Stewed Cushaw and Yummy Deliciousness Cushaw Coffee Cake

Cushaw squash

Two delicious recipes from my sister Nadalyn – Stewed Cushaw and Cushaw Cake
Thanks Nadalyn for putting this delicious post together!!!!

“Coo-what?” It always amazes me how many people have never heard of cushaw, much less tasted its rich deliciousness. The cushaw is one of the oldest varieties of pumpkin-like squash in the western hemisphere and was an important staple among ancient people. Today it is still important in traditional cooking in southern Louisiana and among Native Americans. It is technically a squash but has many of the characteristics of pumpkin. The most common is the green-striped cushaw which average 10 to 20 pounds, grow to be 12 to 18 inches long and roughly 10 inches in diameter at the bowl. They are mostly grown in the southern and southwestern United States. Cushaw is more resistant to many insect and weather conditions than most other squash or pumpkins and after harvesting, it can be stored for up to 4 months.

The flesh of the cushaw is yellow and buttery looking when cooked. In fact, in some areas it is called cushaw butter. There are infinite ways to cook it or cook with it. The most popular is to use it in pie just as you would pumpkin or sweet potato. Some like it best bake in the oven, still in the rind, with butter, sugar, and cinnamon sprinkled on top. To eat it this way, remove the seeds, quarter or cut into large chunks. Score the large pieces with a fork, sprinkle with a little sugar and cinnamon, top with a pat of butter, and bake in the oven until a fork pierces it easily.

When MJ and I were kids, Mama would stew cushaw (as I describe in my recipe), except she would add cinnamon and/or cloves and nutmeg and serve it as a side dish. I choose not to add the spices when stewing, but if you do, and decide to use the leftover for the cake recipe below, cut back or omit the spices in the cake (see Kitchen Notes).

My kids have always loved cushaw. My daughter calls it “yummy buttery deliciousness,” hence the name of my cake. I came up with the cake as a way to use leftover cushaw. Each squash makes a generous amount of stewed meat and even after a couple of rounds on the dinner table there is usually some leftover. It can be frozen for a short time. The cake can be frozen quite successfully, but I doubt you will have that opportunity once you try a slice.

Cushaw squash flesh

 

Cushaw Quick Bread

 

Cushaw squash or pumpkin

Kitchen Notes

Notes for the stewed cushaw

You want just enough water in the pot to stew the squash. Most of the water will evaporate during the stewing process.  Younger squash will take longer to cook (about 40 to 45 minutes) than older squash which have set for a few weeks before cooking.  Just keep checking it and when the chunks are easily pierced with a fork, then it’s done.

When adding sugar to the stewed and mashed cushaw meat, start with a small amount and gradually add more as needed until it is as sweet as you like. The amount you use also depends on the cushaw itself. Some are sweeter than others. The last one I cooked was the tartest I have ever made, so it took more sugar. Remember, it is a vegetable so you don’t want it as sweet as a dessert.

Notes for the cake

I didn’t use spices as you normally would in similar cakes made from pumpkin or sweet potatoes, because the cushaw has a more delicate flavor. If you like more of a coffee cake flavor, add ½ teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg. I have made it this way several times and it is very good. My husband loves it with the spices but the rest of us like the plain jane cake.

You can also add nuts if you like. I recommend pecans or walnuts because their flavors don’t detract from the flavor of the cushaw. I suggest that you chop the nut meat into small pieces and add it to the batter. With a house full of folks with nut allergies I don’t usually add nuts.

To rewarm, you can microwave a generous slice for no more than 20 seconds.

I hope you enjoy it!

MJ:  Bobby and I had the privileged of eating some of this cake during the holidays. We had it with our afternoon tea then requested another slice for breakfast the next day. It definitely is yummy deliciousness!

 

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72 Responses to “Stewed Cushaw and Yummy Deliciousness Cushaw Coffee Cake”

  1. Mary July 1, 2015 at 8:20 pm #

    I was given a giant green and white striped gourd I knew was likely a type of squash. I searched the web until I identified it as a cushaw. In searching for recipes, I found your site and recipes. I cooked and mashed the cushaw with butter, salt, and sugar as you suggested except I used brown sugar. I was so pleased with the results and happy to discover this wonderful squash. I took this to a church dinner because it was more than my husband and I could eat and was pleased for others to discover it as well. I still have some left and am excited to try the coffee cake! Thank you for providing this information. Sharing how your children enjoyed the cushaw is what prompted me to choose your recipes. Mary

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  3. Doris Rice September 30, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    The way I remember cushaw was cut into about three inch squares, shell and all and cooked in a large kettle with water and sugar. Cook this down to a syrup and when you got it on a plate just scrape it off the shell. I was raised in the Applachian Mts of Southwest Va. This cushaw is grown here and I ate it as I was growing up. Also I like to add a little maple syrup to mine and butter. It is delicious with cornbread.

