Cushaw! How to clean it and how to use it!

Prep 7 mins
Cook 8 mins
Total 15 mins

Let’s play a game! What…you don’t want to play? Well too damn bad. 😀

Which of the squashes above is a Cushaw (pronounced Coo-Shaw)?

I will give you a hint…it’s not orange. Oh and it’s not warty looking either.

…You didn’t even try to guess did you? You just scrolled right on down. Well fine, just ruin my fun why don’t ya??

These babies are Cushaws! Aren’t they sexy?? Ok, maybe you don’t think they are sexy, but by the end of this week you will most definitely think they are the cat’s meow. I mean…do I get that excited over just anything? …well ok, maybe a lot of things like wine, cupcakes, and shoes…. But trust me when I say, nothing get’s me more excited then when I spot a cushaw laying among some pumpkins.

I guess you might be wondering what the hell I am blabbering on about. Well, a cushaw is the South’s best kept secret. Sure we share our chicken fried steak recipes and you can find 500 recipes for biscuits and gravy online. But if you google cushaw recipes, you wouldn’t find very much at all…because this is one secret we have kept to ourselves. A cushaw is a member of the crookneck squash family and is technically a winter squash despite being sold in Fall. It is only grown south of the mason dixon line throughout the southern United States and is only available during the Fall months. It has a tender, pale orange/yellow flesh and a very mild flavor that can be overpowered if not careful. 

Until I moved to Florida, I had no idea cushaws were not as available as Pumpkins. Growing up they were a staple and every year I looked forward to picking out a big cushaw to cover in brown sugar and cream. It truly was my favorite part of Fall! At 18, my family moved to Tampa, FL and when October came around that year there were no cushaws to be found. We checked the grocery stores (where they are commonly sold in Texas), the pumpkin patches, and everywhere we could think of. It was like they just didn’t exist anymore. I was heartbroken. Yes, heartbroken over a squash.

A few years after that, we took a family trip to Blue Ridge, GA. While driving around exploring the town, we came across a road side Pumpkin Patch that had 5 cushaws scattered amongst their display. That trip we came home with 5 cushaws — of course I bought all they had. This year Jorge and I moved to Jacksonville, Florida for his job…and I had high hopes that I might find someone selling cushaws since we live so incredibly close to Georgia. As September rolled into October, I lost hope. So while on my trip to Nashville, I bought 3 big cushaws to bring home! They barely fit in our over packed car….but I would have carried them home like babies if I had too!

Then last week, I ran into Walmart to grab some laundry detergent…and you will never guess what I saw?! CUSHAWS! I bought the two best ones in the box and rushed home because I had a plan.

You! You are my plan! For 5 days, today through Friday, I am going to blog about Cushaws! By the end of this week, I know you will be dying to get your hands on one of these babies. You will know what it is, how to clean it/prep it, and have 4 recipes to use it in! It’s all about supply and demand….if the demand goes up, so will the supply…and finding cushaws will be as easy as finding a pumpkin…well at least I hope it will be. 😉

Ok, so let’s break it down.

You will need a very sharp knife to do this easily. A dull knife will take forever…and can easily slip causing you to cut yourself.

Now, with that super sharp knife I just told you to get, hack off the neck.

Slice the top off the neck and throw it away.

Slice the remaining neck into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces.

The neck tends to be the toughest part of the cushaw. When cooking it, plan on cooking it a little longer than the other parts…or just slice it thinner than the pieces from the bottom half. 

Slice off the outer rind and throw away.

Set aside the pieces from the neck.

Grab the bottom part of the cushaw and slice it vertically, right down the center.

Scoop out all the seeds/guts using a large spoon. I usually run my knife blade around the edges of the guts before using a spoon. It helps to loosen them for easy removal.

If you like roasted pumpkin seeds, cushaw seeds are just as delicious! Toss them in your favorite coatings and roast away!

Working with one half at a time, slice into large slices, about 2 inches in width.

Again, remove all of the rind from the outer edges and throw away.

Now you should have beautiful, clean cushaw flesh. Tomorrow’s recipe will have you baking the cushaw as is, however the remainder of the recipes will be using pureed cushaw. Pureed cushaw is the equivalent of canned pumpkin…but instead you made it yourself. You can store it in ziplock baggies in the freezer for up to 3 months, or if you aren’t terrified you will kill yourself like I am, can it!

Yield: about 8 cups

Cushaw! How to clean it and how to use it!

Girl holding two stripe cushaw squash out side of a grocery store.

Cushaw squash can be used to make so many different recipes and meals! Here's a little tutorial on how to clean and use them:

Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 5 lb Cushaw, cored, peeled, and diced
  • large glass microwave safe bowl with a lid
  • water


  1. In a large microwave safe bowl, place diced cushaw in a single layer. Not all of the cushaw will fit at once; you will have to repeat the steps multiple times.
  2. Add just enough water to start coming up the sides of the cushaw, about 1 inch of water.
  3. Cook on high for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cushaw is easily pierced with a fork.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cushaw to a blender or food processor. Puree until completely smooth, no lumps.
  5. Cool and use in a recipe or freeze for up to 3 months!


