Here in Costa Rica, where the seasons have nothing to do with summer and winter and squashes of all kinds grow year round, I have run into a problem. My garden is producing an overabundance of squash. In particular, it is producing an overabundance of squash I never heard of before, and I can’t remember where the seeds came from. Yes, people probably gave me seeds and told me what they were, but that was so long ago.
It took a lot of searching the web before I could conclude that what I have so far is kabocha squash and cushaw squash. Kabocha is a lovely dark green, sort of an acorn squash color and cooked the same way.
This is good because I know what to do with an acorn squash. Baked with brown sugar and sprinkled with nuts is good. So is stuffed with sausage, mushrooms, bread crumbs and such. It sounded to me like kabocha can be made into a meal.
Cushaw is different, very different.
In the first place, cushaw (if that is indeed what it is) is huge. The first one I picked weighed almost 9 kilos – nearly 20 pounds! What am I supposed to do with a squash that big?? I am used to cute little squashes. Nice little zucchini and yellow summer squash that I could sauté with onions and mushrooms and serve as a polite side dish. Or acorn squash and my new friend the kabocha, but now I have a monster squash that would take months to use up! Come on, 20 pounds of squash? My husband is tolerant but daily squash? I don’t think so. So I surfed the net.
Sweetened squash, roasted squash, sautéed squash. Okay there are a lot of recipes out there, but a month? Then I found a note that spoke of cushaw as animal feed and remembered my chickens. As it turns out, chickens love cushaw squash and the recipes I found said that the bowl of the squash is often tough or stringy. “Tough or stringy” sounds just like chicken feed, so I got out my blender and chopped it up along with the seeds.
As it turns out, chickens do indeed like a little chopped squash with their feed. Now all I need to figure out is how to use the rest of the darn thing.