The Sweet Potato Delicata Cucurbita pepo. Tasty, 6-8 in fruits, on vines, with a great shelf life.
Sweet Potato Delicata Cucurbita pepo
Delicata squash is a winter squash, “the cylindrical fruits, which are cream-coloured with green stripes, are of good culinary quality.” (Robinson & Decker-Walters 1997 p. 79) As its name suggests, it has characteristically a delicate rind (or skin). It is also known as peanut squash, Bohemian squash, or sweet potato squash. Although consumed mature as a winter squash, delicata squash belongs to the same species as most types of summer squash known in the U.S.A., Cucurbita pepo. This species includes pattypan squash, zucchini, and yellow crookneck squash, as well as the Jack-o-lantern pumpkins used on Halloween.
Delicata squash are easily grown. Seeds are started after all danger of frost is past or within 3–4 weeks before the predicted last frost date in the area. Seeds directly sown are placed one inch deep, 5-6 to a hill; hills are 6 feet in all direction from other hills. Roughly 105 days after germinating, delicata squash are ready to be harvested. Curing takes approximately a week in a warm dry place such as a garage, protected from frost.
Delicata squash is most commonly baked, but can also be microwaved, sautéed or steamed. It may be stuffed with meat or vegetable mixtures. It is known for its ease of cooking and creamy flavor and texture. The seeds of the squash are also eaten, usually after being toasted. This squash is not as rich in beta-carotene as other winter squashes, but is a good source of dietary fiber and potassium, as well as smaller amounts of vitamins C and B, magnesium, and manganese.