October 5, 2019

Candy Roaster: A Keeper of a Winter Squash

October means first frost is right around the corner. We may get it this month or next, but either way it's time to get ready for it. One important job is getting in the last of the summer garden. First on my harvest list was the winter squash.

Part of my winter squash harvest. North Georgia
Candy Roasters in front and a Cushaw in back.

I've grown cushaws for a number of years, but this was my first year to try the Candy Roasters. I only had a couple of plants and I thought they did quite well considering how hot and dry our summer was. They weigh about five pounds each and have an interesting striped skin.


The flesh is a pale orange and thick. The skin is thin and easy to pare.

Diameter is about 4 inches across with a compact seed cavity .

Any vegetable with "candy" in the name is appealing, so I was anxious for a taste test. We tried them oven roasted first.

Burger with garden tomato, oven roasted candy roasters, and a big
slice of Orange Glo watermelon (another 1st and another keeper!)

I tossed bite-sized chunks of squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper and baked for about 30 minutes at 425°F (220°C). Excellent! One squash gave us a couple of meals of roasted squash as a side dish and two pies.


Better than pumpkin! I'm definitely going to plant these again next year.

How about you? Did you grow anything new and interesting this year?

22 comments:

Goatldi said...

Mercy on me! Looks delicious 😊

I have planted seeds of hope and expect that to carry me over into a small winter garden and a full summer garden.

Garlic will go in soon. Just patiently waiting for the “right” time.

Michelle said...

This is the first I've seen or heard of Candy Roaster; looks fantastic! Butternut is my go-to for best winter squash/substitute for pumpkin, but I've never been able to grow winter squash well enough to give it garden space. My MIL grows a wonderful crop of it in her in-town backyard garden, though!

Leigh said...

Goatldi, "planted seeds of hope." I love that, Hope is the best thing to have growing no matter where you are, or what you're doing. :)

Michelle, if your MIL can grow it well, then you don't have to! Butternut was always a favorite for me too, but there are soooo many interesting squashes out there to try. Mostly finding one that just tolerates our summers makes it a winner, lol.

wyomingheart said...

Great looking squash, Leigh! Where did you get the seed? I planted butternut this year, because I wanted to try different ways of preserving. We have frozen slices and frozen chunks. They both have cooked up nicely. We have also sliced pieces drying, but have not cooked them up yet. I would definitely love to try that candy rooster next year! Thank you!

Kristina said...

The pie looks great. We love sweet potato pie better than pumpkin. Yum.

Leigh said...

Wyomingheart, I either got the seed from Baker Creek or Sow True. I can't remember which! They love to sprawl, so make sure to give them some room. Great idea about dehydrating some. I should try that too.

Kristina, me too! Pumpkin is okay, and why I grow the cushaws. They are even considered by some to be a type of pumpkin. But I do love my sweet potato pie, and the candy roaster pie is more similar to taht. :)

Leigh said...

Correction, "more similar to that"!

Ed said...

I like the cushaws but dislike their size. So much to process. The Candy Roasters look perfectly sized. We turn a lot of our squash into pies and roasted chunks to eat as a side.

Leigh said...

Ed, yes, the cushaws are pretty big, but since I'm also using them as goat and chicken feed the size works for us. I'll probably continue growing them, but if I had to choose, I like the candy roasters better.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Sigh. I wished I liked squash. So many interesting varieties, none of which particularly sound good to me.

Leigh said...

TB, the candy roaster doesn't really taste like squash, so who knows? You might not find it so bad. I have to admit that of summer squash, my least favorite is the one most people grow every year - zucchini!

Valerie said...

I don't know about Candy Roasters, but I've been roasting Delicata squash cut into 1-2" pieces with the skin on. The skin is thin and edible when roasted this way. So you might want to try that with the Candy Roasters and save a prep step.

Leigh said...

