Saturday, September 28, 2013

What the Heck is a Cushaw?

While browsing through Hoosier Harvest Market, trying to decide what to order, I saw this squash:

I had no idea what it was, or what to do with it. I've never heard of a cushaw, but I figured I'd give it a try. 

After googling for a bit, I found out that it's similar to a pumpkin in taste, but a little sweeter. You can substitute it for pumpkin in just about any recipe, but you may have to cut back on the sugar. I found a recipe for cushaw pie, and decided to try it. You can find the recipe here

This big squash was a little intimidating at first, but I figured I may as well dive right in. I started by cutting off the neck, slicing into rounds and cutting away the rind. 

Next, I cut it up into chunks and began cooking it down. I read several websites about cooking it down. Some suggested roasting, some in the microwave (in small batches) and other said on the stove top in a large pot with water. All of them said that the neck pieces were firmer and would take longer, so I went ahead and threw them in a pot of water on the stove and began working on the rest of it. 

I used my cookie scooper to clean out the insides. Side note-that's the best way to clean out a pumpkin for Halloween too! 

You can clean off the seeds and roast them like pumpkin seeds, but I decided to toss them out to the chickens. They loved it! It was so much fun to watch them chase each other around and steal pieces from each other! 
I finally realized cutting off the rind would take forever once I had this sliced up, so I decided to peel it with my vegetable peeler. Much easier! 

After the whole thing was peeled, chopped, and cooked to fork tender, I pureed it down. It took me two rounds in my food processor. 

The recipe I used only calls for two cups, so I bagged the rest of it up and tossed it in the freezer for later. 

With the rest of the squash stowed away, I made the pie. The verdict? Delicious! I ordered another one from the market for next week. I can't wait to try more recipes with cushaw!