    • mj October 1, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

      Thanks Doris for your comments! Maple syrup and cushaw sounds wonderful!

  4. Beth Daniel August 7, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    Thanks so much for your recipes for Cushaw!.. my MIL grew them but I did not get interested in growing them until recently… This year I have a variety called “Jonathon Pumpkin”.. its a rarer , white cushaw which looks like …. a White pumpkin!… LOL…

    we are having a harvest dinner at our next Master Gardeners meeting so I was looking for recipes for my Cushaw!.. I got my seeds from Bakers Creek and they have produced wonderfully this year so am anxious to find other ways to prepare this wonderful squash! I will Definitely be saving the seed to replant next year! ( although I may have to roast a few seeds to eat too! )

    • mj August 7, 2013 at 7:19 am #

      Beth, Thanks so much for such a lovely comment! I will pass this on to my sister, the creator of this wonderful post and recipes. I’ve never grown cushaw, but if the plants are like other squashes, I bet they are beautiful. Hope you enjoy the recipes and thanks again!

  5. Carole May 30, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    I had never heard of cushaw before! Thanks for joining in the cake extravaganza. Cheers

  6. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb January 15, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    no I certainly don’t know this amazing buttery squash called cushaw. Pretty cool name by the way. Any idea what it means?

    I love the texture of the cake, it looks super moist.

    Now I wonder if the veggies would do well by covering it with a layer of tomato onion goodness and topped with cheese, all that baked.

    • Nads January 17, 2013 at 6:31 am #

      Hi Helene, I’m not sure what the name means. It’s technical name is cucurbita mixta. I have cooked it with sauted onion but I’ve never thought about cooking cushaw with tomato or cheese. Sounds interesting. If so, I would suggest only blanching or baking it raw rather than stewing it before baking or it would probably get mushy combined with other veggies. I have seen cubes of the raw veg added to soups and stews, so onions, tomatoes and cheese – why not!

  7. Asmita January 13, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    Hi MJ,
    Happy New Year! This is something new to me and I would love to try this. The bread looks very inviting!

  8. Minnie@thelady8home January 12, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    MJ, you have a sister who is as talented as you are :)

    It’s so nice to meet you Nadalyn.I also am guilty of not knowing what this particular squash tastes like, but it sounds warm and wonderful. The cake looks delicious!!

  9. Terra January 12, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    I have honestly never heard of cushaw, but I am intrigued. Anything that has a lovely buttery flavor has my attention:-) That sweet bread looks seriously so moist, and sounds amazing:-) Thank you for sharing, Hugs, Terra

  10. Zsuzsa January 11, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    I wonder if I can find cushaw where I live. I just love squash and all of its relatives.

  11. wok with ray January 10, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    I am one of those who will say — Coo-What? Haha! I have never heard of such a squash, MJ! I am sure there is a lot of goodies out there like Cushaw that is undiscovered by someone like me and thanks to youfor sharing this info. Almost weekend, so have a good weekend and stay warm. :)

  12. Nami | Just One Cookbook January 10, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Hello Nadalyn! I love learning about new food ingredients. Cushaw is a new squash for me and I am eager to taste this. The cake looks very moist and delicious. Thank you for introducing a wonderful food! :)

  13. Soni January 10, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    Yep!Never heard of them,and have to look for them now :)Love the texture and that coffee cake sounds so delicious!!!Soft,moist and fluffy :)

  14. The Wimpy Vegetarian January 9, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

    Yep, me too! I’ve never heard of cushaw either! I’ll have to ask around to see if we have any at our markets. It really does look so moist and buttery. I’d love to work with it. Thanks for posting this!!

    • Nads January 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

      Yes Susan, a cake made from a vegetable should be right down your alley. I’m sure you will be able to adapt to your vegetarian criteria.

  15. Carole January 9, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    You need to add me to the list of people who have never heard of these! Happy New Year!

  16. Biren @ Roti n Rice January 9, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

    I love squashes and this cushaw sounds like a good one to try. Love your butter cake too. It sure looks yummilicious! :)

  17. Liz January 9, 2013 at 7:19 pm #

    Now this is how I like to eat squash! What a gorgeous loaf!!! Thanks, Nadalyn, for sharing :)

  18. Debra January 9, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

    I have never heard of this but I am putting it on my seed search list for garden plantings. Especially if it is squash but resistant.

    • Nads January 10, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

      I hope you can find the cushaw seeds Debra. I’m sure you will find a 101 uses for this versatile vegetable.

