Yesterday, I harvested my squashes. The long green one in the background is a ripe zucchini (what you normally buy as zucchini is the unripe stage). When they reach this ripe stage, you have to peel them and remove the seeds. I had several of them during the summer, they grow very quickly and you can fry, bake or cook them.
The other green ones are “Green Hokkaidos”. The one on the right with the grey stripes is a ripe one, the smaller ones started growing later and did not make it to the fully ripe stage, but they are delicious anyway. Since the plants started wilting and dying, they would not become better any more.
The two long beige ones are “Butternuts”, another delicious type with orange flesh. One way to prepare them is to bake them with salt, pepper and a little bit of oil, but you can also prepare them sweet, for example with cinnamon and sugar (also backed).
The remaining ones are “Sweet Dumplings”. I have sometimes seen them being sold as decoration. With their green stripes they actually look very beautiful and many people buy them for their beauty. They can sometimes have some orange stripes as well. Many people, including people in the shops selling them, don’t know they are edible.
Actually, while the normal decorative gourds are bitter and even poisonous, “Sweet Dumpling” is not only edible but is the most delicious type of squash I know. They are quite unlike other types of squash or pumpkin. When you fry them, the consistency resembles potatoes and they taste like sweet potatoes with a slight chestnut flavor (I have seen them also under the name “chestnut dream”). They are very special and a real delicacy. Last year I only had two, this year the harvest was good and we can look forward to eleven of them.
However, last year I had a lot of beans and lots of potatoes, this year the potatoes and the beans did not perform so well. The cold and wet spring was obviously bad for them. The squashes, on the other hand, were planted later and seem to have profited from the long and hot summer (and perhaps the horse manure I added).