Squashes, Winter (Pumpkins and Other Large Types): Banana squash

Cucurbita maxima

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The Banana squash (Cucurbita maxima) pictured is petite for its kind, weighing in at 15 pounds—with a potential for 100, advises Glenn Drowns. The Creamsicle-peach torpedo is one version of a variety introduced in 1893, according to William Woys Weaver, who writes in Heirloom Vegetable Gardening: “The original variety was bluish gray with light orange striping. In storage, this color changes to a creamy pink. After the turn of this century, Aggeler & Musser, a Los Angeles seed firm, selected out three separate colors from the original introduction: a solid bluish gray, a solid yellow, and an orange-pink with flesh-colored stripes.” The third is the only one in commercial production, a state of affairs that Drowns laments, for he cherishes the drier and richer Blue Banana. The Pink Banana is favored in the West but rarely reaches the East—which is a shame. Although the Pink may not be as memorable as the Blue, it is a most likable squash: easy to handle, with little waste, and its mild, lightly sweet flesh tastes fruity and buttery. The texture can be especially creamy—as if butter and cream had been whisked in.

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