Sunday, September 27, 2015

White Cushaw Squash

Cushaw squash in the field (my foot for reference)
You may not know this about me- I am a master gardener intern. I have wanted to do this for years but there was always a reason that I couldn't. My daughter is now in high school, so I decided to start classes. I justify it by saying that I am modeling life long learning for our daughter. But the reality is I love gardening and I wanted to learn more. I like the people I meet gardening and I love my presentation topic-- hedgerows (I know it is a strange thing to be fascinated by but I am).  So, I finally get to learn all kinds of things about plants and I get to play, I mean volunteer, in a garden that donates its produce to Saint Charles Food Pantry and Synergy Services (the garden is Atkins Johnson in Gladstone). It is a beautiful garden. It is all heirloom (pre1900- and has the neatest variety of okra (fife creek cowhorn okra). Fife Creek Cowhorn Okra is available from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds --- why is it so great? Because it stays tender even after it is 7 to 8 inches long.... so if you are like me and love okra but forget to pick your okra daily --this is the okra for you. Okra is also one of the prettiest growing veggies. Yes, I will be growing this okra next year.

The other amazing crop is white cushaw squash. It is a real thing and it is amazing. It tastes a 1000 times better than pumpkin. White cushaw is an heirloom squash from the south (1891). It is easy to grow (so I've been told), resistant to squash bugs, and yields a lot of giant squash.  When I say giant- I mean giant-- they weigh 30-40 pounds.

I ended up with a squash (be still my heart) and here is what I did:

I chopped up the neck of the squash, peeled it, diced it, and froze it in vacuum bags for the winter. It made a ton. I will use it in soups, pies, and casseroles this winter.
Bags of diced squash
I chopped the body of the squash in half,

The inside of the squash
dug out the seeds and roasted the squash halves for one hour in a 350 degree oven.

Roasting squash

I let it cool, pureed, drained, and froze it in vacuum bags.

Draining the squash- it has the consistency of baby food
I did take two cups of the pureed squash and made a custard like pie.

I roasted the seeds for about 25 minutes in 325 degree oven. Yum! My only complaint is I would have liked more seeds....