19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Sunday, September 27, 1914: <<no entry>>
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Sigh. .. Another day with no diary entry. so here’s a trivia question:
Question: Did Grandma’s family eat butternut squash? . . . zucchini?
I found a picture of squash varieties in a hundred-year-old book on vegetable gardening—and was surprised that it did not include either butternut or zucchini squash.
I then did a little research and was amazed to discover that neither butternut nor zucchini was available in the US a hundred years ago.
The Silvia International website states:
Butternut squash, also known in some countries as the butternut pumpkin, is the most popular of the winter squash, and was originally developed in Massachusetts in the 1940s.
According to Wikipedia:
The first records of zucchini in the United States date to the early 1920s. It was almost certainly brought over by Italian immigrants and probably was first cultivated in the United States in California.
32 thoughts on “Squash Varieties a Hundred Years Ago”
I am always amazed with your ingenuity in coming up with these interesting posts for days when Grandma said little. I am thinking I have learnt a lot from you which will stand me in good stead.
Thank you for the kind words. I have a lot of fun researching posts, and it’s nice to hear that you appreciate it.
Interesting! My mom only planted yellow “crookneck” squash. Once in awhile, someone would give her some of the little yellow white “simlins” – I have no idea how to spell that, or what the real name for them is – and she would cook those with her crooknecks.
I’m guessing that her parents weren’t familiar with the zucchini or butternut, so she just went with what she knew!
It’s interesting how different words are used in different parts of the country. I think that a simlin squash what I’d call a pattypan squash. . . and what the old picture caption called a scallop squash.
I had never even heard of zucchini until an Italian neighbor gave me some from her garden in the 1960s. I had no idea what to do with it.
I didn’t realize that butternut squash didn’t come along until the 1940s.
This is really interesting. Zucchini’s are so ubiquitous now, and it’s amazing that they were still an unusual type of squash in the 1960s.
Wow great tie bits of history! I would have guessed that they at both and would have got the answer wrong! Happy Saturday! Hugz Lisa and Bear
I also found it really interesting.
I totally forgot about that hubbard squash until you mentioned it. That was a favorite of my mother. Haven’t had it in ages!!!
I still try to buy a hubbard squash each fall. The farmer that I usually buy it from says that I’m one of the few people who still buy them–and that of those who do purchase them, most think that they are a type of gourd and just use them for decorating purposes.
We are huge squash fans in this house and can’t imagine summer without zucchini. Funny how things we take as commonplace today were rare and special just a few decades ago. My mother still remembers her first banana!
Improved transportation across the years has really increased the availability of tropical fruits in northern colder climates.
Huh! That’s so interesting! My favourite is spaghetti squash and it wasn’t around during the time of this diary either.
So, how did this Chinese squash make its way to America? You will never guess! (No, it wasn’t via Marco Polo.) In the 1930’s, the Sakata Seed Company, a Japanese firm, was looking around for new types of plants to promote, and came upon the Chinese squash. They developed an improved strain and introduced it in seed form around the world. The Burpee seed company in the US first picked up and marketed Sakata “vegetable spaghetti” seed (as it was then called) in 1936.
info found here: http://www.allaboutspaghetti.com/spaghettisquash.html
What an amazing story! It’s surprising how global the seed market was by the 1930s. Who would have guessed?
Hmm Very interesting stuff…
I’m sometimes are very surprised about which things are new (or have changed) over the course of the last hundred years.
And so many changes sneak up on us when we’re not looking …
I do love zucchini and some of the other squashes. Odd that those two were not available in your grandma’s time.
It is interesting that several of the most popular squash varieties now weren’t available back then.
How very interesting. I would have guessed that zucchini was here for much longer.
I think that zucchini would have been available in Italy a hundred years ago–but that it hadn’t yet made its way to the US.
Amazing. Your blog is so thought provoking. Mahalo!
Aloha! It’s nice to hear that you are enjoying it.
What! How amazing. I had no idea.
I also found it surprising.
For some reason I feel kind of disappointed.
Sheryl, you really do a nice job making up for when Grandma had a “no entry” day.
Thank you for the kind words. I have a lot of fun researching and writing these entries, and it’s nice to hear that you appreciate it.
I love to see the different varieties. I planted squash seeds of a variety called “Turks Turban” earlier this year, but though there have been lots of flowers I don’t think I’m going to get any squash now. I’m a little disappointed because the patterns are very pretty. I never cease to be amazed by the new squashes I come across.
It’s too bad that your Turban squash plants didn’t get any squash on them. I’ve occasionally seen them at the supermarket; and they look like a fun variety.
Maybe next year! 🙂