Tuesday, September 30, 2008

White Crookneck Cushaw

Today was the day. The day I tackled the giant white crook neck cushaw. It weighed in at 21.6 lbs. It is a type of pumpkin that has been traditionally grown in the southern Louisiana area. Notably by Cajuns.
I began by chopping big chunks off, slicing off the peelings and chopping into chunks.
I used this book to get some cushaw recipes. If you want to know the culinary history and recipes of New Orleans, this is the book you must have. It is large, but every little bit in it is interesting and delightful. It contains lots of history and the storeys of real people and the food they eat and have carried over through generations.
It's called the "The Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine" by Chef John Folse. He also has a great web site where you can get recipes. You might even be able to listen to his radio show.
Every little bit of this cushaw is going to be used. I'm saving the seeds to plant, the scraps for the chickens, and the meat to cook. After grabbing all I can of the "guts" with my bare hands, I use a melon baller to scrape out all the remaining strings (that goes to the chickens too). Then just continue to cut it up.
Here is everything when the chopping is done. I know those chicks are going to be happy.
On the stove I have not one, but two big pots of cushaw chunks! Notice my coffee percolator in the back. My Bunn that makes coffee in one minute died. I replaced it with our camp coffee pot, and I am perfectly happy. Once you get the hang of it, it makes better coffee. So I'm saving over $100 on a new pot and this one doesn't have to be plugged in 24/7 to keep the water hot.
About half way there.
Here is the finished pure cushaw puree. I am going to freeze it in 2 cup portions and use for making bread, pie and soup. I have canned pumpkin (cushaw is a type of pumpkin) in the past, but new guidelines don't recommend canning pumpkin due to its density. It's impossible to be sure the interior temperature gets hot enough to kill dangerous stuff....you know botulism...whatever. Anyway...this is going to be yum. You can cook it down longer with sugar and pumpkin pie spice to make a yummy pumpkin puree to eat right away.


Miss Riya said...

Looks yummy, but I bet your hands are sore. I cut up a few small butternut squash for a recipe once and discovered what a chore that was. Well at least the hard part is over. Now you can just enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Tiffany said...

That's cool that the chickens will eat up the scraps! We pass our scraps onto the guinea pig. They don't call 'em pigs for nuthin! ;)

I'm with Riya about the hands. I wimp out just cutting a spaghetti squash in half. *blush*

Egghead said...

I have done this with pumpkin but never canned it. I was using it for pumpkin pies. That squash looks good.