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Re: [pfaf] Squash "cheese"

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  • Dan Culbertson
    Not sure if this is the same cheese but if it is one of the varieties of Curbita moschata (Seminole pumpkin, Calabaza, or Tan Cheese), I have not found the
    Message 1 of 11 , Aug 13, 2007
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      Not sure if this is the same "cheese" but if it is one of the varieties of
      Curbita moschata (Seminole pumpkin, Calabaza, or Tan Cheese), I have not
      found the immature fruits to be bitter at all. They have subtle distinctive
      flavors some good, some not so good, but most of the ones I've tried that
      weren't "good" tended to be bland rather than bitter. They also sometimes
      have a slight soapy taste. Definitely not like bitter melon! Mature C.
      moschata pumpkins (often called pumpkin-squash) have orange pulp are used
      just like pumpkins in pumpkin pie or similar baked dishes. Mature, they
      usually have a tan colored, very hard rind and will keep for up to a year,
      depending on variety and storage conditions. The vines grow rampant and
      cover up to over 8 meter diameter area if grown in a compost pile. They
      love water, heat, and humidity which is why they do so well in the southern
      U.S. If they aren't growing that rampant for you maybe the bitterness is
      from growth stress? Then again, all of the C. moschata cross fertilize and
      there is huge variability in the species so maybe you just got a bad
      accidental cross.

      Dan Culbertson

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Geir Flatabø" <geirf@...>


      Through this magnificient forum I got some seeds of squashes Cheese (
      and Connecticut field and some magnificent beans) .

      The unripe Cheese squash is the most bitter experience ( worse than bitter
      gourd) I have ever tasted....
      Anyone knows whether this is a property of Cheese variety,
      or if it is an atavistic property showing in just my one plant... ?

      If the bitterness is ment to be there, will it go away with ripening, or any
      special treatment.... ?
      or perhaps it is only ment for using to flavour bitter medical alcoholic
      medicines ??

      Geir Flatabø
    • Cindy
      Dan, I have a question if you don t mind for you or anyone else that knows about calabaza. I was under the impression you could grow it in the summer. My vine
      Message 2 of 11 , Aug 17, 2007
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        Dan, I have a question if you don't mind for you or
        anyone else that knows about calabaza. I was under the
        impression you could grow it in the summer. My vine is
        growing, but it has not flowered. I'm in coastal
        central Florida. Am I having this problem because of
        the heat?

        Thanks.

        Cindy


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      • Dan Culbertson
        Hi Cindy, My plants always grow rampant with no female flowers for a long while (they have some male flowers) then as fall approaches they start making female
        Message 3 of 11 , Sep 2, 2007
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          Hi Cindy,

          My plants always grow rampant with no female flowers for a long while (they
          have some male flowers) then as fall approaches they start making female
          flowers and setting fruit in great profusion. I haven't yet figured out if
          the species is a bit day length sensitive or if they just take a very long
          time to start making the female flowers. Or maybe it is the summer heat
          but, since it is sometimes called a "tropical" pumpkin, I don't think so. I
          am now in north Florida but I used to live in central Florida (New Smynra)
          and they grew similarly there. Marian Van Atta, who promoted calabaza in
          her Living Off the Land newsletter and books, grew it regularly in West
          Melbourne Florida and ECHO grows it on the Florida west coast. So keep on
          waiting - I suspect it will eventually make you happy with lots of
          pumpkin/squash before any frost. If you plant them in a compost pile and
          get a time-lapse video camera you will have a start on "The Squash Plant
          That Ate My Back Yard" horror movie long before they start bearing. My last
          year's crop (the smaller "Seminole Pumpkin" variety) kept bearing
          prolifically right up though January and I still have a bunch of them saved
          in a box under the house which I eat now and then - now that is one keeper
          of a pumpkin/squash! The bigger ones (the ones usually called "calabaza"
          but there are a bunch of intermediate variants of all these varieties) keep
          almost as long. Some years I grow the small Seminole pumpkins and sometimes
          the bigger calabaza - both seem to grow the exact same way, spawling along
          the ground covering the entire back yard before they make fruit. In spite
          of rumors to the contrary, my particular Seminole pumpkin variety doesn't
          climb up oak trees and make them look like neat pumpkin trees (unless maybe
          you tie them there with rope!).

