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Hokkaido

Winter squash, members of the Cucurbitaceae family and relatives of both the melon and the cucumber, come in many different varieties. While each type varies in shape, color, size and flavor, they all share some common characteristics. Their shells are hard and difficult to pierce, enabling them to have long storage periods between one and six months. Their flesh is mildly sweet in flavor and finely grained in texture. Additionally, all have seed-containing hollow inner cavities.

Hokkaido is from the Algonquin Indian words askoot asquash, meaning “to eat green” . This is a pumpkin with many names. It's called Potimarron in French, or Hokkaido Squash in English, or Kuri Pumpkin (from Uchiki Kuri in Japanese). An annual plant with trailing stems. Unlike summer squash, its skin is hard and inedible. Its origins remain obscure, and though it is found in America, it has also been grown in the Far East since time immemorial. The Japanese variety that is now best-known is from Hokkaido in northern Japan, where it is still referred to as "Chinese squash."

Hokkaido is an excellent source of vitamin A. It is also a very good source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, and manganese. In addition, winter squash is a good source of folate, omega-3 fatty acids, thiamin, copper, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, niacin and copper. Note that the more orange the squash, the higher its vitamin A content. This squash has excellent storing properties, and will keep until April of the next year in a dry cellar. The longer the fruit is stored, the higher its vitamin and sugar content. Its sweet flesh can be used in a wide variety of recipes.

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