Pureed Cushaw can be used in just about any recipe that normally uses Pumpkin. However, cushaw puree has more liquid than pureed/canned pumpkin. So when using cushaw in place of pumpkin, use less liquid than the recipe originally calls for.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

Want to Save This Recipe?

Here are a couple of delicious recipes featuring Cushaw!

Cinnamon Baked Cushaw

Cranberry Cushaw Bread

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

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133 Responses
  1. Jennifer

    I’m from TN and this has always been my all time favorite food. Growing up my Mom cooked it in a skillet with butter and sugar. She’d crank it up at the end so it would be a caramelized slice of heaven. I moved to the Pacific Northwest 21 years ago and decided this year to try and grow some from seeds. What fun!! They definitely need real estate to spread but oh my goodness. I just harvested 11 more of them today!! I canned some and I’m going to freeze the rest. I also used some in a sweet potato pie recipe which was pretty darn good too. I’ll be planting these and the Delicata squash again next year, for sure!

    1. Jodi

      I love it. I live in Northern California, never knew this squash existed and I’m a gardener. But I went to pick up manure for my garden and that’s where these beauties introduced themselves to me. I’m done with zucchinis . This is my go to squash. Yum crock potting soup right now.

  2. Debra Hamm

    I was wondering if the white longneck pumpkins I grew this summer in upstate NY are the same as cushaws?

  3. Carmelita

    I am from south Louisiana bayou country and have been cooking cushaw for many years. Glad to see someone else shares mu passion. I love all your recipes

    1. Shelia Reedom

      I have been looking for custard to buy but can’t find any. I am in the Lafayette area. Any ideas on where I can purchase?
      Thank you

      1. Jessica

        Hi! Cushaw is usually a fall squash found in the Southern US. I have never seen it this time of year, it doesn’t start appearing until pumpkins show up!

        1. Deborah

          I just finished harvesting my early cushaws. I still have time for a second crop. They are traditionally started in June or July for fall harvest.

    2. Deborah Midkiff

      I just found some at a produce stand in East Texas. I never saw them before, but I am excited to try it.

  4. Patricia Wiskur

    I planted my first cushaw pumpkins this year. My pumpkin-farm friends gave me 36 seeds.
    He handed them to me in a plastic zip-lock as if he was putting pure gold in my hands.
    Glad to see your Blog because I had never heard of cushaws before, and have only grown decorative pumpkins.
    Now I am totally zapped, and will try your recipes!

  5. Felicia

    I grew up in southern Indiana. My mom made the best “pumpkin” pie with this squash. I found an orange colored one in Walmart this fall. Did not know they came in orange. Bought it and used it as decoration, now in February I’m going to give my own, from scratch, pumpkin pie a try. Thank you!

    1. Jay Bruins

      I have been making Cushaw for 40 years. My problem is the type of Cushaw. There is a non pumpkin Cushaw I like. I usually get them from super one in Alexandria, La. Since a year from late June to July. Wish I could find them in Houston. Found the pumpkin variety in Houston. They taste like pumkin, not like the ones grown in La. Or Miss. Wish I could find the plain Cushaw farms of the South. Know of any? Thank you.

      1. Jeanette weedon

        Hi! My husband grew some for the first time this spring and they are now ready. We don’t have a lot of them. My husband grows celebrity tomatoes and we sell them at our tomato stand. We are selling some of the Cushaws that we have. We live in Bryan, Texas.

      2. Patty Cason

        Hi Jay. We found some today in Rosenberg, Fort Bend County, at Pavlock Farms. I was so excited ad I had been looking for them everywhere. HEB…no luck.

  6. Norma

    I live in Tampa & looking for cushaw, know where I might find one or more? I am from Kentucky & always do Cushaw pie at Thanksgiving! Need to find or find the pureed cushaw if is available somewhere!

  7. Betty Locklear

    I grew up on a farm in North Carolina. Still here. My mom always did Cushaw and pumpkin in the oven. she would cut them in half and get the string part and seeds out. Put them in a baking pan and with the cut side up and cover with a lid or tin foil. Bake until tender. Scope out the pulp and put in a sieve or colander to drain all water. Then put in an iron skillet with butter and sugar, to your taste, until it is a deep brown and serve with hot homemade biscuits.Cook slowly so as not to burn or scorch.

    1. Kate

      I’m peeling Cushaw today thank you for great recipes. I live in Tennessee. The Cherokee Indians introduced Cushaw to the scotch Irish immigrants to sustain them through the winters. My children eat Cushaw for thanksgiving. 

  8. Trudy Calvert

    Cushaw is my absolute favorite for squash pie, which is also my absolute favorite ❣️my grandma made the best. I used to grow it in Indiana but I have been transplanted to Northeast Alabama and haven’t seen it here yet I will have to grow my own next year. 

  9. Judi

    Thank you for the cushaw recipes! My Dad grew cushaw in southeast Texas. I grew up with large piles of them stacked under the mulberry trees. Roasted, in pies, baked with cinnamon and brown sugar and my favorite, thinly sliced and fried cushaw neck! Yum!

  10. Helen

    Hi. I was just given my first cushaw…can it be baked like a butternut or acorn? We just like to add true maple syrup over top.
    Great info. Thank you.

