My Big Fat Greek Squash


Every time I visit my mom, her Greek neighbor pops over the fence to offer me seeds and plants. He visits Greece each summer and comes back with seeds for plants whose names he can’t translate into English. As a result I always have a few mystery Greek vegetables growing in the garden. This spring he gave me a squash seedling he had propagated. It grew into a massive vine and produced two winter squashes whose weight exceeded the capacity of my kitchen scale. I harvested them last month and we’ve been eating a lot of squash!

The skin turned a kind of manila envelope color and the flesh was a deep orange. It kind of looks like a butternut squash on steroids. The flavor resembled pumpkin, but tasted a lot better than most pumpkin I’ve had. We roasted one squash to make squash tortellini among other dishes. The best recipe, however, was for a savory winter squash pie (galette) out of Mark Bittman’s book How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (thanks to Bruce of the Green Roof Growers for suggesting this book). Bittman’s spicy winter squash galette recipe is here on MSNBC along with a video of him making it. I’ll note that the online recipe is different from the one in the book which calls for a longer baking time. My galette was in the oven for over an hour, but I did not cook the squash as long in the frying pan as Bittman does in the video. I’m sure either way will work, and this has to be, seriously, one of the best things I’ve ever cooked. It would make a great substitute for the always dry Thanksgiving turkey.

And I’ve made a mental note to myself to grow more winter squash next year. I like the taste better than summer squash and you can store it in the pantry for later use (hence the “winter” in the winter squash).

If you’d like to hazard a guess as to what this squash is called (especially if you’re Greek), please leave a comment.

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13 Comments

  1. I started mine a little later but it is starting to show the bottle shape. The whole vine is wrapping around my chicken coop. The plant looks like a gourd but the picture you show looks like a squash. Is it possibly some kind of cross?

  2. That appears to be a variety of Winter Squash, which has a spaghetti structure inside. I made some the other day. You cook the squash and peel out the “spaghetti” within and serve with spaghetti sauce. It is a yummy vegan dish.

  3. PROTIP: find out the Greek name and see if there’s a Greek Wikipedia article on it. If there is a link to an English article on that same topic (look on the left bar) then you can find out what it’s called in English.

    If that doesn’t work, post pictures of the squash and plant to the “ID Please” group on Flickr.

  4. The stripes and interior look like Green Striped Cushaw but the color is off. It could be a hybrid, squash cross easily, or it could be a similar species. Did you toast the seeds?

  5. Bruce from the Green Roof Growers sent me a comment via email:

    It’s a great cookbook, isn’t it, perfect for those who want to eat less meat but are put off by vegetarian recipes that just switch tofu for meat. Try the recipe for Autumn Millet Bake, page 566, with your squash. It is seriously good.

    Whenever I’ve tried to grow winter squash, they’re hit by squash vine borers, like Ashley. If I want to get serious about fighting them I’ll need to get some floating row covers. Assuming I do that I still need to deal with mold/mildew. All my cucurbits end up dying from it. I’ve tried spraying milk, pruning, spreading the plants out…. I don’t even try growing them anymore.

  6. Hi there, (unrelated to that good lookin’ squash) I just wanted to take a quick moment to say thanks for all the info you post here & for the great pics as well!

    If it is okay with you I’d like to add you to my blog roll…let me know when you can. Thanks!

  7. Johnny’s Seeds sells Agribon 15, which is an insect barrier, rather than a frost protection cover. (It doesn’t retain much heat) I just bought a 50 x 9 foot piece, which I cut in thirds to send to my brothers in Hawaii (I kept 1/3 for myself). It cost about $20 plus $6.95 shipping. Peaceful Valley Farm Supply sells various weights of floating row cover in larger amounts. You could club together with other local urban homesteaders and buy a large amount and split it between you. Well treated, a floating row cover can last for several seasons.

    Amy Thomson

  8. great blog.. just found ya. funny we live in greece and just carved two squash that looked very similar to yours into jack o lanterns. we baked the carvings and they were delish. not sure of the name, i’ll ask the lady at the vegetable stand next time we go. think we might pick some more up and look for seeds as they are a new favorite…

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