Are you wondering if that’s a typo? No, It’s not! Cushaw squash, not cashew squash. Cushaw squash is a unique plant that you can mistake for a gourd. It has an elongated neck and green stripes. There is a lot to know about this uniquely shaped green plant, and you will find them all in this guide.
What is Cushaw Squash?
Cushaw squash (also called cushaw pumpkin or Appalachia) is native to South America, particularly Mexico. It is easy to spot in among other plants in a grocery store. Even if you haven’t come across it before, you will stop to have a second look when you spot a Cushaw squash. You might not have any other plant that looks like the squash on the planet.
It has a funnily elongated neck that makes it look like a gourd. It also has green stripes that run through its body. When you cut it open, the flesh is bright yellow, and it has a mild sweet taste. You can eat this plant in various forms, including roasting, frying, saucing, and making it into soups.
Another notable point is the immense health benefits of this plant. They have several elements that are useful for proper body functioning. This guide contains all the vital information you need to know about Cushaw squash. It includes its health benefits, when and how to plant them, and some of Cushaw squash’s typical recipes.
General Health Benefits of Cushaw Squash
One of the reasons for the wild popularity of Cushaw squash is its health benefits. It makes a significant contribution to your diet with vitamins A, B, and C. It also includes beta-carotene and several minerals. Here are some of the top health benefits of Cushaw squash;
1. Provide Support For Immune System
Cushaw squash has elements that improve the body’s immune system’s functionality. It contains beta-carotene that plays a lead role in this effect. Also, this plant contains vitamin A, which prevents infections like flu and the common cold. Vitamin C is another element present in Cushaw squash that strengthens your immune system.
2. Supports Eye Health
The eye is a vital organ of the body, and it needs dietary maintenance. Cushaw squash contains phytonutrients that support eye health. These elements include lutein and zeaxanthin.
Cushaw squash also contains vitamin A which plays an essential role in renewing eye cells. It improves vision and prevents eye-related infections.
3. Helps To Maintain Healthy Bone
Cushaw squash contains the healthiest nutrients you will find in other fruits and vegetables. These nutrients help maintain a healthy bone. It helps mitigate the symptoms of bone disorders like osteoporosis.
This plant also contains vitamin C, sodium, zinc, and beta-carotene that all help the bone to stay healthy.
4. Helps with Effective Weight Management
Weight loss and weight management are essential things people consider for food intake. Cushaw squash will not only prevent weight gain but will also help in weight management. Cushaw squash is low in calories and contains a certain level of fiber. The fibers aid digestive actions, and the low calories prevent unnecessary weight gain.
5. Slows Down The Aging process
Aging is a natural phenomenon, but it can become a problem when the signs come too fast or early. The abundance of vitamin C in Cushaw squash beautifies the skin. So, it prevents common aging symptoms like wrinkles, sagging, and fine lines. It keeps the skin tighter by stimulating collagen production, an essential protein for skin health. The vitamin C content in Cushaw squash also helps you fight skin-threatening antioxidants.
6. Improve Lung Health
The lung contributes to respiration and the body’s oxygen use. So, as Cushaw squash helps keep your vision sharp, it is also helpful for the lungs. Its vitamin A content acts as an antioxidant for warding off lung cancer. Cushaw squash also mitigates the effects of smoking on the lung.
7. Blood Pressure Regulation
Cushaw squash can help with the proper regulation of blood pressure. It can drop it to the average level when it gets too high. This ability is due to the high potassium level in the plant. It can also reduce your vulnerability to heart disease.
8. Mitigates Birth Defect In Pregnant Women
Pregnant women are prone to a lot of complicated conditions. But Cushaw squash can help to avert some of these defects because it contains folate. Folate helps with the proper development of the fetus’s spinal cord and brain.
9. Serve as a Rich Source Of Carotenoids
Carotenoids are vital to the body’s functioning, and you will get loads of them in Cushaw squash. The main carotenoids in this plant include lutein, beta-carotene, lycopene, and zeaxanthin.
All of these carotenoids have unique health benefits. They help prevent cardiovascular diseases, handling macular degeneration associated with age, and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Why is Cushaw Squash Special?
The impressive figure of Cushaw squash starts with its unique shape. This gourd-shaped plant standS distinct from other pumpkins in a grocery store.
Besides, Cushaw squash is easy to cultivate and grow. Once you can spot the right time to plant and the appropriate condition for it, the remaining task becomes easy. It is resistant to bugs and many other plant diseases.
Cushaw squash is also famous for its numerous health benefits. It includes several elements and nutrients that are useful for the body. Its outstanding flavor and flexibility for various recipes are also noteworthy features.
How to Cultivate Cushaw Plant
Growing Cushaw squash is not a complicated task. You can plant yours and have unlimited access to this healthy plant. The essential things to note are the plant’s cultivation and growth conditions.
Start by ensuring the soil type that is suitable for the plant. Note the pH and nitrogen, and organic content level of the soil. These parameters are vital for the successful cultivation of Cushaw squash.
The best soil pH for Cushaw squash is around neutral (6.0 -7.5). If your soil does not fall within this range, you can make some amends. You can use wood ash and ground limestone to increase your soil pH. Alternatively, you can use sulfur and gypsum to lower the pH level.