  11. Terry P.

    You will no doubt be mad at me but I just came from a poultry auction in Maryland. We are approaching mid July here and it’s very hot. The local farmers bring in their surplus veggies to sell at the beginning of the auction. Well, as I am walking in, I spotted a lovely Amish family pull up and start unloading their chickens for the sale. I saw one of the young girls hefting a large green and white squash. I was intrigued.

    When it came towards the end of the produce sales, I was stunned to learn that there were 7 of these unusual squashes. The auctioneer referred to them as “pumpkins” but no one seemed interested. I sure was! I bought all 7 of those giants for $0.70 each!!! Yes, $4.90 for about 100 pounds of the most intriguing “pumpkin” I had ever seen!  Do you hate me yet?

    So, when I got home, I cleaned each one and decorated my front steps with these beauties. I can only imagine what my neighbors must think about my house being adorned on July 10 with gigantic “pumpkins”!

    Next, I needed more information so I hit Google. I found your blog. (BTW – you are awesome!). Now, I have a new found appreciation for my beauties with plans for the next week!  Thank you!  Thank you!!!

    Please don’t hate me!

  12. Linda Newman

    Or you can just cut it in half. Scoop out the seeds, place it face down in a pan of water and cook in the oven on 350 for about an hour or until it is soft. Then it easily scoops out without having to peel it. Then I puree it.

  13. Terry

    Wonder if you have ever heard of “calabaza con pollo”. It means squash with chicken. It is a traditional Mexican dish that includes onions, bell peppers, diced canned tomatoes and canned corn. Of course, Mexican spices. Goes perfectly with corn tortillas. It was my dad’s favorite dish.  

     Like you, I get extremely excited when I find one in the local grocery store. After several years of keeping my eyes open, I finally located some app the local H-E-B food store. I am making the dish for the day after Thanksgiving to share with family in my dad’s memory. 

  14. Patty Koopmans

    thank you for the information on this squash. never saw it before & never tasted it before. Got it from a food bank. didn’t quite know what it was until i searched – which i should have done first before cutting & freezing. I treated it like a but when i get it out to use it, i will cut off the rind.

  15. Susan

    I grew up with Cushaw at my Grandma’s house. It was always my favorite and the only place I ever saw it was at my Grandparent’s house or our relatives in Kentucky. This weekend I was visiting there and found some at the market and brought one home. I’ve cleaned it and baked it but it’s not like my Grandma’s. I need a recipe to see what I’m doing wrong.

  16. Mimi Kinder

    I know this is a late, late post – my husband planted cushaws along with other squash. I’m curious, I’ve been doing smoothies – and wondered if the cooked and peeled cushaw might work in the smoothy recipes. I’ve used yams before so wondered if this might be another way to use them. Trying to stay away from pies and sweets so also wondered about any savory recipes out there.

        1. Jessica

          Hi Laura, I didn’t see any this year sadly. This post is from 8 years ago now. Hopefully we find some Cushaws again in this area next year!

  17. Wanda Spencer

    This summer I downsized my garden a little because of getting older. I did my usual asking God in Jesus name to bless my garden,,,he did not dissapoint,,,had the best green beans I have ever had, tomatoes not much to brag about…but asparagus and ruhbarb were great…and I had six very long rows of corn,,,and both edge rows I had rougue squash plants that grew and produced cushaw….I thanked Jesus and harvested away..I tried cushaw to years ago and never looked back….

  18. Ann Barrentine

    In Indiana 🙂 Lowe’s had em as seedlings. I actually had no damage from cutworms ,used aluminum foil sleeves…

  19. Valoy Kay Zbinden

    My mother always grew cushaw squash. I found one a couple years ago at our grocery store and, of course, I had to have it. I saved the seeds and finally planted a few this year. Vines took over my flower garden but that is okay. Now all the recipes I have seen are for sweet dishes. My mother fixed is as follows: slice the neck into rounds, place a slice of onion and a slice of tomato on top, Cook off some bacon strips and lay them on top and then steam it till is it is tender. I just brought one in and am going to do that with some of it. And now I know other ways that it can be fixed.

  20. Patricia

    My son planted these in the garden and I had no idea what they were or what to do with them until I saw your post, so thank you! Maybe I left them on the vine too long, but they were very difficult to cut because the skin was to hard. Nether the less, we tried the recipe and it was surprisingly delectable! It’s so rich that we’re enjoying it in small portions heated in the microwave topped with ice cream. Yummy! I have one more left and I’m looking for a dinner dish, maybe a casserole or something, but all the recipes I find are a desert. Do you have any savory veggie side dish or main dish recipes for cushaw?

    1. Jessica

      Hi Patricia! I do not, but I would think you could use it in place of any other squash in a savory recipe. Look for recipes with butternut squash or pumpkin that sound good and swap in cushaw! Good luck!

  21. Charlotte Moore

    I tried to send you a picture of the cushaw my husband grew this summer. It said your email address was not a correct address or something like that.

    We only live about 50 miles south of Blue Ridge,GA. HA!!!

  22. Laura

    Help, where did you get the Cushaw. I live in Tampa and am dying for some. We moved down from Indiana and every couple of years I ask my brother to go to the farmer’s market and shop for some. I boil it, puree it and double bag it. It can store for a few years. We make Cushaw Pie every winter from Thankgiving to Christmas. Buy one costs 5 bucks. Shipping one costs $20. Please let me know which walmart so I can get it here and buy so much more.

