Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Heirloom Squash Update


In my previous post, Squash Roundup I shared about growing two new heirloom squashes this year. At the time I made the post, we had yet to taste test these two varieties, and I promised to update you after we did.....so here goes!




The two varieties are Marina di Chioggia (green, on the left) and Australian Butter Squash. ( pale orange, on the right) I like how they looked here....displayed in the natural light near a window.






Marina di Chioggia, up close and personal. This is a good sized squash, and nice looking too, with it's dark green warty surface, along with a turban shaped bottom. Taste? In a word, disappointing. Lacked the sweetness we like and the texture was moist and fibrous.






Australian Butter Squash. The description of this squash in the seed catalog had my mouth watering! "Sweet, dense, deep orange flesh that is dry with a very small seed cavity. When roasted, it's custardy, silky-smooth texture is scrumptious instead of or alongside potatoes with roasted meat and fowl or in a melange of roasted root vegetables sparked with herbed olive oil, balsamic vinegar and citrus zest." Whew! It is a beauty with it's lovely pale buff-orange color and pumpkin shape. This was my largest...11 inches in diameter, and weighing in at almost 10 lbs! But in spite of it's physical virtues, the real test comes down to TASTE. Again.... a disappointment. :-( We like our squash sweet with smooth, dry flesh (which the catalog claimed) but found it not sweet enough, too moist, and not at all smooth textured.


Perhaps these two varieties will develop more flavor and dryness in storage. (one can hope?) But the bottom line is that they will not be making a repeat appearance in our garden next year. We will stick with our all time favorites: Sunshine, Butternut, Buttercup, and Sweet Meat. These have never disappointed, and are always a delicious treat!


UPDATE!! January 20, 2009 - After a couple months in storage, the flavor and texture of both of these squashes improved immensely! The texture is smoother and drier, and the the sweetness also developed, especially so in the Marina di Chioggia. So in all fairness, I must say that both turned out to be great tasting squash after all....they just needed a little more time to mature. They will probably make it back on the roster for next year! A good plan would be to eat the other varieties first, and save these for last.


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'Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure."


George E. Woodberry



14 comments:

O.I.M said...

too bad about the taste tests. I always wonder who writes those garden catalogue descriptions. I always feel like they know exactly what I want. it makes me feel like i really, really need whatever I'm reading about. of course, if that didn't happen those writers wouldn't be doing their jobs very well :) at least you can always rely on your favourites.
irena

Grace Peterson said...

They sure would look pretty as fall decorations.

Grace Peterson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anna said...

I am studying the seed catalogues and squashes now so most interesting to hear how these taste :)

sweet bay said...

Thank you for the update. It's always good to hear first hand experiences. The squash are beautiful even if the taste isn't there. Happy Thanksgiving!

Bren said...

These are wonderful treasures from the garden. Thank you for sharing and a very Happy THanksgiving weekend to yoU!

Cat said...

I'm with you on the disappointment scale, Connie. They MUST taste good in order to make it to the finals in our gardens! I haven't even tasted any of mine yet, but got home yesterday after nearly 2 months away, and will catch up on tasting soon.

em said...

connie, i really appreciate posts like this... i keep seeing all these heirloom plants and want to grow them but am tired of disappointments like these also. i grew fordhook acorn squash and was unhappy with its flavor so far. next year i'll put in some butternuts just to be sure i have some i like! thanks.

Roses and Lilacs said...

I haven't tried the heirloom squash. Too bad it gets a poor rating in flavor. Sometimes the newer hybrids are really an improvement.
Marnie

ChrisND said...

It is interesting to know how things turned out...we are looking at trying some new winter squash next year -- plenty of time to decide what. We only got two large pumpkins this year...the one did make some great desserts though.

Organic Plant Fertilizer said...

very nice n innovative posting .both squash is looking very nice.

Muhammad khabbab said...

I think even if they don't taste great, they are very pretty as fall decoration.

Lisa said...

these would look fabulous on a thanksgiving table!

Anonymous said...

I have just recently found last summer that many winter squashes improve substantially in flavor and texture in cool storage of six plus weeks.

I had no idea. You would think that at least one seed company would mention that.

Black Forest kabocha, c. maxima, changes from bland taste to something incredible. A gardener says ideally they should stay on the vine until the leaves and vines are dry.

From wiki:
"When kabocha is just harvested, it is still growing. Therefore, unlike other vegetables and fruits, freshness is not as important. It should be fully matured first, in order to become flavorful. First, kabocha is ripened in a warm place (77 °F) for 13 days, during which some of the starch converts to sugar content. Then it is transferred to a cool place (50 °F) and stored for about a month in order to increase its carbohydrate content. In this way the just-harvested, dry, bland-tasting kabocha is transformed into smooth, sweet kabocha. Fully ripened, succulent kabocha will have reddish-yellow flesh and a hard skin with a dry, corky stem. It reaches the peak of ripeness about 1.5–3 months after it is harvested."