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pronounced: koo-KER-bit-uh PEE-poh cultivar GOLD-en skal-low-PEE-nee
(Cucurbitaceae — the squash family)
common names: Pattypan Squash, Sunburst Squash
This is a summer squash notable for its small size, round and shallow shape, and scalloped edges. This cultivar is a golden yellow in colour, but other cultivars are available coloured green and white. Like other summer squash, they have a thin skin, and are most tender when they are relatively immature: they are generally used when no more than 5 cm in diameter.
The leaves are lobed, and rough to the touch. The flowers are yellow, and edible – they are often left on the smaller fruits. There are separate male and female flowers, and both, of course, must be present for germination to take place. Having several plants with lots of blossom will increase the chance of pollination. They do best in a rich, well-drained soil and plenty of sun, preferring a slightly acid soil, with pH in the range 6 to 6.5.
These attractive little squash are increasingly becoming available in our supermarkets. Their odd shape can confound cooks, many of whom avoid the puzzle of how to slice them, by cooking them whole. Whole pattypans can be pierced with a fork and then steamed over boiling water until tender, for about 4-6 minutes. They can be sliced in any way that takes the cook’s fancy. There is no right or wrong way!
They can also be roasted or grilled, and will cook more evenly if sliced in half across the diameter. The pieces should be placed on a baking sheet and roasted on the top rack for 10-15 minutes at about 215ºC. Some cooks coat them with olive oil or butter before roasting.
They make great little edible serving bowls, after the centres are scooped out and filled with practically any other delicacy.
Photographs taken in Picnic Bay 2012
Page last updated 17th March 2018