  23. Kathy

    I LOVE your “Happy Cushaw Face”!!! I do have a couple of questions. First, can I steam it with the peeling on, then maybe bake it with a light coating of butter, a sprinkling of cinnamon and a light amount of sugar? Secondly, how can I toast the seeds? What’s the best coating(s)?
    Thanks soooo much,
    Craving Cushaw Kathy

  24. Bonnie Clark

    I am glad to find your site. I had cushaw casserole last night for 1st time. I thought it was a gourd when saw it in the store. Didn’t know it was a winter squash. Delicious! I live in southern La, and have an cookbook from the Feliciana’s (St.Francisville). Looking forward to cooking and making this squash. The Lady who brought the dish is 95 yrs. old. Hers tasted like it had pineapple in it. I am not sure if that is the taste of the cushaw. Will try to get her recipe. But it was definitely delicious and one to make.

  25. Steve Moore

    My first encounter was in Madison, WI last week. I delivered my Delta Dream Andouille to Jenifer Street Market (a great store that supports all kinds of locally grown foods) and there was a box of squash such as I’d never seen. With this name I’d never heard. And I’ve been growing squash nearly 60 years. Apparently your Southern secret headed North with the march of global warming. I’m looking forward to my first taste.

  26. Billie

    Cushaw makes a great first choice for baby food as well.
    Here’s our favorite recipe, from our Amish neighbors in southern Indiana
    Squash Pie
    Start with peeling and cooking squash just like mashed potatoes, then add:

    3/4 c cushaw squash
    1/2 c sugar
    2 egg yolks
    1 Tbsp flour
    1 c milk

    Beat egg whites till stiff-ish. Top with pumpkin pie spice. Bake @ 350* for 45 minutes or til it no longer shakes.

  27. Jenny

    i prefer roasting them. I cut them in half and roast them cut side down with the skin still on them. Then just scoop out the flesh. Makes is less watery and a bit richer/sweeter. My Granny grew them here in NC when I was a child and all of our extended family has memories of her Cushaw pies!

  28. Billy Griggs

    I enjoyed reading your article about cushaws.I remember seeing cushaws when I was young(some 50 years ago now).I think I have eaten some but not sure.However I do garden and have some chickens and I put my vegetable scraps in the chicken pen.I recently noticed I have a cushaw vine in the chicken yard evidenced by several 2 to 3 lb cushaws coming along.I have no idea where the seed came from for this plant.Thanks to you my wife and I now have some uses for this lovely looking forward to it

  29. Jeannie Dozier

    We also had a hard time finding cushaw. However we found one last summer, and saved the seeds. Easy peasy, wash the seed dry them and store until spring. we know have many cushaw in 2 plots, garden and wildlife plot. Waiting to see if the deer will eat them. Biggest problem at this time is when to harvest, how to tell when they are ready.

    Thanks for your blog, very helpful.

  30. Gene

    I love cushaw too!!! I find it very difficult to peel them, so I split the whole cushaw into quarters, place them on a large baking pan, cover with aluminum foil, and bake till tender. Then the pulp can easily be scooped out to be finished up in the food processor.

  31. Tammy

    Hey, that was a cute story about cushaw pumpkins. I know they are a squash but my dad always called them punkins. We live in WV and he grew them every year. He’s gone now and I grow them every year. I make the best punkin pie in WV. I came on to find a punkin bread recipe and found this site and I am about to make a loaf for a sick friend and myself. I also have a great punkin cookie recipe with caramel icing. Can’t wait to try my bread. We love cushaw punkins.
    I try to grow enough to give a punkin to the neighbors.

  32. James (Tunkhannock, PA)

    I don’t know what the source is for your statement that cushaw is only grown in the southern USA. It’s not a factual statement. While cushaw is probably a more popular seller in the south, it grows perfectly fine in northern latitudes. If you can grow butternut, buttercup, hubbard, or acorn squashes, then you can grow cushaw. They all have very similar growing season requirements.
    On our farm in Northeastern Pennsylvania, we grow both the green-striped and a tri-colored cushaw. I can assure you, NEPA is not the south!
    Honestly, we sell most of our cushaws as Autumn decorations, rather than as something to cook with.
    I want my fall squash to be sweet. For me, the cushaw just doesn’t compare to buttercup or hubbard.
    If you prefer bland (I guess some might be more polite and call it ‘savory’) squash, then cushaw might appeal to you. I would lump it in with acorn squash…you have to add something (butter, brown sugar, etc.) to give it any flavor, unlike buttercup and hubbard which can stand alone.

  33. Mike

    I have known about cushaws for more than 60 of my 68 years. Mom used to use them at Halloween as Shmoos (from Lil Abner cartoon strip, for those who do not know) and sometimes carved them like Jack-O-Lanterns. As a side note, the first Jack-O-Lanterns were made out of carved out turnips and used as lanterns to light the way at night and were just held in the hand.
    My brother and I love to use squash in most of our cooking, including vegetable soup and chili. My question is can cushaw be used in savory recipes too? I want to use them for more than just desserts. We have used Sweet Potatoes and pumpkin in our vegetable soup and roasted in with chicken and other vegetables so I wondered if Cushaws could be used in the same way.