          Dan

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Cindy" <intjring@...>
          To: <pfaf@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Friday, August 17, 2007 12:33 PM
          Subject: Re: [pfaf] calabaza [was Squash "cheese"]


          > Dan, I have a question if you don't mind for you or
          > anyone else that knows about calabaza. I was under the
          > impression you could grow it in the summer. My vine is
          > growing, but it has not flowered. I'm in coastal
          > central Florida. Am I having this problem because of
          > the heat?
          >
          > Thanks.
          >
          > Cindy
        • intjring
          ... while (they ... female ... I have no flowers at all yet, not even female, and it s been months. The vine is growing great, though. ... very long ... heat
          Message 4 of 11 , Sep 3, 2007
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            --- In pfaf@yahoogroups.com, "Dan Culbertson" <danculb@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi Cindy,
            >
            > My plants always grow rampant with no female flowers for a long
            while (they
            > have some male flowers) then as fall approaches they start making
            female
            > flowers and setting fruit in great profusion.

            I have no flowers at all yet, not even female, and it's been months.
            The vine is growing great, though.

            >I haven't yet figured out if
            > the species is a bit day length sensitive or if they just take a
            very long
            > time to start making the female flowers. Or maybe it is the summer
            heat
            > but, since it is sometimes called a "tropical" pumpkin, I don't
            think so. I
            > am now in north Florida but I used to live in central Florida (New
            Smynra)
            > and they grew similarly there. Marian Van Atta, who promoted
            calabaza in
            > her Living Off the Land newsletter and books, grew it regularly in
            West
            > Melbourne Florida and ECHO grows it on the Florida west coast. So
            keep on
            > waiting - I suspect it will eventually make you happy with lots of
            > pumpkin/squash before any frost.

            I haven't seen any curcubit take this long to flower here, but I've
            never tried to grow one in the summer either. In general, I don't
            grow them much anymore because of all the other problems I had
            (worms, mildew, etc.), and that's why I was trying something more
            native.

            >If you plant them in a compost pile and
            > get a time-lapse video camera you will have a start on "The Squash
            Plant
            > That Ate My Back Yard" horror movie long before they start
            bearing. My last
            > year's crop (the smaller "Seminole Pumpkin" variety) kept bearing
            > prolifically right up though January and I still have a bunch of
            them saved
            > in a box under the house which I eat now and then - now that is
            one keeper
            > of a pumpkin/squash! The bigger ones (the ones usually
            called "calabaza"
            > but there are a bunch of intermediate variants of all these
            varieties) keep
            > almost as long. Some years I grow the small Seminole pumpkins and
            sometimes
            > the bigger calabaza - both seem to grow the exact same way,
            spawling along
            > the ground covering the entire back yard before they make fruit.
            In spite
            > of rumors to the contrary, my particular Seminole pumpkin variety
            doesn't
            > climb up oak trees and make them look like neat pumpkin trees
            (unless maybe
            > you tie them there with rope!).

            OK, I was wondering about the difference between calabaza and
            Seminole pumpkin. Apparently this one is the calabaza.

            Thanks so much for your insights, Dan. I look forward to seeing it
            flower at some point.

            Cindy
          • Michael Porter
            Dan, where do you buy your Calabaza Squash seed?, --MichaelP Dan Culbertson wrote: Hi Cindy, My plants always grow rampant
            Message 5 of 11 , Sep 3, 2007
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              Dan, where do you buy your Calabaza Squash seed?, --MichaelP

              Dan Culbertson <danculb@...> wrote: Hi Cindy,

              My plants always grow rampant with no female flowers for a long while (they
              have some male flowers) then as fall approaches they start making female
              flowers and setting fruit in great profusion. I haven't yet figured out if
              the species is a bit day length sensitive or if they just take a very long
              time to start making the female flowers. Or maybe it is the summer heat
              but, since it is sometimes called a "tropical" pumpkin, I don't think so. I
              am now in north Florida but I used to live in central Florida (New Smynra)
              and they grew similarly there. Marian Van Atta, who promoted calabaza in
              her Living Off the Land newsletter and books, grew it regularly in West
              Melbourne Florida and ECHO grows it on the Florida west coast. So keep on
              waiting - I suspect it will eventually make you happy with lots of
              pumpkin/squash before any frost. If you plant them in a compost pile and
              get a time-lapse video camera you will have a start on "The Squash Plant
              That Ate My Back Yard" horror movie long before they start bearing. My last
              year's crop (the smaller "Seminole Pumpkin" variety) kept bearing
              prolifically right up though January and I still have a bunch of them saved
              in a box under the house which I eat now and then - now that is one keeper
              of a pumpkin/squash! The bigger ones (the ones usually called "calabaza"
              but there are a bunch of intermediate variants of all these varieties) keep
              almost as long. Some years I grow the small Seminole pumpkins and sometimes
              the bigger calabaza - both seem to grow the exact same way, spawling along
              the ground covering the entire back yard before they make fruit. In spite
              of rumors to the contrary, my particular Seminole pumpkin variety doesn't
              climb up oak trees and make them look like neat pumpkin trees (unless maybe
              you tie them there with rope!).

