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.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of
Sent: Monday, September 03, 2007 11:14 AM
Subject: Re: [pfaf] Re: calabaza [was Squash "cheese"]
> OK, I was wondering about the difference between calabaza andSeminole pumpkin *used to be* considered the small fruited variety of
> Seminole pumpkin. Apparently this one is the calabaza.
pumpkin/squash that was six inches or so in diameter and the calabasa
the bigger fruited ones from Cuba. But these days I'm not really sure
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
really find it) is either native to Florida or native to central America
and brought to Florida before European settlement. The calabasa
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
category and some confusion among gardenrs as to which is which. Some
"butternut" varieties are also thrown into the mix and the one "tan
that I grew a long time ago seemed even then to be pretty much a part of
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,
believe they all cross fertilize very readily with each other. I've seen
up-north catalog descriptions and pictures of "tan cheese" varieties
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
resistance as well and I've just been lucky. Or maybe their saved seed
contaminated with genes from the less tropical varieties like C.
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
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
don't know about the validity of the days to maturity quoted.
Seminole: Vigorous vines (up to 3 m), native to Florida, smaller fruits.
vines will grow widely spreading along the surface of the ground,
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
as forage for cattle. Soil pH: 4.5-8.3.
Acorn: 90 days; small acorn shaped fruit; pale orange outside with dark
Crookneck: 90 days; large number of oblong pumpkins; light orange with
Ingram Billie: 90 days; large number of small pumpkins; variable fruit
Hardy: 90 days; produces a large number of pumpkins; oblong in shape;
skin with orange flesh.
Seminole Tropical Mix: A mix of all Seminole pumpkin varieties currently
the seed bank.
These pumpkins originated in tropical South or Central America. This
similar to Seminole pumpkin in how it is cultivated and processed for
Soil pH: 4.5-8.3.
La Primera: 110 days; large round fruits; commercial cultivar in
orange skin with light orange flesh.
Tahitian Butternut: 110 days; large necked fruit; orange skin with dark
Tropical Pumpkin Mix: A mix of the above two varieties.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- 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.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Davidoff, Lorraine" <jdavidoff@...>
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.