I love interesting and unique plants, that make people oooh and ahhh when you describe it, or better yet show it off. As a seed steward, I especially like the plants that let me have my cake and eat it too, so to speak. Winter squash is one of them; the seeds are ripe at the same time that the fruits are ready to eat. Win, win!
My friend Joe is also a fan of the weird stuff and tips me off when he finds something cool. Usually he’ll give me a sample, or a tour of the beautiful jungle that is his perennial food forest behind Mosswood Farm Store in Micanopy.
About a month ago, he handed me this beautiful light blue-ish green squash. Basically he said: “This is delicious, grows like a weed, takes over the garden. You really need to offer this in the seed collective.”
Behold! She was a real beauty! I left her to sit on the kitchen table for awhile to let the seeds plump up, and the flesh sweeten. Plus I wanted to admire it a bit longer. It’s kind of my thing to let vegetables sit on the table as long as possible. That’s why I have a whole series of “Arthur & The Squash” photos of my kitty lounging amongst squashes of different kinds throughout the year.
I conveniently received this gift on the day I was to give a talk at a local library about summer gardening. I always like to have a pretty display with me. Perfect! She went well with my other treasures, some dried okra, celosia, and dill.
Today, I finally got around to eating it. I’ve been busy and in a cooking slump lately, so it took me a long time to get my butt in gear! I cut it into chunky rounds and removed the seeds, which ended up being pretty easy to clean compared to other squashes.
I baked at 400F for about 40 minutes and covered lightly with a piece of foil. I also had some butternut squash and so I roasted that too. I was way too tired and uncreative to make anything awesome with them, so I simply spooned out the flesh and ate it, as is.
The texture was super smooth and creamy, with great squashy flavor. In my opinion it had much better texture and flavor than it’s butternut cousin. The butternut is more fibrous and not nearly as flavorful. This would make a great ingredient for a pie, bread, soup, or curry.
I let the seeds sit in water for about 4 hours to do a light ferment (not necessary but some like to do it), then dried them out on a napkin for several days before storing them. Ideally, I’d have seeds from a dozen or so different squashes, but I’ll get some more from Joe, mix em up, and plant a crop sometime next season. Fortunately because it’s a Cucurbita maxima and not C. moschata, I don’t need to worry about them cross-pollinating with my precious Seminole Pumpkin. So I can grow both. IF there is room! Both are vigorous vining, climbing beasts.