              Dan

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Cindy" <intjring@...>
              To: <pfaf@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Friday, August 17, 2007 12:33 PM
              Subject: Re: [pfaf] calabaza [was Squash "cheese"]

              > Dan, I have a question if you don't mind for you or
              > anyone else that knows about calabaza. I was under the
              > impression you could grow it in the summer. My vine is
              > growing, but it has not flowered. I'm in coastal
              > central Florida. Am I having this problem because of
              > the heat?
              >
              > Thanks.
              >
              > Cindy






              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Dan Culbertson
              ... Seminole pumpkin *used to be* considered the small fruited variety of pumpkin/squash that was six inches or so in diameter and the calabasa was the bigger
              Message 6 of 11 , Sep 3, 2007
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                > OK, I was wondering about the difference between calabaza and
                > Seminole pumpkin. Apparently this one is the calabaza.

                Seminole pumpkin *used to be* considered the small fruited variety of
                pumpkin/squash that was six inches or so in diameter and the calabasa was
                the bigger fruited ones from Cuba. But these days I'm not really sure there
                is much difference except maybe in the route the genes took to get here.
                Depending on what you call "native," the pure Seminole variety (if you can
                really find it) is either native to Florida or native to central America
                and brought to Florida before European settlement. The calabasa apparently
                came here at a later date via the tropical islands south of us. But now
                there appear to be many crosses between the two and named varieties in each
                category and some confusion among gardenrs as to which is which. Some
                "butternut" varieties are also thrown into the mix and the one "tan cheese"
                that I grew a long time ago seemed even then to be pretty much a part of the
                same range so I'm not sure if there is any real distinction between a
                "cheese" variety and all the other "tropical" ones -- though cheese and
                butternut are not usually considered "tropical." Even a couple of "field
                pumpkins" also come from the same parent species, Cucurbita moschata, and I
                believe they all cross fertilize very readily with each other. I've seen
                up-north catalog descriptions and pictures of "tan cheese" varieties that
                look identical to the Seminole and calabasa. The Seminole and calabasa
                varieties I've grown have been very resistant to mildew and squash vine
                borers but other people in this same area have told me they have lots of
                problems with both. Maybe there is a lot of variation in pest and disease
                resistance as well and I've just been lucky. Or maybe their saved seed was
                contaminated with genes from the less tropical varieties like C. moschata
                field pumpkins which are also occasionally grown near here. Anyhow, ECHO
                technical network lists some named varieties of Seminole and calabasa
                (below) but they don't seem to sell them as separate varieties in their U.S.
                seed store (google on ECHO book store seeds to find the seed store). All
                of mine have taken longer than 90 to 110 days to bear and ripen fruit so I
                don't know about the validity of the days to maturity quoted.

                Dan

                Cucurbita moschata
                Seminole Pumpkin
                Seminole: Vigorous vines (up to 3 m), native to Florida, smaller fruits. The
                vines will grow widely spreading along the surface of the ground, rooting at
                nodes, or they may be trellised. The flesh can be baked, fried, boiled,
                mashed, dried, and used in pies. Seeds can be roasted and eaten. Fruits fed
                as forage for cattle. Soil pH: 4.5-8.3.

                Acorn: 90 days; small acorn shaped fruit; pale orange outside with dark
                orange flesh.

                Crookneck: 90 days; large number of oblong pumpkins; light orange with
                orange flesh.

                Ingram Billie: 90 days; large number of small pumpkins; variable fruit size;
                hardy performer.

                Hardy: 90 days; produces a large number of pumpkins; oblong in shape; orange
                skin with orange flesh.

                Seminole Tropical Mix: A mix of all Seminole pumpkin varieties currently in
                the seed bank.


                Tropical Pumpkin/Calabaza
                These pumpkins originated in tropical South or Central America. This crop is
                similar to Seminole pumpkin in how it is cultivated and processed for food.
                Soil pH: 4.5-8.3.

                La Primera: 110 days; large round fruits; commercial cultivar in Florida;
                orange skin with light orange flesh.

                Tahitian Butternut: 110 days; large necked fruit; orange skin with dark
                orange flesh.

