Squash – Squashkin

What do you get if you cross a Butternut and a Crown Prince………?

A squashkin.

I’m fairly sure the growers could have come up with a better name but this squash is no joke.

Crown prince is considered to be one of the better tasting squash and is reliable in the UK climate but many people like the slightly sweeter, milder and more easy to handle Butternut. However Butternut squash really need a slightly warmer and sunnier climate than the UK can provide. So some genius has started to supply a seed which crosses the two together.

The shape of Squashkin is similar to Crown Prince, the colour of Butternut. It is quite a sugary squash, so much so that you may find sugar seeping out. You can use it in any recipe that you would normally use for Butternut squash.

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To grow squash, sow in April undercover. I like to sow in root trainers which are long thin pots which split open to release the plant for planting. They are ideal for big seeds or plants that don’t like having their roots disturbed. Fill the root trainer with compost. Push one to two seeds per root trainer about 1.5 cm deep. Water and top up with compost if needed. Keep moist but not damp. If the squash gets too big for the root trainer before you can plant in the ground you will need to plant in to a larger pot. You will probably have to pot on at least once before planting out. The addition of heat in the form of a propagator or warm room when sowing will increase success.

Plant out after all risk of frost has passed, with each plant at least 1 meter apart.  Squash are sprawling plants that like to grow in full sun, in a very fertile but well drained soil, enriched with copious amounts of well rotted manure. Water well at the base of the plant during warmer weather. A stick placed at the base of the plant on planting out can be a useful way of finding the base again once your squash plant has turned in to a monster. Just as it is hard to over water your squash, it is almost impossible to overfeed it. These are hungry plants and will relish weekly feeding.

In the Kitchen:

Like Crown Prince this can be a bit tricky to peel because of the ridges but with a good vegetable peeler and some perseverance you should be able to manage. Like with many of the larger squash/pumpkins use a large, sharp knife to chop and be very careful.

The flavour of Squashkin is like a slightly sweeter Butternut. It is good roasted, in soups/stews or pureed.

Yield and plant health:

This is a large vigorous, sprawling squash and might be better grown up a trellis, my two plants between them grew roughly 8 squash, about 1.5kg each in an indifferent summer. However, probably because of our poor summer, about half of the squash have ripened imperfectly despite being left for as long as possible and therefore could not be stored long. However the remainder are still storing well in March.

Grow again: Maybe. This is a good squash for those wanting a Butternut type, it is high yielding so good for soups and it is more flavourful than Trombonchino.

Suppliers:

DT Brown