This crazy weather has my gardening instincts in an uproar. It was warm enough last week that I had deep-seated urges to plant stuff outdoors, but right now the forecast is for 29 degrees overnight tomorrow night, not very salubrious for seeds sprouting outdoors. Meanwhile, inside, the two or three remaining winter squashes I have left in storage are restive, the seeds inside begging to sprout.

I’ve tried to imagine something different to do with butternut squash. I made two or three kinds of soup, roasted it, used it in pie and in a casserole with corn and peppers, simply steamed it and mashed it up with brown sugar and butter — all perfectly acceptable ways of cooking winter squash. Thumbing through a stack of recipes, I have turned up a summer squash fritter recipe, but I thought, why not winter squash along the lines of a potato pancake? I put together a variation on those once with mixed root vegetables such as rutabagas, carrots and turnips, and they were very good. Doing it with butternut, buttercup or Hubbard squash merely extends the idea.

I chose to season my squash fritters with cumin and garlic, and they were delicious. Chili powder, onions, shallots, taco seasoning — if that is what you have — or curry powder would be good, too. You can plop a little sour cream on top if you like or a sprinkle of cheese. I used two cups of squash and ended up with five 3-inch fritters. If that were a side dish, you could figure on five servings. You can even make them smaller to use as an appetizer.

You don’t need oil for deep frying, just enough to make the fritters crisp around the edges.

Winter Squash Fritters

Makes five fritters about 3 inches in diameter

2 cups of shredded raw squash

2 tablespoons of flour

2 beaten eggs

2 teaspoons of cumin

1 teaspoon ground celery seed

2 cloves of garlic pureed

Salt and pepper to taste

Oil for frying

Beat all the ingredients together. Drop spoonfuls on a hot, oiled frying pan. Fry each side about three to four minutes, or until they are tender inside and golden brown outside. Serve with sour cream.

Looking for … Easter favorites. What else do you have for dinner besides roast lamb or baked ham for Easter? Is there some interesting side dish you have a recipe for? I mean, something besides scalloped potatoes. I’d welcome a new idea or something terrific to do with leftover boiled Easter eggs.

Send queries or answers to Sandy Oliver, 1061 Main Road, Islesboro 04848 or email For recipes, tell us where they came from. List ingredients, specify number of servings and do not abbreviate measurements. Include name, address and daytime phone number.

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working...