                Tropical Pumpkin Mix: A mix of the above two varieties.
              • Dan Culbertson
                ... Last time I grew calabasa I believe the seeds were from ECHO seed store (http://www.echobooks.org/ ) or possibly it was from another source - not sure
                Message 7 of 11 , Sep 3, 2007
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                  > Dan, where do you buy your Calabaza Squash seed?, --MichaelP
                  >

                  Last time I grew calabasa I believe the seeds were from ECHO seed store
                  (http://www.echobooks.org/ ) or possibly it was from another source - not
                  sure since I buy way too many seeds from way too many compaines! I probably
                  should have saved seeds from it but I wasn't doing that much then. Last
                  year I grew the Seminole pumpkin listed at Southern Exposure
                  (http://www.southernexposure.com) and I saved a bunch of seeds from that
                  crop. This year I'm not growing either (I still have some of the fruits
                  from last year since the frost took so long to get here). I am considering
                  the Tahitian Butternut from ECHO for next year since it sounds fun and is
                  sort of different from the other tropical pumpkins.

                  Calabasa are also listed at
                  http://www.sunriseseeds.com/WINTER%20SQUASH%20SEED.0.html
                  http://www.tropilab.com/cucur-max.html

                  I have also seen calabasa sold in the grocery store and that might be a good
                  place to get seed, especially if they are from a local source.

                  Dan
                • intjring
                  Thanks for the info on the varieties, Dan. My squash is finally making male flowers at least. Yay! I hope we ll see some fruited flowers soon too. Cindy
                  Message 8 of 11 , Sep 11, 2007
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                    Thanks for the info on the varieties, Dan. My squash is finally making
                    male flowers at least. Yay! I hope we'll see some fruited flowers soon
                    too.

                    Cindy
                  • Davidoff, Lorraine
                    I have been reading the calabaza discussion. Calabaza is a generic term for pumpkin in Spanish, and includes all pumpkins. In the area of central Mexico
                    Message 9 of 11 , Sep 12, 2007
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                      I have been reading the "calabaza" discussion. Calabaza is a generic
                      term for "pumpkin" in Spanish, and includes all pumpkins. In the area
                      of central Mexico where I lived for about 8 years, they used it very
                      generically for squashes.

                      ________________________________

                      From: pfaf@yahoogroups.com [mailto:pfaf@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                      Dan Culbertson
                      Sent: Monday, September 03, 2007 11:14 AM
                      To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: [pfaf] Re: calabaza [was Squash "cheese"]




                      > OK, I was wondering about the difference between calabaza and
                      > Seminole pumpkin. Apparently this one is the calabaza.

                      Seminole pumpkin *used to be* considered the small fruited variety of
                      pumpkin/squash that was six inches or so in diameter and the calabasa
                      was
                      the bigger fruited ones from Cuba. But these days I'm not really sure
                      there
                      is much difference except maybe in the route the genes took to get here.

                      Depending on what you call "native," the pure Seminole variety (if you
                      can
                      really find it) is either native to Florida or native to central America

                      and brought to Florida before European settlement. The calabasa
                      apparently
                      came here at a later date via the tropical islands south of us. But now
                      there appear to be many crosses between the two and named varieties in
                      each
                      category and some confusion among gardenrs as to which is which. Some
                      "butternut" varieties are also thrown into the mix and the one "tan
                      cheese"
                      that I grew a long time ago seemed even then to be pretty much a part of
                      the
                      same range so I'm not sure if there is any real distinction between a
                      "cheese" variety and all the other "tropical" ones -- though cheese and
                      butternut are not usually considered "tropical." Even a couple of "field

                      pumpkins" also come from the same parent species, Cucurbita moschata,
                      and I
                      believe they all cross fertilize very readily with each other. I've seen

                      up-north catalog descriptions and pictures of "tan cheese" varieties
                      that
                      look identical to the Seminole and calabasa. The Seminole and calabasa
                      varieties I've grown have been very resistant to mildew and squash vine
                      borers but other people in this same area have told me they have lots of

                      problems with both. Maybe there is a lot of variation in pest and
                      disease
                      resistance as well and I've just been lucky. Or maybe their saved seed
                      was
                      contaminated with genes from the less tropical varieties like C.
                      moschata
                      field pumpkins which are also occasionally grown near here. Anyhow, ECHO

                      technical network lists some named varieties of Seminole and calabasa
                      (below) but they don't seem to sell them as separate varieties in their
                      U.S.
                      seed store (google on ECHO book store seeds to find the seed store). All

                      of mine have taken longer than 90 to 110 days to bear and ripen fruit so
                      I
                      don't know about the validity of the days to maturity quoted.