  34. Kim

    Funny I have 2 cushaws grown by my brother-in-law in Connecticut (of all places! Last time I checked, that’s well north of the Mason/Dixon). Planning on converting them to purée for pies, soup, and will probably have some as part of roasted vegetables

  35. Patti

    I just found a huge selection of Cushaw squash at my local veggie stand. Several people were asking if it was a decorative squash or if you could eat it. No one had ever seen it before. (Calabash, NC) I found your site when I got home and am so pleased that it can be eaten…especially in pies!! Thank you!

  36. Charlene

    WOW!. I’ve been growing cushaws for over 30 years. Everyone in my family, neighborhood, and co-workers wait for them. We plant ours in early spring in central Louisiana. I cook them sweet and buttery and very concentrated. We serve this as a cold side dish with chicken stew or any rice with gravy. The sweet cold taste is a delectable contrast to the hot salty taste of the rice and gravy. Yum, Yum. My family waits for this dish every Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  37. Beth

    I have not been quite as enthusiastic to get these pumpkins, being that they are huge and I have no idea what to do with them. I am, at this very moment, working on a curried butternut squash bisque, but I am using a cushaw and two small pie pumpkins. To be honest, I am a little worried about the end result. I always love the bisque, but it is time consuming. If this doesn’t work out, I may cry real tears. What do you think about cushaw as a substitute for butternut squash?

  38. Jo

    My family loves cushaw, especially one of my aunts. When she was 90 years old I fed-ex ‘d her one for her birthday. The shipping was more than the cost of the squash! I put the unpeeled cushaw in the microwave for several minutes. Then the seeds and pulp will just fall away from the rind. Enjoy America!

  39. Donna

    Just found your blog. I’m born and raised in east texas at la line grew up eating this wonderful veggie but always thought of it as a dessert we used it on meats, peas or just by itself. Mom always fried it up in the cast iron skillet after boiling it down to mush. (Kind of like applesauce. But much better). I too have experienced a shortage of the wonderful squash. And seek it out every year

  40. Evelyn

    Texas born and raised I grew up on cushow loved it loved it loved. Married and moved to st Louis. My mother in law from Louisiana made the best along with my Texas mother of course. Haven’t had or seen one in 40 some years. Boo hiss.

  41. Sylvia

    Just cooked my first cumshaw last night. Baked it with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. Delicious. Saving and drying those seeds, so will plant for more of this odd vegetable. Does anyone know of the vitamin content of this particular squash?

  42. Maria

    I love cushaw, too. Daddy has always planted them and mama cooked them. Now it’s my turn since they are in their late 80’s and soon will not be planting and cooking them. I cut up 10 of them this week and used a potato peeler to peel them which worked great. This was a tip from my daddy. Thanks for the article.

  43. Ellen Hiser

    Oh my! Do you still live in Jacksonville?! I JUST found your blog today because I picked our first cushaw out of our garden! I’m the Director of Berry Good Farms which is on the campus of the North Florida School of Special Education in Jacksonville.
    I googled cushaw squash because I had no idea what to do with it! Thanks to you it’s all trimmed and cut up to be pureed tomorrow morning and I’ll roast the seeds too:)
    If you still live in Jax, come visit our farm!!

    1. Jessica

      How cool! I actually moved back to Tampa almost two years ago — otherwise I would have loved to stop by the farm. 😉

  44. Sandra

    My Mother and I would drive around the Metroplex in N TX looking for this magnificent veggie every fall. Farmer’s Markets, roadside stands, etc., we hit them all. Sometimes we were lucky but too often, not so much. They were a lot easier to find in LA and our family has been eating them for generations. We prepared ours a la Connie-Nov 19 but we would also cover with a lid or foil and then remove the cover to allow the squash. to caramelize during the final minutes in the oven. Of course this was done in a huge cast-iron skillet which I believe added to the dish’s allure. My Mom passed in Nov 2012 but I’ll keep hunting the elusive Cushaw until I can’t search anymore. Thanks for this wonderful blog & tasty tribute.

  45. Linda Barbier

    Reading this Made me think I had written it myself. I live in Houston and it’s getting super hard to find Cushaw anymore. It’s an old favorite of my Dads. When I find some I buy them ALL! I bake mine in the over so I don’t get the extra water in them. Easy to peel this way too. Mix with butter, nutmeg, cinnamon and brown sugar. Delicious! Thank you for helping to get the word out on this wonderful squash.

  46. Pam Gulbranson

    My roommate brought one home from her brothers house in Omak, WA (Northeastern Washington State. I had no idea what they were called or what to do with it. Thanks for the information.

  47. Sue

    I live in Ohio and have been enjoying cushaw for the last 17 years. The first time I had it, it was cooked in a large skillet with very little water with a lid on until tender. Of course it was cut up without its skin. Only a little butter and a pinch of salt was added. When all th liquid cooked out, the temp. Was turned way up and the squash was browned a little. Slivered almonds were added toward the end of browning. You can also toast your almonds in a skillet on the side and add. It makes a great side dish.

