Cucurbita (Latin for gourd) is a genus of herbaceous vegetables in the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae (also known as cucurbits or cucurbi) native to the Andes and Mesoamerica. Five species are grown worldwide for their edible vegetable, variously known as squash, pumpkin, or gourd, depending on species, variety, and local parlance,[a] and for their seeds. Other kinds of gourd, also called bottle-gourds, are native to Africa and belong to the genus Lagenaria, which is in the same family and subfamily as Cucurbita, but in a different tribe. These other gourds are used as utensils or vessels, and their young fruits are eaten much like those of the Cucurbita species.
Most Cucurbita species are herbaceous vines that grow several meters in length and have tendrils, but non-vining “bush” cultivars of C. pepo and C. maxima have also been developed. The yellow or orange flowers on a Cucurbita plant are of two types: female and male. The female flowers produce the fruit and the male flowers produce pollen. Many North and Central American species are visited by specialist bee pollinators, but other insects with more general feeding habits, such as honey bees, also visit.
There is debate about the taxonomy of the genus, as the number of accepted species varies from 13 to 30. The five domesticated species are Cucurbita argyrosperma, C. ficifolia, C. maxima, C. moschata, and C. pepo. All of these can be treated as winter squash because the full-grown fruits can be stored for months; however, C. pepo includes some cultivars that are better used only as summer squash.
The fruits of the genus Cucurbita are good sources of nutrients, such as vitamin A and vitamin C, among other nutrients according to species. The fruits have many culinary uses including pumpkin pie, biscuits, bread, desserts, puddings, beverages, and soups.
Curried Butternut Squash Soup
How’s the weather where you are? Is it cooling down yet?
If so, I have just the thing. If not, let’s pretend it’s rainy and cold and you’re in desperate need of something soul-warming.
How does soup sound?
But once fall hit, I couldn’t shake the idea of a curried butternut squash soup from my mind. It needed to happen.
History of Butternut Squash
It’s now used in many countries and cuisines throughout the world and for good reason! Not only is butternut squash versatile and delicious, but it’s rich in fiber, potassium, copper, manganese, vitamin A precursors, vitamins C, B2, B5, B6, B7, K, and more!
What is Curry Powder?
Curry powder is not a common ingredient used in traditional Indian cooking, but rather an invention of the British to evoke the flavors of Indian cuisine. The term “curry” in Indian cooking refers to a sauce or gravy served with vegetables or meat. (source)
With fall in full swing now (at least in the Pacific Northwest), the butternut squash is abundant. I’ve started grabbing one or two every time I’m at the store. I’m becoming that lady.
But how can I resist? Butternut squash knows no bounds.
I’m smitten with this soup. It’s:
& Perfect for chilly weather
This soup is ideal for evenings when you want something simple and healthy. Make a batch ahead of time to have on hand for the coming week. It would also be great for entertaining and taking along to fall gatherings.
What to Serve with It?
Although it’s great on its own, I can’t help imagine how delicious this soup would be with a sandwich – especially my Chickpea Shawarma Sandwich and Chickpea Sunflower Sandwich! Serious yum.
Or for something lighter, try this 5-Minute Detox Salad or Simple Green Salad.