                      Dan

                      Cucurbita moschata
                      Seminole Pumpkin
                      Seminole: Vigorous vines (up to 3 m), native to Florida, smaller fruits.
                      The
                      vines will grow widely spreading along the surface of the ground,
                      rooting at
                      nodes, or they may be trellised. The flesh can be baked, fried, boiled,
                      mashed, dried, and used in pies. Seeds can be roasted and eaten. Fruits
                      fed
                      as forage for cattle. Soil pH: 4.5-8.3.

                      Acorn: 90 days; small acorn shaped fruit; pale orange outside with dark
                      orange flesh.

                      Crookneck: 90 days; large number of oblong pumpkins; light orange with
                      orange flesh.

                      Ingram Billie: 90 days; large number of small pumpkins; variable fruit
                      size;
                      hardy performer.

                      Hardy: 90 days; produces a large number of pumpkins; oblong in shape;
                      orange
                      skin with orange flesh.

                      Seminole Tropical Mix: A mix of all Seminole pumpkin varieties currently
                      in
                      the seed bank.

                      Tropical Pumpkin/Calabaza
                      These pumpkins originated in tropical South or Central America. This
                      crop is
                      similar to Seminole pumpkin in how it is cultivated and processed for
                      food.
                      Soil pH: 4.5-8.3.

                      La Primera: 110 days; large round fruits; commercial cultivar in
                      Florida;
                      orange skin with light orange flesh.

                      Tahitian Butternut: 110 days; large necked fruit; orange skin with dark
                      orange flesh.

                      Tropical Pumpkin Mix: A mix of the above two varieties.






                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Dan Culbertson
                      Yes - the generic Spanish word makes it even more confusing sometimes - especially if you are looking at websites in spanish-speaking countries. Probably
                      Message 10 of 11 , Sep 12, 2007
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                        Yes - the generic Spanish word makes it even more confusing sometimes -
                        especially if you are looking at websites in spanish-speaking countries.
                        Probably "Tropical Pumpkin" would be the best common English name for those
                        Cucurbita moschata varieties that are now in North America but imported from
                        tropical climates. I'm still not sure that the "tan cheese" varieties of C.
                        moschata are the same as the Seminole Pumpkin varieties but the Tropical
                        Pumpkins usually called "calabaza" in Florida are a tad different - they
                        have less of the tan and are more varied in skin colors (some are sort of
                        speckled). Still pretty similar but I *think* there might legitimately be
                        two classes - the "tan cheese" class, which includes the so-called Seminole
                        Pumpkin from North Florida and is a slightly more northern-clime type of
                        plant, and the "Tropical Pumpkin" which is still C. moschata but adapted to
                        more southern climes. It would be nice if there was a geneticist PhD
                        student out there who wanted to get a thesis from clearing up the
                        relationships of the whole C. moschata tribe. Be an interesting study I'd
                        think. My own gestimate, just from my experience and from looking at the
                        catalog pictures and such, is that all the Tan Cheese ones came to North
                        America through Mexico prior to European settlement and the "Tropical
                        Pumpkin" ones came here more recently through the ethnic food trade.
                        Haven't the foggiest if the "Tahittian Butternut" or "Tahittian Melon
                        Squash" actually came from Tahitti. The regular butternut looks a lot more
                        like the Tan Cheese color than Tropical Pumpkin so I suspect they might be
                        just a form of that class or maybe they are all in a third class of their
                        own. A most confusing tribe of pumpkin/squashes!

                        By the way, for those who don't know it, the story about Seminole Pumpkin is
                        that when the Spanish explorers came through North Florida they saw trees
                        with ripe pumpkins hanging on them and thought they were a new type of tree
                        that fruited pumpkins. Supposedly what they really saw were oaks that had
                        been girdled so they died and pumpkin plants planted at the base so they
                        grew up into the tree as if it were a trellis. I don't know how true that
                        story is - every time I try to get Seminole Pumpkins to grow up a tree (dead
                        or otherwise) the vines just fall to the ground and run along it like a
                        normal pumkin plant. So I have my doubts. Neat story though.

                        Dan

                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: "Davidoff, Lorraine" <jdavidoff@...>
                        To: <pfaf@yahoogroups.com>
                        Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 9:48 AM
                        Subject: RE: [pfaf] Re: calabaza [was Squash "cheese"]


                        >I have been reading the "calabaza" discussion. Calabaza is a generic
                        > term for "pumpkin" in Spanish, and includes all pumpkins. In the area
                        > of central Mexico where I lived for about 8 years, they used it very
                        > generically for squashes.
                        >
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