST on Jan 27, 2014

Never heard of eating gourds.

10:42PM PST on Jan 16, 2014


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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