April was, and the first part of May will be, marked by the consumption of the last two winter squashes. Then the asparagus and rhubarb takes over.

This year our best keepers are scarlet kabochas, with bright orange skins and flesh. They stored beautifully, keeping solid long after the buttercups and butternuts got age spots and wrinkles. Late winter and spring seem to me to be the squash-eating time of year, even though they crop up in grocery stores in September.

September is when we have green beans, corn, tomatoes, zucchini and summer squash. I don’t even want to think about winter squash for another two months, or root vegetables either. Besides, in December and January we have Brussels sprouts, leeks, and cabbage to think about. Our household is not synchronized with commerce’s clock.

For two people and only the occasional third, or more, one squash can be quite an assignment. Fortunately, we really like the stuff and it is susceptible to lots of kinds of cookery: chunks lightly coated in olive oil and roasted at a high oven temperature, or cut small and pan roasted. It is good steamed and mashed with butter and brown sugar. I love it mixed with corn and have been exploring it combined with black beans for a taco and enchilada filling.

In soup, winter squash is sublime. It obligingly freezes well for thawing and heating for lunch on chilly June days when cold ocean breezes remind islanders that summer most definitely isn’t here yet.

I had squash soup for the first time probably in the late 1970s among vegetarian back-to-the-land types. It was merely cooked, pureed squash, with milk added, cooked slowly for several hours and seasoned with salt and pepper. That was all, but what a revelation.

My first gander into squash soup making was adding broth and milk to a bit of leftover squash casserole that had corn, onions and peppers in it, seasoned with garlic, cumin, coriander and chili powder.

That was followed by the discovery of a curried squash apple soup in a newsletter published by Southport islander Karyl Bannister. That soup was so wonderful that I began thinking of winter squash more often as a soup ingredient than as a winter vegetable side dish.

The generations of the squash soup family we make at our house now show a multitude of variations with descendants in both the squash and milk and the squash and broth sides. In both branches are Asian curries, Mexican and Caribbean seasonings, and herbed versions. Lately I have fantasized about Moroccan seasonings and wondering how squash would work with leftover couscous or rice in it and maybe chickpeas. I haven’t even begun to add meat, though a friend served up a fabulous lightly curried squash soup with tiny smoked Maine shrimp, which I thought was very fine.

Usually, but not always, I base the soup on leftover cooked squash. When I find moldy spots on stored squash it is nearly always turned immediately into squash soup base, that is, cooked with sautéed onions and garlic added to it. Sometimes I freeze that, but more often I proceed to soup and freeze any excess for a fast meal or two later.

When I am ready to assemble a soup, I figure out what vegetables will go into it and put those in, often leftovers themselves. If I do the squash-apple one, then I cut up raw apple and stew it with squash and broth until the apples are soft. Then I add milk and/or broth. Then come the seasonings.

Just think of the variations possible merely with milk! There is good old plain milk. There is the time-honored island habit of using evaporated milk instead of cream. There is half-and-half and cream, light, medium or heavy. No milk? How about sour cream thinned with broth? Or a chunk of cream cheese dissolved in it? Or yogurt? I’ve never used them myself, but there are various lactose free and soymilk sorts.

Then this winter, we had the good fortune to realize that coconut milk worked perfectly well and a new kind of squash soup was born at our house. I suppose this was not a unique discovery; surely some other someone somewhere thought of this too, though we felt like we had discovered jewels in the backyard.

Here is how to make the three current favorite squash soup variations: “Three Sister Soup,” “Thai Squash Soup,” and “Curried Squash and Apple.” These are extremely elastic recipes, merely guidelines for assembling ingredients together to make an agreeable whole that can be slightly different each time you make it.

“Three Sister Soup,” named for the squash, beans and corn of Native Nations, starts with a pile of cooked orange winter squash to which you add sautéed onion and garlic (or you can add the squash to them). Then stir in cooked beans, like kidney beans, great northerns, jacob’s cattle or any cooked bean you like, and whole kernel corn, fresh, frozen or canned. Thin it out with chicken or vegetable broth to the consistency you prefer, season with salt and pepper, and your choices of cumin, chili powder and coriander.

“Thai Squash Soup,” the recent addition to our line-up, is made by combining sautéed onions, garlic and a bit of finely minced fresh ginger, with cooked squash, thinning it out with coconut milk, and adding one of the several sorts of Thai curry pastes to taste. Fresh scallions and cilantro added at the very last minute is lovely. This soup would benefit from the addition of little Maine shrimp or perhaps scallops or chicken.

“Curried Squash Apple” is best made with more squash than apple, and you can start out as usual with sautéed onions, then drop in the uncooked squash, a couple apples, and sprinkle them over with curry powder while they cook. Or start with cooked squash. When everything is soft, add chicken or vegetable broth, and mash or puree the whole, and tinker with the seasonings until they are right for you. This is good with cream or a bit of sour cream added at the very last, or added earlier but never allowed to boil.

See? You can do this, too.

Sandy Oliver cooks and writes on Islesboro.