  19. Jayasri January 9, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    Hi Mjs., Happy new year, something New I have learnt today.., I should look out for this.., thanks for sharing, very interesting…, lovely cake as well..

  20. Sissi January 9, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    What a funny name! I have never had idea what these are called like (I would call them “pumpkin” or something similar, depending on the language) and I see them quite often on Swiss markets. Unfortunately I am not a fan of pumpkins, squashes etc. (I think I’m the only one on the Earth…), but your cake looks so tempting, I would love to taste a bit and see if I might start liking cushaw 😉

    • Nads January 9, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

      Sissi, I guarantee you will be a convert once you try this unique and healthy vegetable. It tastes nothing like the summer squashes. The stewed squash tastes almost like a pudding and the cake is buttery and good. It’s worth a shot.

      • Sissi January 11, 2013 at 10:12 am #

        I think you have convinced me to try it…

  21. Nisa Homey January 9, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    Belated new year wishes mj….cushaw is definitely new to me …never even heard of them before …and the cake looks tempting…

    • Nads January 9, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

      Thanks to all for your comments. With all of you being so dedicated to the art of cooking, I’m glad I was able to introduce something new to so many of you.

  22. Katerina January 9, 2013 at 10:37 am #

    I’ve learned a new word today! I didn’t know this type of squash and I didn’t know the name either! Both recipes look absolutely mouthwatering!

  23. Jen @JuanitasCocina January 9, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    I’ve never heard of cushaw. I am so intrigued. I’m going to see if our farmer’s market has some. YUM!

  24. mj January 9, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    I was at the co-op this weekend and they had lots and lots of winter squash, but no cushaw. Bummer! Maybe next year. Should have bought one when I was in Houston. :) Thanks again for this great post Nads!! XOXOXO

    • Nads January 9, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

      MJ, Thank you for this opportunity. I’ve had great fun reading the comments and responding. I wish we had sent a cushaw home with you too. I guess we were too busy grubbin’ and gabbin’ to think about it. XOXOXOX’s back atcha’.

  25. Food Jaunts January 9, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    Lol, that was definitely my reaction, “What’s a cushaw?”. Very interesting, both recipes sound divine, maybe cushaw will make it to Ohio so I can try one of them out!

  26. Kristen January 9, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    I have seen those squash at the store and wondered about them. Now that I know they are buttery good, I am going to have to try them. I love seeing them used in a moist, wonderful cake!

  27. LinsFood January 9, 2013 at 6:40 am #

    You got me there! While I’ve seen them I’m not sure they are what you’re talking about here or just the ordinary squash. That cake looks really moist. Is it called coffee cake cos it’s best had with a hot drink or is it supposed to have coffee in it?!

    • Nads January 9, 2013 at 8:33 am #

      You’ve probably seen them among the winter squash in the market. So many people think winter squash are only for decoration. Au contraire! They are some of the best eatin’ all year. And the beauty of winter squash is that you CAN use them to decorate and when the season is over they are probably still good for cooking. This type of cake is referred to as coffee cake to differentiate it from the ultra sweet dessert cakes. Coffee cake is great with your morning coffee and afternoon tea or as a snack cake any time of the day. There is no coffee in it, although you probably could create a cake with coffee as the flavor. HuMMMM?

      • LinsFood January 14, 2013 at 9:51 am #

        Thanks, I love the term coffee cake. My coffee cakes with coffee in them fly off the shelves! x

  28. Kayle (The Cooking Actress) January 9, 2013 at 5:18 am #

    Wow! You’re right I’ve never heard of cushaw! This cake looks fabulous though and now I’m thinkin I need to try some

  29. peachy January 9, 2013 at 2:22 am #

    Count me in on that number of people who haven’t heard of Cushaw. But if it’s buttery, then it must be so delicious.

    I hope I can find one here.

  30. Reese@SeasonwithSpice January 8, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    Hello Nadalyn – “Coo-what?”. But, now I know:) Thank you for introducing a great variety of squash. I love winter squashes, especially the buttery types. I’ve taken a good break from sweet baked goods after Christmas, so the coffee cake is looking really good to me now. It is looking so moist and delicious!

    • Nads January 9, 2013 at 8:24 am #

      Hi Reese, I agree, the sugar shock of Christmas is still wearing off. That’s the beauty of this cake, it’s not too sweet but has lots of rich flavor.

  31. Treat and Trick January 8, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

    Thanks for introducing this squash to us. The cake looks incredibly moist and awesome!

  32. Hotly Spiced January 8, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    Thanks for introducing me to something new. I’ve never heard of this type of squash before and I’m sure it’s not available here in Australia. How clever you are to think of using the leftovers in a cake! xx

    • Nads January 9, 2013 at 8:20 am #

      Thank you! MJ and I were raised on the mantra of “waste not, want not.” Repurposing leftovers is part of our DNA. I hope you can find a similar squash in you area and give the recipe a try.