  48. Tam

    I want some Cushaw now. I love squashes of all kinds. Microwave ovens destroy the nutritional value of your food. I cut my squashes in half, clean out the seeds and turn each half upside down, place it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. Larger squashes add a few minutes. When done, cool for a few minutes, then it is very easy to peel the shell off the squash meat. After the squash is more cooled I put it into the food processor and run it until all is smooth. I use zip lock sandwich bags and put 2 cups/baggie, then I freeze it so I can have pies and all throughout the year. Have you tried Hubbard squash?

  49. MiracleMommy

    I love Cushaw squash, but haven’t found it where I currently live in SE Michigan, so I was Googling trying to see if I could find it here and found your blog.

    I’m from Ohio, and usually find it in Southern Ohio and Kentucky, but haven’t been in those areas for years now since living in Michigan. Thank you to Jim Rodgers above for the seed gathering tips — if I do get a hold of one, I will definitely be doing that and see if I can grow them next year!

    I love the cut them up and just leave the rind on, place in a baking dish, and pour a melted butter and brown sugar mixture over it all, then bake in the oven until tender, sweet and slightly candied. When you eat it, it will start to have a slightly shredded texture like spaghetti squash but to a lesser degree. Sometimes I cover the pan with foil for a bit, then uncover.

  50. mary ellen

    aha,i knew that thing was not a gourd like the gal said where I bought in Berlin,OH. we raised them when we lived in TN.A friend calls them “neck pumpkins”.I aim to to have a try raising them here in NE Ohio

  51. christine dewing

    My favorite go-to farm here in Surry, VA grew these this year, I had no idea what to do with the behemoth I brought home so I’m glad I came across your blog! Being from New England originally I’m familiar with subbing butternut squash for pumpkin, I’ll have to give this a try–but first it’s going to be a Halloween display.
    Thanks for the great info!

  52. Iva

    I love this overlooked goodie, found them to be better than pumpkin or sweet potato in pies,also love to cover with some sugar, then saran wrap the bowl and place overnight in fridge dot with butter because it makes its own juice and bake .OMG good. thanks for blog i love it

  53. Susan

    Love your site! This is the first time I have planted these squash. The plants sure like to spread out! My new Kentucky-born husband says to clean out the seeds and cut like you explained, but you don’t have to peel. Get more flesh if you wait until after cooking to peel when it cools a bit. I have picked one because I thought it was ‘big enough’ at 18″…but, now know from your blog that it could have gotten a lot bigger so will let the rest grow. The one I picked is sitting in a pretty chair. Now I am thinking after reading all the posts, that tomorrow, it gets cooked.

  54. Susan

    I need a recipe for cushaw pie. I purchased one at a local vegetable market and have all intentions to make a pie out of it as soon as possible. Thanks for everyone’s help.

  55. Maria

    This is my first year to grow Cushaw. My friend made a Cushaw pie for some of us ladies, and it was so good, so I had to try growing some. I planted 9 plants and got 13 Cushaw. I am very interested in recipes for Cushaw. Thanks for posting.

  56. Lurley

    I am from the south and have grown cushaw for the past few years. We moved to New Mexico and successfully grew some here too! Not as big, but just as good! I bake a split a seeded cushaw, scoop out the insides, fill freezer bags with 2 cups of soft cushaw and use it in recipes that call for pumpkin. Milder in flavor! Love it!

  57. Jim Rodgers

    Oh as 25% Muscogee blood coursing through my veins I must say we should all be thinking of Native Americans when we grow, cook and eat these wonderful Veggies as all Squash and Pumpkins are gifts from Native Americans along with Beans, Corns, Tomatoes and well the Land we stole!!!!! Jim Rodgers

  58. Jim Rodgers

    Cushaw, Autumn Marrow and most other Squash selections are very easy and fun to grow:) This will keep you form having to hunt for them year after year in the market place:)

    1. When you clean the main body of a Squash set aside the stringy guts with the seed in a bowl.
    2. Prepare your chosen Squash the way you wish.
    3. Take the bowl of stringy guts and seed and put them in a metal tea sieve 4. Add liquid dish soap and warm water.
    5. Run your hand or hands through it squishing handfuls one after another.
    This will aid in separating the flesh from the seed.
    6. With a loosely close hand use the back of your knuckles to twist and
    push the flesh free of the seed.
    7. Rise and then hand pick the seed form the remainder of the flesh. Keep
    only the plump firm seed and discard any flat empty of embryo seed.
    8. Allow the selected seed to air dry for a few days then collect put them in a ziplock style bag labeled of course with date and selection name of Squash. then place in cold storage in the frig until the wonderful sowing time comes next early spring.

    Hopes this helps you find your Squash fresher than you’ve ever had them before:)) Jim Rodgers

  59. shirley bruner

    I just picked my first cushaw out of my garden today. actually i picked it because it split. i was researching why it split and found you. mine weighed 28lbs. is 23″ tall and 37″ around the fattest part. i have a couple dozen more just like it out in the garden. do you happen to know why it split? too much water? too big? i have gotten larger ones than this one. i love cushaw pies. gonna go cook this baby up and put him in the freezer.

    1. Jessica

      My money would be on too much water, but I am no expert in growing them!

