This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
We received early in December a specimen squash from J. J. H. Gregory, of Mar-blehead, Mass., which has been named The Marblehead. Mr. Gregory finds from his tests, that "it has a more flinty shell than the Hubbard, is of a different color and shape, being flatter on the stem end. It has a greater specific gravity; it combines sweetness and dryness more, and keeps longer than the Hubbard. A capital characteristic is its purity, being perfectly free from any admixture with any other sort. In size and yield it resembles the Hubbard." Mr. Gregory, in a letter to us, states that since he introduced the Hubbard, he has tested scores of varieties, sent him from every quarter of the globe, and all the United States, and of them all has found but one other besides this, worthy of an extensive introduction, or addition to our standard sorts. It is remarkable, especially for its purity, being the purest squash he ever grew.
The specimen we received was examined, and fully justifies the description of Mr. Gregory, and we advise its introduction.
A Squash was on view at Chicago the other day, weighing 192½ lbs!
However small the garden may be, a portion ought to be occupied by one or more of the various forms of this desirable vegetable.
The Squash family, as a kitchen edible, is originally from Astracan and the Levant, notwithstanding which, our climate is well adapted for it, and we have now, on our Western Continent, perhaps as great a variety as are to be found in any part of the world. The primitive types from which these varieties have ema-nated, are some three species of Cucurbitae, viz: C. mehpepo, C. verrucosa, and C. oviferu - a genus nearly allied to the melon. The requisite culture is of the simplest character, for they will thrive in almost any kind of soil, excepting an undrained swamp bottom, and may be had fit for use, from the same garden, nine months of the year. In order to obtain this, however, different sorts will have to be employed, as explained below, the best only being noticed.
This is one of the earliest and most hardy kinds, of bushy habit. Fruit, shaped somewhat similar to the shallow pans used for baking pies in; rind, cream colored; flesh, white and tender, but wanting in flavor. Sown in a slight hotbed or the greenhouse in March, and transplanted out in May, or when the danger of frost is past, it will be ready for use early in July, in this neighborhood (lat. 40°). Three plants are enough for six feet square of ground. For the general out-door sowing, in the middle of May, drop five or six seeds in a spot and at the aforesaid distances, cover two inches, and thin out, when fairly up, to three in each hill.
Of similar habit; fruit, long, green-striped; flesh, more solid, and of better flavor than the above, hut not so early a bearer. It may be treated in the same way in all respects.
This is a very beautiful looking Squash; when pare, it is white in color, and shaped like a Bell Pear, with the neck curled over to one side. It is serviceable for summer and fall use, and may be planted the same as the last, only differing as to distance, requiring the hills of plants to be eight feet asunder.
The flesh of this variety is more watery and pulpy than any other, and some persons prefer it on this account; the flavor, also, is peculiar to itself, being something of a turnip minus the pungency. Fruit, creamy yellow, oblong, and of good size. Plant the same as the last.
One of the very best for winter keeping, and of the finest flavor. Frnit, orange colored, irregularly oval, weighing from eight to twelve pounds; flesh, solid, orange yellow, sweet, and nutty. This Squash is far preferable to the pumpkin in the making of pies. Being a great grower, two plants are enough for a hill, each of which ought to be ten feet apart; even at this distance, in good ground, the yield is enormous.
Cocoa-Nut is similar in habit and quality to the Boston Marrow, but does not fruit so freely.
A good winter sort, of large size, bat not so fine as the Boston Marrow. The three latter varieties may be sown amongst the earliest crop of sweet corn, or between the drills of early potatoes. In this way a saving of ground is secured, and as the previous crop is away before the vines have progressed far in length, the yield of Squash is very slightly injured. These sorts, also, may be preserved good until April of the next year, provided they be perfectly ripe, and gathered before any frost has touched them. House them on a dry day, lay on a dry floor, separate from each other, and in a room where the thermometer never sinks below 40°. When piled in a heap, on kept in a damp atmosphere, they are sure to decay, while the reverse will be the case if the above advice be taken.
The good or bad cooking of a Squash makes so much difference, that it may be delicious to the taste of the epicure, or unpalatable to any animal excepting a hog; and there are some cooks who manage other things tolerably well, but yet fail in this. To remedy this evil where it does exist, the following recipe is appended, which, if followed, will serve up a dish of Squash in the best order: -
Cut into square pieces; after cutting off the rind, put these into a pan of cold water. Boil until quite soft. According to the greater solidity of each sort, so will the required time of boiling be comparatively longer. Strain through a clean towel until all the superfluous water is drained out, for on this, in a great measure, the quality depends. Beat up with a tablespoonful of untainted butter, and a little pepper and salt to taste. Serve whilst hot.