You can also boost the supply of organic nitrogen to the soil. All you need to do is add about 5 inches of organic matter to the soil. Moistening of dry soil and proper spacing is also essential for your plant’s growth.
Create soil mounds about 4 to 6 feet apart. It is best when it is about 6 inches high and allows enough space. Once you prepare the soil, you can now plant Cushaw squash.
You can either plant direct seeds or transplant seedlings. The best temperature for a direct sow is usually 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Note that it is essential to wait for the right temperature before you plant.
It is best to plant four to six seeds per hill and move one to thin out the resilient seed. Transplanting seedlings is similar. Only remove it with its root from its existing bed to the new soil.
You can mix Cushaw squash with other plants in the pumpkin family-like onion, corn, and beans.
When Is The Right Time To Plant Cushaw Squash?
Planting your Cushaw squash in the wrong season can lead to futile efforts. So, as much as suitable soil is essential, the appropriate season is also paramount.
The best time to grow Cushaw squash is during winter. This feature explains why the plant is nicknamed “winter squash.” It has a lengthy storage tie (up to four months) during this period. The winter condition will preserve all its vital elements, including vitamin C.
It is also noteworthy that Cushaw squash is resistant to certain pests. It is particularly resistant to squash vine borer, one of the most significant pests that affect other squash plants.
Common Cushaw Squash Recipe
Cushaw squash is flexible and versatile when it comes to preparation and recipes. You can diversify the taste with various ingredients while retaining the nutritional and health value.
Check out some of the most valuable recipes for your Cushaw squash below;
1. Roasted Cushaw squash Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 to 30 Minutes
- Peeled and Sliced or cubed Cushaw
- Olive Oil (2 tbsp)
- Dried Rosemary (1 tbsp)
- Sea salt (1 tbsp)
The ingredients of roasted Cushaw squash are simple but tasty. They contribute significantly to the overall taste and add to its nutrients. The backing procedures are also straightforward, and they are highlighted below.
STEP 1: Add sea salt, olive oil, and rosemary to a large bowl. Join the Cushaw cubes in the same bowl as well.
STEP 2: Get a large baking sheet and spread the resulting mixture from STEP 1 on it.
STEP 3: Move to your oven and set the temperature to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Ensure the consistency of the heat and leave it for about
STEP 4: Stir it and cook again for another 10 minutes. Viola! Your recipe is ready for serving.
You can consider making roasted slices instead of cubes before starting this process. To make the slices:
- Spray your olive oil flat on your baking sheet.
- Add sea salt and rosemary before baking for 25 minutes.
- Ensure to flip it over when you are halfway through.
2. Lemon Pepper Cushaw Squash Recipe
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Prep Time: 5-10 Minutes
- Cushaw (4 cups)
- Garlic Powder (1 tbsp)
- Lemon Powder ( 1 tbsp)
- Coconut oil (2 tbsp)
- Salt (1 tbsp)
This recipe is tasty because of the presence of garlic and lemon powder. It is also vitamin-rich and easy to make. You don’t have to waste time or put in too much effort. So, you can easily make it alongside other meals.
STEP 1: Prepare your ingredients. Peel the Cushaw and cut it into four cups with about ¼ inch content each.
STEP 2: Add coconut oil and heat it in a medium skillet.
STEP 3: Include the prepared Cushaw and other seasonings. Stir properly until all the ingredients combine.
STEP 4: Continue to sauté for about 10 minutes or till you notice it is already tender. Don’t forget to stir as you sauté.
Pro Tip: You can roast into the oven to soften. Start by preheating your oven to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Add all the ingredients to a sheet pan and roast for about fifteen minutes. This time is enough to soften your ingredients.
3. Pumpkin Spiced Cushaw Squash Recipe
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
- Coconut oil (4 tbsp)
- Honey (1 tbsp)
- Cubed and Peeled Cushaw (4 cups)
- Pumpkin pie (1 tbsp)
- Coconut Milk (2 tbsp)
This recipe is flavored sand-sweet with the presence of coconut milk and honey. It is easy to make and highly nutritious.
STEP 1: Add coconut oil to a medium-sized skillet and place it over medium heat.
STEP 2: Add the cubed and peeled Cushaw and cover the mix. Leave for about 5 minutes, and remember to stir and simmer occasionally.
STEP 3: Add the pumpkin spice and honey. Stir thoroughly till fully blended.
STEP 4: Simmer this mixture for less than five minutes to give enough time to tender
STEP 5: Include your coconut milk in the mix and give it an additional cook time of 2 to 3 minutes.
STEP 6: Wait until it is done, and enjoy your serving. You can even do it with chopped nuts and whipped cream to increase the fun.
A Final Word From Wellness Nova
Cushaw squash is a unique plant with loads of health benefits. You can use it in several recipes, and these recipes diversify the taste while retaining the dietary and nutritional value.
Also, cultivating Cushaw is easy and will facilitate the plant’s availability to you anytime. But you can always buy in grocery stores if you cannot cultivate yours. It is easy to identify because it is distinct from other pumpkin families.
The recipes above are some of the options to try. You can also create yours and enjoy the unlimited taste and nutrients in Cushaw squash. Feel free to share your experience once you try!