      I’m jealous you have cushaw growing! Wish we were neighbors! 😉

  60. JC

    Loved all the great information and discussion on Cushaws! I thought Cushaws were MY family’s little secret, but I see they’ve been gaining popularity lately, and now quickly becoming others’ too. Over the last year or two, I’ve seen Cushaws at a couple local farm markets and even at large grocery chains, too. Most people don’t know what they are – YET! They’re catching on. It is an heirloom variety and was considered rare for a long while, and very difficult to find (if you didn’t have seeds, of course). The Cushaw are definitely a fall squash (much like pumpkin), and with the cooler nights, ours are beginning to ripen now. We’ve grown Cushaws for several years, always winning blue ribbons at the local fair for largest squash (this year at 29# and last year at 35#, even outweighing good sized Hubbards) … but they do need some space to sprawl. We put in 4 hills this year, along side our pumpkins and other fall/winter squashes. Anyway, we are from Tennessee and my family consider Cushaw a traditional southern favorite. My Granny preferred to make “Sweet Potato Pie” from Cushaws, hence they were called, “Tennessee Sweet Potato Squash”. Serve it as a simple squash side, with all your favorite holiday flavorings, or even candied like yams. Anything you can make with pumpkin, you can only make even better with Cushaw!

  61. Saundra

    I live in KY but only rediscovered Cushaw a few years ago. My mother used to use it like pumpkin in a pie. I now use the puree to make cupcakes using browned butter and it is my most requested sweet. My son in law says it is like biting into “Christmas” The flavor is unbelievable. I tried using pumpkin once in the same recipe but it wasn’t even close

  62. Gaylen

    This summer we ‘accidently’ grew a patch of cushaw squash. My husband planted our usual spaghetti squash but to our surprise, the seeds were mislabeled. We now have lots of cushaw squash in July. I found your blog while searching for recipes. Thanks so much for posting. I had no idea what to do with this squash. Since I am new to canning, excited to puree and can for later use in pies and bread. My first attempt will be with my favorite pumpkin bread recipe. Can’t wait to see how it works out with the cushaw.

  63. Sharon

    Someone gave me a cushaw from their garden. Will it be ripe now? It sounds like typically you get them in the Fall.

    1. Jessica

      I think if it is full sized – it should be fine! Sure it’s more of a fall squash, but if you can grow a pumpkin in summer…I’m sure it’s fine for Cushaw too! 😉

  64. Emma

    Alright, I must be super dense… I cannot find the 4 recipes you speak of 🙁 I have a garden FULL of cushaw and I am currently baking two big ones, cut into pieces of course, in the oven right now. I am making baby food from fresh vegetables, all from my garden. But there is going to be way more than needed for the baby food, so I’m going to need some recipes to try 🙂 Please help.

    1. Jessica

      Sorry about that Emma! I actually only have 3 recipes, the 4th one was a recipe that seemed not to be working for a lot of readers. For some reason it wasn’t rising correctly.

  65. Reba Herzfeld

    Having grown up in Georgia, I’ve never heard of Cushaw until I was reading a recipe in the Kosher Creole Cookbook for Cabin Boy’s Cushaw. I researched on the Internet and found your blog. Cushaw is also known as Tennessee Sweet Potato Squash. now that I know what to look for, I plan on using Cushaw in place of acorn squash and will certainly make Cabin Boy’s Cushaw. Thank you for informing a true Southern Belle.

    1. Jessica

      I have never heard it called a Tennessee Sweet Potato Squash! How funny that there are so many different names for it! 🙂

  66. Rhonda H.

    Hey Jessica. I know that I’m waaayyy later than anyone else in the comments section, but after reading in another blog about cushaws I decided to Google it. Yours was one of the first sites listed, so here I am! I grew up near Cincinnati, Ohio and we always had cushaws when they were in season. They make the best pies, a little like pumpkin. After moving to Central Florida, we never heard about or saw cushaws again. Many times over the years I have looked for them, but the problem was that I only knew them by name, not by how they looked (I was a child in Ohio). NOW, I know what they look like, and guess what?? I’ve seen them many times in the grocery store (I now live in NW Georgia) and didn’t know what I was seeing!! Thanks for the education, Girl!

  67. Connie

    Found this today and had to share. Here in Kentucky this gourd is used quite a lot in outside fall decorations ~ such a shame to see them wasted. For my family Baked Cushaw is a staple at Thanksgiving & Christmas dinners.
    To prepare, cut up as directed, place cushaw in a stockpot & cover with water. Cook on stovetop until fork tender. Drain. Place drained cushaw in casserole dish or large bowl. Add sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, can’t give exact measurements because this is to suit your taste. Stir to mix together, if done in bowl then transfer to a casserole dish. Dot top with butter then cook in 350 degree oven, usually about 30-40 minutes. Yum, Yum, this is delicious and my mouth is watering in anticipation as I write this.
    Got my cushaw in the kitchen just waiting for the knife and cutting board.