Valerie, good to hear from you! I've heard only good things about Delicatas. I'll have to try the candy roasters that way. The skin certainly is thin enough to likely not be tough when cooked. On the other hand, the peelings all go to the goats, so they're never wasted. :)

Rain said...

Oooh I love the way you plated your burger meal!!! :) I notice stuff like that lol...the food looks great! I never heard of that variety of squash, but yes, candy in the title would draw me in. You had a nice little harvest!

J.L. Murphey said...

Nothing new :o( Just putting more and more areas to bed until spring. I've used a variety of squashes as substitutes for pumpkin and sweet potatoes in the past. Even put them in pancakes to hid the vegetables from young kids in their no vegetable stage.

Quinn said...

Leigh, I started growing Candy Roasters because of Tipper on the Blind Pig and the Acorn blog, and now for the past three years they are the only winter squash I plant. Last year, in fact, I didn't grow any other squash at all because I wanted to save the Candy Roaster seed and didn't want to chance cross-pollination with summer squashes - that was a sacrifice, but I got loads of seed to share!
After struggling to process pumpkins, I find even the largest Candy Roasters (biggest this year was just over 13 lbs) are just so darned easy to deal with. I roast them, and puree some to put in the freezer - I use the puree for everything I'd do with pumpkin - soup, bread, you name it. But I also keep a few on the windowsills and just keep an eye on them, to use in Winter. So nice to cut into a fresh squash when there's snow on the ground!

Chris said...

Those home grown meals, look truly delicious. And those cushaws, healthy, considering you mentioned this year was drier. A great success story, from the garden! As an Australian though, I never know if Americans are talking about pumpkins or squashes. As you refer to our Butternut pumpkin, as a squash. It's a mite confusing (for an Australian) lol.

So is a Cushaw a kind of squash - or more like an Australian pumpkin? Because if your Cushaw is better than a pumpkin, in Australia, it just might be one! ;)

Actually, it is! I just looked it up. In Australia, we sell cushaw seeds, as a pumpkin. So it might have the texture of a Butternut pumpkin, only sweeter. Now that WOULD be nice!

Leigh said...

Rain, it was a heavily orange meal! There are so many different kinds of squash, it's amazing. Lots of fun to find favorites.

Jo, we love smashed squash in pancakes. The cushaws taste a lot like pumpkin, and I'm sure the candy roaster will make great pancakes too. And! I should try muffins. :)

Quinn, over 13 pounds! That's hopeful, because I'm sure mine would have done better if we'd had more rain. It was awfully hot and dry, so I was pleased they did as well as they did. They are definitely easier to work with than pumpkins or cushaw.

Chris, the cushaw was a volunteer! That variety has always done well for me in our hot climate, hence I tend to grow it every year, except this year I opted for the Georgia Candy Roaster instead. Cushaws are sometimes considered squashes, sometimes pumpkins! I think Americans consider pumpkins the things that get carved into jack-o-lanterns at Halloween. Anything else is a "squash." Technically, they're all squashes!

As a seed saver, I tend to pay more attention to scientific names. Most pumpkins are cucurbita pepo, but so are a number of other winter squashes including acorn, crookneck, and zucchini. Cushaws are Cucurbita moschata or C. argyrosperma, or c. mixta. Not sure why that is! The candy roasters are Cucurbita maxima. Supposedly the different species are less likely to cross pollinate, but I wouldn't take any bets. :)

The cushaws do seem to be a little sweeter than pumpkin, at least I didn't care for it as a substitute for pumpkin in savory dishes. But it is nicely pumpkiny for pies or sweet breads. You should try some this summer!

Jean Ellen said...

I agree with you, Leigh, on the Candy Roaster. I made the best soup with that variety. Better than Butternut in my opinion.

Leigh said...

Jean Ellen. I would love your recipe! Care to share?

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Hi Leigh, I have never heard of candy roaster squash but plan to look for seeds for it. Sounds delicious roasted. Nancy

Leigh said...

Nancy, you won't be disappointed!