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Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Cucuzzi Calamity

Are very young pumpkins edible?? I have read several hits on the Internet on the subject, and have not found anyone writing about eating the young fruit. Does anyone out there know?? They look so tender and succulent.

I know there are gourds that can be eaten when they are small. An example is cucuzzi, the edible gourd. If they get too old they have to be used as gourds, but I have read that the small ones may be prepared the same way we prepare zucchini squash. Aren't they all pretty much the same family: squashes, pumpkins, gourds? Everything I know about them I learned from Pomona and her blog, Tulips in the Woods.

And, now, it is time to confess my calamity. Pomona gave me some seeds last summer. I knew I didn't have enough growing season left before frost, so I saved the seeds until this spring. They and many other seeds and cuttings were worked up in my potting/planting frenzy. I even made notes about what was in which pots. Labels would have been better, but I had forgotten to buy any.

The time to travel to another state to attend the
celebration of high school graduation for one of our grandsons came rapidly. I so prized those cucuzzi seeds that I decided to take them with me so I could give them close attention and care (not too dry, not too wet). I consulted my notes: 6-cell, brown, white handle, in plastic bag cover (to maintain humidity).

I traveled with that cell pack between my feet and attended to it more than once a day. Nothing was happening. We traveled back home. Same story. Home again I noticed little sprouts emerging. I watched and waited. Then realized they were 4 o'clocks! I had carried the wrong one!

I looked around. Where were the cucuzzis?! There behind me on the bottom shelf, out of the sun, was a brown plastic 6-cell pack with white handle and in a plastic bag cover. My spirits slumped.
This is the way I felt.

I pulled it out and saw that they had sprouted and tried to grow inside the wretched plastic bag -- and were now dead! All my conscientious time and trouble were for naught! What a blow!! I will quit mentally whipping me eventually.

The scene of the crime, 2009.
In the photo above, down past midway of left side there is a narrow strip of white. Just above it are the few shelves below a small, old, black computer desk - a yard sale find. That's where I found the cucuzzi carefully tucked in among some cuttings in bright light out of the sun.

Easier to see in this older photo below.

The messiest work area in the world!
Husband/Best Friend/Chief Photographer calls it my play area/potting shed, and my toys. It is really the large doorway into the garage, and the cars have to sit out on the driveway. No fun when there is ice and snow. I frequently feel sorry for him, being married to me.

A working garden causes our driveway to always be in a state of messiness, years and years of tarp covered compost, sand, and other piles. Even I get tired of it.
I REALLY do need a barn!
You would never believe it, but this is organized clutter. There is a rhyme and reason to the arrangement.

There is even a clear path! (Barely) It's a wonder I am still married! That is the Garden Door, and the steps up to the kitchen door.In spite of the clutter and disarray, I have sold a few plants on our local Craig's List.

Here is a nice starter pack of Gold Moss (Sedum acre).
But, there are only so many buyers for Gold Moss. It has been here a while. It has already bloomed and has gone seedy. I have read that each tiny leaf will sprout and make a new plant. There is enough here to make a very good spread.

You can see that I do tend to spread out everywhere.
Such as the backdoor steps.
And, in spite of the chaos, I have to admit: It is more fun every year.

And, now, what was the original subject and question?... Oh, yes. Are very young pumpkins eatable?


Faith said...

I would think so. I bet they would be delicious!

I love to eat pumpkin and the more tender and sweet the better, like summer squash.


Balisha said...

Hi Barbee...loved this post. The story about the 4 o'clocks is priceless. This is what I found about young pumpkins...http://www.pumpkinnook.com/facts/edible.htm

I have read that all pumpkins are edible.

Pomona Belvedere said...

Barbee, I'm so impressed by your valiant (if mistaken) efforts to protect your cucuzzi sprouts, now I realize I'm not nearly as mad as I thought...I think. And how refreshing it is to see that a Real Pro uses the same radar filing system I do. (Though I have to tell you that yours is NOT the messiest potting area in the world. Perhaps a photo contest?)

Thanks for mentioning me as your cucuzzi supplier. I confess due to various life distractions I never planted cucuzzi at all this year.

BTW, my understanding is that pretty much all winter squash can be treated like summer squash when tender and baby - but I've never personally tested this. I always wanted the winter squash to mature, and there was always summer squash to eat.

lynn'sgarden said...

That clutter looks very organized to me..lol! Actually, did you photograph MY garage??

Carla said...

I don't know. I planted MANY different squashes, melons, etc and labeled none. Now I have fruit, and don't know what it is:) Silly me. I hate to admit, I'm kind of drooling over your space and stuff:)

our friend Ben said...

Poor thing, after all that effort! And I think your growing-on area looks fantastic! As for eating baby pumpkins, just as with eating green field corn, you can, but why do it? Let those pumpkins mature and then make a fabulous curried pumpkin soup to warm your soul in winter!

LadyLuz said...

Hi Barbee. Love the orderly disorder. Also, the climber up your stairs - what is it?

Barbee' said...