    1. Jessica

      Oh fun! I haven’t been able to find a Cushaw this year, but hopefully next year I will find one and can make this! Sounds AMAZING! 🙂

  68. Michele

    I just found your blog today! And am quite excited! My aunt bought a cushaw a few years back from a Walmart. My uncle decided to plant the seeds from that cushaw and low and behold they grew….in Ohio!!!!!! My uncle has a wonderful cushaw patch going and we are constantly looking for recipes to use it in!! Can’t wait to see what recipes you have listed!!! 🙂

  69. Mary

    I just found your blog today, so sorry to seem out of the loop, but I had to share. My dad (he is from Kentucky) grew cushaw when we lived in Wyoming, and as a grown independent woman I have not had it since then. This past weekend I about had kittens when I found 2 cushaw at our central market that were bigger than my toddler! I was so excited! I am currently scouring the internet for recipes as I only really know one way to cook them, which is baked with brown sugar (how my dad always made them). So a great big thank you for sharing your recipes!

  70. Debbie

    I found your blog today and as I know I’m a little late I had to tell you cushaw story. I have an odd shape bed beside my patio that use to have roses in them but they would not grow. so we gave up. Due to some health problems it became a grass bed. I have a 5 year old granddaughter who is always wanting to plant some seeds. Late spring of this year I noticed that we had 2 tomato plants growing in the weed of this bed. The about a week later I was outside and noticed that I had a mystery plant growing in the weeds and one growing at the edge of the patio near the stepping stones. Every one has made a guess as to what was growing. My mom thought it was zucchini, so I got online and looked up zucchini and sure enough the leaves and flowers looked like zucchini. To this point there was only blooms on no fruit on the plants. I has gotten really tired of watching and nothing happening so I quit looking at them. Early this week I went out back and low and behold I had 2 pieces of fruit. My mom says make a picture and let me see. Now I know that I have cushaw growing and really wish that you were close by I live outside of Memphis. One plant only has about 5 one them the other plant is a little behind. They are easy to grow need just a little bit of room to run apparently need no fertilize and when sowing seed they don’t need any special care. It’s so easy a 5 year can grow them. I know it is lengthy but I also have a recipe for you.

    This is one of those southern recipes they I can only tell you what I put in not how much.

    Puree your cushaw and to that add sugar, eggs (1-2) and about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp butternut flavoring mix well pour into a greased baking dish and cook until center is firm.

    1. Jessica

      Too funny! I wish they were as easy to grow here in Florida…but our weather is sometimes not the greatest for squash.

      Thanks for the recipe! I can’t wait to give it a go this Fall when I get another cushaw! 🙂

  71. La. country girl

    My dad called them “top the ground sweet potatoes”. Most of the time my mom made pies or baked them like yams with nutmeg, butter, sugar etc. Other times she’d smother it with the seasoning, shrimp and ham. It’s just good

  72. ErinsFoodFiles

    Girlfriend, I cannot believe how mega excited you are about a squash! (insert Erin/pumpkin joke) Just kidding. I guess I didn’t realize they were regionally specific!

  73. angela@spinachtiger

    I had no idea about a cushaw and that’s why I love reading blogs. Enjoying your sense of humor too. Now I”m must go find one.

  74. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time

    I never knew. I like the color of the flesh very much! I already knew since I came over from facebook and the picture was there. If not for that though, I’d not have had a clue. 🙂

  75. Joanne

    Well I’ve heard of cushaw before but tragically I’ve never tasted it! I think a visit to the south is in order!

    1. Verlanda Middleton

      I grew up eating it in Mississippi. My grandmother would plant it in her garden. I thought it was apart of the gourd family but never really knew where it came from or how to distinguish it when trying to purchase one. She fixed it somewhat like a sweet potato casserole.  We’d eat it as a dessert with warm biscuits. It was delicious. Thanks for the info. 

  76. Kristy Lynn @ Gastronomical Sovereignty

    it’s true – i just scrolled right on down and didn’t even try to guess…. that being said, i laughed when you called me on it 😉

    Thanks for educating me on cushaws. I had no idea. 🙂

  77. The Cooking Teacher

    This is awesome! I have never heard of them before, I love learning new vegetables! I am teaching about winter squash this week and we are making pumpkin bread…I just put a picture of cushaw on as a bonus questions. Lets see if these NY kids know what they are! Cant wait to see all these recipes and I hope I can find one to try :c)

  78. Katie from Katie's Cucina

    I had never heard of this until I saw you post about this on Twitter. Can’t wait to attempt to find them and cook with them.

  79. The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh

    I’ve seen these but just called them gourds! Had no idea there was a proper name for them. I’ve been schooled! Mahalo!

  80. Jeanette

    I’ve never tried cushaw, but you’ve got my curiosity going now. Thanks for the tutorial on how to prep it, so helpful!

  81. Katrina

    I’ve never had a cushaw. I like the name. It could be sexy…I need to say it more in a lower voice. I’ll get back to you. haha

  82. Kathryn

    I’m gonna put my hand up here and say that I’ve never even heard of cushaws so I’m intrigued to see what you’re going to make with them this week!

  83. JulieD

    Loved your reaction when you saw these! Love your tutorial on how to cut them too…the only squash I know how to cut is yellow summer squash.

  84. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

    Thanks for all the info and I love the pic of you holding them. You look like you won the lottery; you’re so happy. Well, you won the cushaw lottery 🙂

  85. Erin

    I’ve never seen or heard of one before! I can’t wait to see how you will use it in the next couple weeks! They are a little sexy too 🙂

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I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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