I bet this is a new word for most readers.
Cucurbitaceae (follow the link to learn how to pronounce this and many other new or difficult words) are a family of more than 900 plants in about 95 genera. Follow this link to learn more about plant families.
The most important among the cucurbitaceae are;
Cucurbita – summer and winter squash, pumpkin and some gourds. These are prime edibility with high fiber and rich in vitamins.
Citrullus – watermelons and others.
Cucumis – cucumbers and some melons.
Lagenaria – mostly inedible gourds that are dried and used to make utensils.
Luffa – (sometimes spelled loofah) a gourd that is also dried and used as a sponge.
Go here to learn more about the differences.
When planning to grow pumpkins or gourds it is important to leave plenty of space around where you plant them as they have large leaves and extensive vines. All winter squash are good for storage in a root cellar for up to 6 months. Gourds seem to last forever after drying and especially if you take the time to preserve with a coating of varnish.
Pumpkin Ice Cream – The linked recipe is a traditional cooked ice cream base with egg yolks. I would change this recipe and omit the milk and go with a full amount of cream. You can also skip the rum if you want to or substitute whiskey or Irish Cream Liquor instead.
Here’s a recipe for quick and easy pumpkin soup .
Spaghetti squash is terrific when made with layers of spice and ricotta cheese then baked. Oven-roast winter squash (butternut and acorn squash work well for this) with maple syrup, butter, cinnamon and black pepper is an absolute favorite of mine especially in the cold months of winter. You can also try making a squash puree with all the same seasonings just finish by adding a touch of cream and blend to the consistency of baby food. Pureed pumpkin or squash can be combined with mashed potatoes for a change from the ordinary.
Marinated summer squash with Mediterranean herb seasoning, lemon juice and olive oil. Go to this blog post to learn how to make this delicious veggie and serve warm with roast meats or with goat cheese. In summertime chill the zucchini after roasting and serve with salad or as an antipasti with a selection of olives and pickled peppers.
Go back to this post to learn about ratatouille and great dish for this time of year when there is such an abundance of squash…and this post for more info and recipes using winter or summer squash.
Versatile and abundant cucurbitaceae at the season’s end lead to countless ways of preparing and preserving these foods.