Faith, I think I am about ready to try it.

Balisha, Thank you for the link. I read the whole article. I was just not sure about eating baby ones.

Pomona, Wasn't that a hoot! Oh, well, the best of plans, etc., etc. That one surely did go awry. Thank you for the information. As I do not have any summer squash growing, I think I will try the young pumpkins. Oh, no, not a contest! Still I would rather have one of messiness than order. I would feel so guilty if I saw how neat and organized many people are.

Lynn, you have my sympathy. We must be two of a kind!

Ben (Silence?), Yes, the cucuzzi was pitiful looking. That work area is too crowded; I wish I could hand out plants to blog readers. Actually, this neighborhood is having yard sales next weekend, so I may try to sell some of them cheap! The reason I'm interested in eating the young ones is: There are already about a dozen out there turning orange, but the plant keeps growing and making more babies which I think will not have time to mature before our first frost. Also, we are having to occasionally prune yards of vine off and compost it so we can walk around the thing. I hate putting those tender looking little ones in the composter. I am interested in using at least one for soup. Others will probably be given to neighborhood children, and local grandchildren.

Lady Luz, Thank you! Every year I think I'm going to do something about that mess, but it is the same as when I think I will discard a great amount from my purse. I go through it all, then discard one or two things... I need all of that at one time or another. The climber on the back porch steps is morning glory "Heavenly Blue" (Ipomoea tricolor 'Heavenly Blue') which is an annual here. It is one of my favorite flowers and reminds me of my mother's mother.

Meadowview Thymes said...

I don't know if they are edible or not, all I know is that I want to come play at YOUR house! :)

Barbee' said...

Meadowview Thymes, Fun, fun, fun! I will reserve another chair in the pumpkin patch for you.

Sunita said...

Hmmm... I thought I had already chipped in here but it looks like I was wrong. Barbee, the answer is yes! you can eat baby pumpkins. We Indians use it in our cooking a lot. The majority of Indians are vegetarians so we are quite innovative with what plants we use in our cooking ;)
And Barbee, I do like your play area!

Barbee' said...

Sunita, that is interesting. Thank you. Now I hope the plant puts on a few new ones so we can try them. The play area received a nice rain this morning. Now I will not to water as much. It was getting quite hot and dry here. The storm in the Atlantic will probably send us some more.

Cynthia said...

I never would have thought to eat a baby pumpkin! I bet it would taste good- I must remember this for next year.

Oh, and I know all about organized clutter in the garden! :) Try as I might to prevent it, ever year my potting area continues to look "cluttered". But I do know where everything is. Straightening up might make me loose something. lol

I admire you showing pics of it too! :)

Barbee' said...

Hi Cynthia, I know what you mean. A problem I have is that family and helpers tend to move things around and not put them back where they got them.

Garden said...

I think the question is just how tasty they would be. You will have to give us a report.

Barbee' said...

Garden, I thought the same thing. If we test them, I will report :) I'm thinking enough batter and grease makes most things palatable. I'm no great cook. I haven't checked them in a few days. They may have stopped putting on new ones.

the inadvertent farmer said...

ROFL...I'm glad I'm not the only one!!! I have no idea about baby pumpkins. Why don't you want to wait to eat them when they are bigger? Kim

Barbee' said...

Hi Kim, Well.... for one thing, the two of us don't eat much. We could never eat a whole pumpkin, and I have about 12 of them. My husband is diabetic so cooking isn't as much fun any more. Also, I learned from an experienced farmer neighbor that these will rot if they aren't used soon. It seems that the pumpkin farmers in this area do not start theirs until later in the season so they will ripen in conjunction with the October and November celebrations. This one started early because it was an unexpected volunteer that came up in the yard. I didn't plant it. Guess I need to find some people who would like to have them. They won't last until Halloween. :(

Kerri said...

You have a lovely pumpkin patch there, Barbee. I love your Cucuzzi Calamity story. How funny :)
I think we gardeners are all from the same mold. I have a work space very similar and our garage is not used for parking cars in. Thankfully, we have space in other sheds for the cars.
There are "Fairy" pumpkins in our patch, but I haven't located any jack-o-lanterns as of yet. There may be some hidden in the weeds. Our squash/pumpkin patch had a bit of a crop failure this year, and there was not a one zucchini or yellow squash. Very sad state of affairs :(
Our tomatoes are among the many with late blight. Hopefully next year we'll be luckier with the weather.
On the positive side, I've only had to water containers..not gardens...except new plantings occasionally.
Thanks for visiting. It's always lovely to hear from you :)
I hope you're feeling much better.

Barbee' said...

Kerri, thank you. You have no idea how often I envy you of your barns and sheds...and space, AND wide-open full sunshine... oh!, and cats! Not one squash! Oh, dear, what a disappointment. I remember one year the raccoons didn't let us have a single tomato. Needless to say we were disappointed about that. We have had plenty of rain this summer and everyone's lawns stayed green, which is unusual here in Bluegrass Country. Feeling much better, thank you. :)