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

Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

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!

Girl holding two stripe cushaw squash out side of a grocery store.
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Cushaw! How to clean it and how to use it!

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 Time7 minutes
Cook Time8 minutes
Total Time15 minutes


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


  • 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.
  • Add just enough water to start coming up the sides of the cushaw, about 1 inch of water.
  • Cook on high for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cushaw is easily pierced with a fork.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer cushaw to a blender or food processor. Puree until completely smooth, no lumps.
  • 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.


Serving: 1, Sodium: 1mg


Here are a couple of delicious recipes featuring Cushaw!

Cinnamon Baked Cushaw

Post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

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I had no idea I could microwave my cushaw squash! Thank you ! You don’t have to be in the South to grow them, though. They grow fine here in Michigan. 🙂

I am going to cook up my first Cushaw today. We grew it ourselves and they got HUGE!
So excited to try this recipe. It sounds amazing!
Thank you so much for this post and recipe. Very entertaining and super useful!

I made cumshaw butter yesterday. It’s basically made the same way you make apple butter. It is so much better than pumpkin butter, my husband seasoned and roasted the seeds in the oven. Quite tasty!!

Let it not be lost that the cushaw is a staple and heirloom amongst the Pueblos among the Land of Enchantment (NM)

My childhood favorite! In North Louisiana we washed & baked it whole first. Afterwards, we removed the seeds and used the flesh for pies. Mash the cushaw & prepare the pie just like a Sweet Potato Pie.

I was so excited to find someone who grew up loving cushaw like I did! I was so excited to find it at a farmer’s market as I passed through a little town on a trip from Austin to Houston! My mother used to parboil it after cleaning it and mixed it with butter and brown sugar making my favorite vegetable when I was a child! Southern cookbooks seem to skip any cushaw recipes! Thank you for sharing your recipes!

try it wi ty h rine if you candy it in oven or skillet you can eat all but the rine

my 87 yr Daddy plant these an sells them to restaurants they are so good they are really an Ancient fruit. my momma can make the Best cashew pie an a yellow squash pie that is so unbelievably sweet an no top just pie shell bottom.

I would love to hear more about your crock pot recipe. This isn’t first go around with them. They are doing great in my spring time garden.

You’re style of writing is entertaining. Thank you for that. I planted cantaloupe and honeydew but some how a cushaw got in the patch. I’ve never grown cushaw before. I’ve never eaten it either. But, armed with the information you shared in going to give it a try. Thanks.

an candide cushaw slice butter sheet pan spread 1/2 in thick slices put brown sugar on top nutmeg cinnamon any flavors I like apple pie spice also along with the other spices. you can even spice with some hot flavors bake slow til they kind of get I say stick an dryer some hot out of the oven a scoop of ice cream or plain my favorites.

It also makes a great cake and also Cushaw bread.

sound good also just love zucchini an pecan pound cake

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!

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.

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

they grow now my daddy just picked over 200 he is a farmer 87 years old. not sure ask the produce manager at your store I would have to see one

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

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

look up recipes try more then one an you will love them.

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

they grow now my daddy just picked over 200 he is a farmer 87 years old.

We grew our own from Idabo!

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.

I hear ya we’re from Tx an have always loved them people now most dont know what they are or what to do with them. sadly

These are so easy to grow. Save those seeds and plant them!

Just bought some today in New Roads LA. They said will have about 5 more weeks

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!

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!

as they age in the sun it burns them that’s why they get gold stripe their still good just should of been picked alittle sooner one my daddy just picked from his field weighed 15 pounds a big momma gonnamakesoonpie candy. cake an cushaw an yellow squash pie no top crust only bottom pie crust top keeps to must moisture in it will be very soupy when you start an it thick er nd up follow recipes

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.

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.

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.

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!

Maybe when you find one, save some seeds and grow your own there in Florida.

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.

Yesssss!! My mom did it with sugar and butter also.

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. 

save the seeds, let them dry, pop in the freezer until next spring and plant you own.

Thank you! I was wondering how to do this!

Thanks for sharing.  
We have cushaw in Kentucky and, I intend to grow it next year!

Thank You For Being Here!

For the past 15 years, Jorge & Jessica have loved getting to share their families' favorite recipes with all of you. They live in Florida with their 3 kids.