  33. Dara January 8, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    This is all so new to me I love it! That cake looks so moist and tasty.

  34. I must try this “yummy buttery deliciousness” :)

    • Nads January 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

      Absolutely, you should try it. Because it is not a super sweet cake and (this maybe stretching it a little) because it is made from eggs and a vegetable, it makes a healthy breakfast treat. Oh, this gives me an idea! I should try crumbling up some crisp bacon in it! Bacon, eggs, and squash all in one bite. A balanced breakfast! LOL!

  35. Purabi Naha January 8, 2013 at 6:01 am #

    Kushaw is not available in India, but I loved the recipe. The cake looks moist and delicious!

    • Nads January 9, 2013 at 8:16 am #

      Perhaps, Purabi, there is something similar there that could be used in the recipe. I belive it is the properties of the squash flesh that allow the cake to stay moist for some time. I hope you find something.

  36. Raymund January 7, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

    This is something new, I haven’t tried or seen that pumpkin variant. Nice recipe

  37. ChgoJohn January 7, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

    I’ve not seen nor heard of this squash … yet, MJ. This is when I miss the farmers markets most. They would surely carry a larger variety of items like squash than those available at the chain grocery stores. You’ve piqued my curiosity, though, and I need to check out a couple of the vegetable stands and see if they carry them. Thanks!

    • Nads January 9, 2013 at 8:10 am #

      Hi John, I live in the South and although I did find a few in the chain groceries that feature local fare, I found the best ones at a fruit and vegetable stand on the side of the road. Good luck!

  38. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef January 7, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

    I’ve heard of these but never eaten any. Nothing like this available in Maine where I grew up. :)

    I’d love to try it!

  39. Anne@FromMySweetHeart January 7, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    I must admit…having grown up in the Northeast….I’ve not heard of cushaw before. But I do love squash in all forms and pumpkin. I love baked squash with cinnamon and spices. But I could eat several pieces of that Yummy Deliciousness…..wow does that look moist! What a wonderful post and some beautiful pictures ladies! : )

    • Nads January 7, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

      Thank you Anne and Maureen! I hope that you both get to try cushaw someday. It is a lovely vegetable and makes an even lovelier cake. I’m glad you like the pics too.

  40. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles January 7, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    I’m not sure I’ve ever come across a coo-what either ;-). Thank you for all the information on cushaw MJ – I love the buttery texture of squash generally and the fact that you worked it into a cake is simply genius! Interesting too that you left it without spicing for its authentic flavour to shine through. I don’t do that enough. I think “yummy buttery deliciousness” pretty much sums it up and I’m quite sure it would get the same reaction over here… What a lovely recipe and original idea.

    • Nads January 7, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

      Thank you Kelly. When I was working on this recipe I made several versions and left them out for family to try and retry. This version without spices was always the favorite. Hope you get the chance to try it.

  41. Choc Chip Uru January 7, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    What an incredible new ingredient and in such delish form too :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • Nads January 7, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

      Cheers to you too Uru! Being introduced to new ingredients of one of the things I also like about reading cooking blogs.

  42. Ramona January 7, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    MJ, you can count me in as one of the people that has never heard of this squash/pumpkin. I love learning about new ingredients. That cake looks delectably moist. :)

    • Nads January 7, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

      Yes Ramona, this cake is very moist. In fact, when MJ and Bobby were here, the cake I cut was a couple of days old and the first thing Bobby commented on was how moist it was. It’s a great “make ahead” treat.

  43. Sawsan @chef in disguise January 7, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    Hello Nadalyn :)
    Thank you for the great guest post. We have something very similar here but without the stripes. I will try out your yummy cake recipe as soon as I find it when I go shopping

    • Nads January 7, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

      Hi Sawsan! Thank you for your comment. There are so many varieties of cushaw what you have is probably a cousin of the striped that I use. If you do try it let me know what you think.

  44. Angie@Angie's Recipes January 7, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    I have never seen cushaw before either … the cake looks wonderful.

  45. CJ at Food Stories January 7, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    I’ve heard of cushaw but never had it before … What a great way to use it :-)

  46. john@kitchenriffs January 7, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    Great guest post! I admit I don’t often use cushaw in my cooking. Love the idea of stewing it! And squash in breads and cakes is such a tremendous ingredient. Both recipes look wonderful, although I think the coffee cake is calling out to me at the moment. 😉 Good stuff – thanks.

    • Nads January 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

      Thanks John, The cakes call out to us too and don’t last long around here. I hope you get a chance to try it.

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