Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Candystick Dessert Delicata Winter Squash

As a gardener and a parent I am always in pursuit of vegetable varieties that my children will eat. So, when I saw that Carol Deppe had a Delicata squash that was described in her catalogue “as reminiscent of Mediool dates” I decided to give them a try. “Candystick Dessert Delicata” winter squash is a tan cylindrical squash with tan and green stripes. Though the fruit can grow up to 3 pounds, the majority of the delicates I grew from this plant tended to be smaller. The plants I grew produced a prolific crop of these delicatas in a short amount of time.


This is the second generation of Candystick Delicatas I grew this year

The flesh of the Candystick Delicata is very dry and compact and cooks incredibly quick. Baking this squash halved and upside-down in a little water at 375° Fahrenheit, should take – at most – 15 minutes. While Carol Deppe suggested 2-3 weeks for curing, in the desert southwest the sweetness of the squash is more related to how long it had been on the vine, in the heat, than with how long the squash is stored. On the other hand, if you try growing this variety in a cooler climate, curing would definitely be advised. Sweetness also tended to be related to how light colored the flesh was. More mature squash with lighter colored flesh tended to have more sweetness than squash with darker flesh.

Some of the Candystick Delicata Squash Blossoms right after setting.

So, how sweet was this squash? Sweet enough for my kids not to complain about eating squash (which is saying something) but not sweet enough for them to ask for seconds. Because of how dry the flesh is I would highly recommend buttering it after cooking it or having something to drink while you eat it. This delicata would also be very tasty if sautéed onions were added to the cavity of the squash for a fine tasting dinner. With all of this said, this squash is also very good eaten plain. Both my wife and I are not squash fans, but we have gladly eaten these plain. The savory taste and incredible texture make this delicata worth eating all by itself.


The lighter and harder the interior flesh, the sweeter the taste

In short – if you are looking for a dessert for children I would not look to growing squash unless your kids are really desperate or love squash. That being said, the texture of this squash is very good and I could only imagine that this delicata variety could be used to make some incredible pie.

12 comments:

  1. I was in Arizona last month. Amazing to me that anything can grow in that extreme heat. Kudos to you! And more kudos for enticing your kiddos into eating squash. I'm a squash lover and would love to try that variety.

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    1. Thanks Carolyn,

      Winter is a wonderful time to visit Arizona. I am sorry you could not be here then. I was suprized with how prolific this variety was. I will definitely be growing it again.

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  2. I will add this to my list to try. I was thinking it might be good in pie...I am contemplating more squash if I can get the arbors up in the kitchen garden.

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  3. I do fine with a bush squash, this year I'm growing my favorite Crookneck and hi yielder Cocozelle, one of which was 4.75 lb, but when I try to grow a vining squash, for some reason the voles have always destroyed the vines and /or eaten the squashes. Do the delicatas make a long vine or are they more compact?

    I enjoyed having you visit my blog.

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    1. Dear Hannah,

      Thank you for your response!

      I love to visit gardening blogs - especially if they focus on vegetable gardening. The Delicatas I grow are more vining, though this specific variety is much more compact than some other varieties I have grown.

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    2. I had never eaten a Delicata squash so I bought a couple and cooked them last night. I was amazed, I think they are the best squash I have ever eaten. I even ended up eating the peels. So delicate and such a nice flavor! I am going to try to grow them and will have to look for your variety or another compact one.

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    3. Dear Hannah,

      Thanks again for the comment. Yes- delicata is a really good type of squash. The Candystick Delicata does have produce some sweet squash. I am trying to figure out why some of the Candystick I grew turned up sweet and why some did not. In any case, this is definitely a winning variety. Best wishes on your gardening and squash consumption!
      -Jay

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  4. Hi, just came across this. Not sure if you did this or not, but will just let you know what I know. Don't pick from plant until it is very yellowing, hard skin, and plant is dying. After, store for at least a couple weeks to let the starch "sugarize."

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    1. If in a cooler climate, you'd need to cure longer. The sweetness comes from starch conversion and flesh softening.

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    2. Thanks for the advise, Brent. I may be moving to a cooler climate and could really do with remembering this. Yes- the heat of the Arizona sun can really cure and sweeten up squash quickly.

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  5. What time of year can you plant these? I understand that they are Winter squash but I wonder if they can be planted in Spring and tended carefully. I can't wait until Fall ;)

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    1. Hi there Robin and thanks for the question!

      Winter squash is grown over the spring/summer and matures by the fall. It is called winter squash, but it should really be called hard "stoage squash". Alternatively, summer squash (like zucchini) is called this because it will not last through the winter and must be eaten while tender and immature. I apologize if you already knew this.

      I plant my squash after the last frost has passed, but it can be planted a little earlier if it is planted in half-composted material, such as steer manure. Also, using a radiant heat sink source, such as water jugs surrounding the seedling can help the plant from succumbing to a light frost.

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