Wherein we provide a public service announcement.
A friend gave me a bunch of squash from her garden. Banana, Hubbard, and some unknown hybrids. I thought I’d bake them up and freeze the flesh, so I started attacking with my machete knife.
This weird grayish “unknown variety” squash was first, and it’s sibling was the next. those turned out not to look so great inside, so I tossed them and went on to the banana squashes, leaving the Hubbard squash for later. After much squash carnage in the kitchen, I had a huge pan of squash roasting in the oven.
That’s when it began. A weird feeling on my left hand like it had been coated with glue. The skin was tight and the sensation was diminished. All of my fingers and the outside edge of my palm were shiny and looked like they were coated with a film, that was partially peeling off. I washed with soap. I washed with Borax powder. I even scrubbed with Goo-Gone, thinking it was just some sort of residue from the squash. But then I wondered if maybe it wasn’t a residue that was peeling off, it was my skin.
The Pontiff took a look under strong light and magnifying glasses. Even he wasn’t sure, though he thought it was the skin coming off, like an acid burn. He suggested that I Google it.
Turns out it isn’t uncommon . Some people blame it on “Butternut Squash Dermatitis”. Others say it’s the sap-like substance that is exuded from the squash, and that the residue may take days to peel off. I can’t say for sure one way or the other, but I lean towards it being a superglue-like residue from the squash. It was gone after a day or so, and I don’t think peeling skin would have healed that quickly.
One way or the other, but I do know I won’t be cutting squash again without gloves. Oh, and if it happens to you, try a paste of baking soda on it first – it will neutralize any acid on your skin. Just in case.
And hey, I did get a lovely recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto out of it. (There are also some tasty-sounding recipes in the two links above, too.)