This green and white striped winter squash is native to the Americas, quite similar in flavor to pumpkin, and is known for its large size and crooked-neck shape.
Squash is native to the Americas and the Cushaw squash specifically has long been selected for and loved by Indigenous communities. It can store for many months, and while fruit size does vary quite a bit, they tend to grow fairly large. Plants have beautiful white speckled leaves that grow along prolific vines.
Flavor profile: Most similar to pumpkin, Cushaw squash has a rich, sweet flavor and moist creamy texture when cooked. It’s a very versatile squash that can be used to make just about anything that calls for squash.
Uses: This is a versatile squash you can use as you would any other for both sweet and savory dishes. Typically it’s boiled or roasted and the soft flesh scooped out from the harder skin. Native communities have also long cooked and preserved squash in a sweet syrup, similar to ayote dulce or candied squash desserts.
Pairs with: fats, salt, nuts, root vegetables, greens; sweet syrup, piloncillo, cinnamon, allspice, etc.
Storage: Cushaw squash has a hard skin that helps it store for many months in cold, dry storage. Place in your garage or any unheated area over the winter and it’ll last up to 6 months or more.
Other names: Because Cushaw squash has been cultivated for so long in the Americas, it is known by many names in many different indigenous languages. But in general, the word “squash” comes from “the Narragansett Native American word askutasquash, which means “eaten raw or uncooked.”
Nutrients: The Cushaw squash itself, its seeds, the young leaves, and the flowers are all highly nutritious and delicious. Cushaws contain high levels of a wide array of vitamins and nutrients, including vitamins A, B6, & C, folate, carotene, potassium, calcium, and iron. They’re know for aiding in a variety of ailments including having anti-inflammatory properties and aiding pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
History: The center of origin for Cushaw squash is thought to be around what is now southern Mexico, but if didn’t take long for it to travel up through northern areas of the Americas.
Why it's a great crop: Squash are an incredible staple crop to help us get through long winters, providing so much food just out of a single squash. Their hard skin helps them store for up to 5-6 months or more.