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Green-Striped Cushaws

green striped cushaw

Ever hear of a green-striped cushaw, aka Tennessee Sweet Potato Squash? It can be used as a fun decoration or eaten as a tasty “pumpkin” pie. I first grew it about twenty-five years ago when we lived south of Kansas City, well over one hundred miles south of our present home. I’d forgotten about them until last winter when I noticed them in a seed catalog and decided I need to try them again.

I started one green-striped cushaw seed last May in a grow/light box and transplanted it to our clay-filled hill garden. The plant spreads like a pumpkin—all over the place, and it’s normally prolific. However, this summer has not been a normal growing season. The excessive rains made it the worst gardening season I’ve ever experienced. The cushaw kept setting on fruits but they would quickly rot. Finally, two fruits persevered and matured. The picture above shows one of them.

sliced cushaw

 Cushaws are great for autumn decorations, but they’re also great for pies. I processed this cushaw just as I would process a fresh pumpkin. I removed the stem, scooped out the seeds, and cut it up in large slices.

                                                                                             cushaw in pans

I placed the slices on baking sheets, drizzled them with olive oil, and set them in the oven for about 40 minutes at 450 degrees. After the slices had cooled, I peeled off the skins, put the meat or pulp in a food processor, and pureed them. I put 2 cups of puree in each freezer bag.

                                                                           cushaw puree

I think any pumpkin pie recipe would work great for cushaw, but here’s a recipe from American Food Roots for Sorghum-Sweetened Cushaw Pie that I plan to try during the holidays this year. Oh my, it’s not even Halloween and I’m already planning for the holidays!

 

Giving Thanks for Garden Miracles

fall bucketAfter last week’s snow and frigid temperatures, it’s safe to call it a wrap on the 2014 garden season. The flowers and vegetables have completed their jobs, but I still have a few more clean-up chores left to do. I haven’t taken down all of our tomato cages yet and the garden still needs to be plowed. My most important task is actually not a task at all. It’s taking the day off to give thanks for all of my blessings, including the gifts and lessons our garden gave us this year.

Here are a few of the vegetables that I give special thanks for this year:

 

Solar Flare Tomatoes Solar Flare Tomato

What a great discovery! They were flavorful, delicious, and oh-so pretty. I also grew other varieties, but more friends commented on the wonderful flavor of these.

 

 

Carrots

This was the first year I had a spring and a fall crop of carrots. August is usually too hot and dry for the seed to come for the fall crop, but not this year. The weather was great for fall gardening. I do wish I had grown more. We kept eating all the carrots I was going to freeze!

Carrots 1

 

 

Peaches & Cream Variety

Peaches & Cream Variety

Sweet Corn

This was the first time in many, many years that we harvested enough sweet corn to put in the freezer. The raccoons usually destroy it about a day or two before it is ripe. My heart was not broken this year!

 

Yukon Gold Potatoes

I’m not sure why, but we had a bumper crop in our barn garden. However, only one hill came up in our hill garden. When the snow is blowing in January, I’ll try to figure out why. In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy my Yukon Gold mashed potatoes!

Yukon Gold potatoes

 

Jade Green Beans

I first grew Jade Green Beans last year and fell in love with them. They didn’t disappoint this year either. I think they are the perfect green bean. They are tasty, stringless, and prolific.

 

Jade Green Bean Row

Oddly enough, it’s not the fresh taste of the vegetables that keeps me gardening. It’s the miracle of a tiny seed producing pounds of food. I’ve had many science classes and know how seeds produce plants, but I still find it fascinating to watch one watermelon seed produce many watermelons weighing over twenty pounds apiece. And so this Thanksgiving Day, I’m especially thankful for the miracles that God performed in our garden…and in your garden this year.

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

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