Cushaw (Cucurbita argyrosperma) hails from the Caribbean and, thus, tolerates humid conditions. This squash is a green striped, crook-necked variety cultivated by Native Americans as a staple food. Fruit averages 10-20 pounds (4.5 to 9 kg.), grows to 12-18 inches (30.5 to 45.5 cm) in length and is around 10 inches (30.5 cm.) across. The flesh is light yellow and the flavor is mildly sweet. Cushaw squash is also often referred to as cushaw pumpkin or in Appalachia, as the Tennessee sweet potato. Maturing in late summer to fall, this hard-shelled winter squash can be used in sweet or savory dishes and is often used, especially in Appalachia, as a replacement for pumpkin in pies. Some Native cultures also ate the toasted seeds or ground them for use in sauces and stuffed and/or fried the blossoms. This squash has long been popular in Creole and Cajun cuisine and the making of cushaw butter is still a family tradition in areas of Tennessee. One of the most important New World food crops, cushaw squash is believed to have been domesticated in Mesoamerica between 7,000 and 3,000 B.C.
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