Weekly Share September 27th – October 3rd

Cushaw Winter Squash
Lacinato Kale or Collard Greens
Sweet & Cubanelle Peppers
Late Season Tomatoes
Chioggia Beets
Eggplant Mix
Something Extra

This week’s share is a strange mix of summer and fall. We are feeling the early fall crop losses from our crazy August weather and the intense bug pressure it brought in its aftermath. It’s a reminder that even though the weather is currently perfect (who could ask for anything better), we are also dealing with what came before. Because of the absence of early fall crops and an abundance of winter squash this season, we thought we might as well send along the beloved Cushaw a little early. Cushaw squash has a very long history, thought to have been domesticated between 7000 & 3000 BC in Mesoamerica, it has deep roots throughout Appalachia, Louisiana, and the Southwestern US.

“The word cushaw is derived from an Algonquin word, although the plant itself ultimately derives from the indigenous peoples of Central America and the West Indies, possibly Jamaica.  In Jamaica they replaced the edible gourds that West and Central Africans were used to.  When African Virginians moved across the Piedmont into the Appalachians, they brought the sweet potato pumpkin with them, and like the banjo (Kimbundu: mbanza) it became part of Southern Appalachian culture.  Cushaws are made into cushaw butter, pie filling, puddings, and are cooked on their own. ”         – The Cooking Gene by Michael Twitty

“The flesh is light-yellow; it is mild and slightly sweet in flavor; meaty in texture and fibrous. It is sometimes called cushaw pumpkin and is often substituted for the standard, orange, jack-o-lantern pumpkin in pie-making. The cushaw has a green summer squash flavor and scent to it. It has a smoky-ness in taste and is moist without being wet. It is used for both savory and sweet dishes and is great for northern climates because it provides vitamin C for the winter and stores very well. In some Native cultures, the seeds are toasted for snacks or ground and made into sauces and moles. The flowers are stuffed and/or fried……
Author Lois Ellen Frank (Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations) cites the Akimiel O’odham and the Tohono O’odham, whose homeland stretches from Phoenix, Arizona, to east central Sonora, Mexico, as cushaw growers. The land is some of the hottest and driest in North America; cushaw, a heat-hardy plant, is grown there with the summer rain. In addition to the plant’s tolerance for heat, the green-striped cushaw’s large, vigorous vines are resistant to the squash vine borer, which kills other squash and pumpkin plants that aren’t protected with pesticides. This quality may account for the green-striped cushaw’s longevity—natives could count on it when other species didn’t survive.” –  Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity

To learn more about Cushaw squash visit the Slow Food Foundation website or check out The Tennessee Farm Table podcast “Cushaw Squash” episode (11/2/19, season 6 episode 31).  These squash can be extremely large, which can be a bit overwhelming for our modern day kitchen and is likely the reason they can be hard to find at farmers markets or at farm stands, as everyone is looking for small. Some of ours this year exceed 20lbs, so you might be getting a half squash or a whole. If your piece is cut open, please process within 7 days. If you get a whole, you can store in a cool (55-60degree) place for up to 3 months. Not in the mood for squash pie, process and freeze for future use; just cut into large chunks, remove seeds (delicious toasted) , roast for 45minutes, scoop out flesh and puree. Many great recipes are below, I’ve made the squash pie recipe for 10 years and it is a huge crowd pleaser, but only when I use the cushaw squash, you can substitute fresh ginger, add a slight bit extra squash, but do not cut the brandy or heavy cream. Enjoy the share….Autumn & Brian

Roasted Red-Pepper Salad with Anchovy White Beans

Dijon Vinaigrette with Frisée, Artichoke & Pepper Salad

Eggplant with Kale, Tomatoes, & Ricotta

Beet & Blue Cheese Salad

Greens and Cheese Vegetable Lasagna

Cushaw and Shrimp Curry Bisque with Mustard & Collard Greens

Moroccan Cushaw Salad

Rich Squash PieThe Fannie Farmer Cookbook
Basic Pastry Dough for a 9” pie shell
1 cup pureed cooked winter squash
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
3 Tbls brandy
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp powdered ginger
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp mace
Preheat the oven to 425. Line a 9” pie pan with pastry dough. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and beat until smooth and well blended. Pour into the lined pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300 and bake for 45-60 minutes more or until the filling is firm.

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