There are many Google search terms that lead people to this blog. Sometimes they are pretty obvious, like "koeksusters" or "gammon glaze" or "terrines". Sometimes they are a little oblique like "words of thanks" or "Barking Chinese supermarket". And sometimes they are just plain scary like "stuffed African babes" or "my rude sister". Moving rapidly along.
One of the most common searches that leads people here, though, is "gem squash" – which I take to be an indication that there are many homesick South Africans out there looking to buy them, or that there are a lot of confused foreigners wondering what to do with them after they arrived unexpectedly in the weekly organic box ;-) Either way, I have never been able to provide much info on where to get the seeds outside of South Africa or how to grow them – I have stuck to the gem squash recipe side of the queries.
However, two very helpful comments have been posted in the comments section of my original post which I thought I’d share with you here. For those of you in the UK, Tom had this to say:
I bought some Gem Squash seeds from W.Robinson & Sons, Sunny Bank, Forton, Nr PRESTON PR3 0BN U.K. Tel:01524 791210.
I have sown them this year and am experiencing something of a glut. The only problem with them is that the spread all over the place and take over the veg patch. Mind you they are WONDERFUL!
And recently, an intriguing comment appeared on my blog from Keith, a South African ex-pat living in the USA – here is what he had to say:
If you live in the USA, send me a stamped, self-addressed envelope, and I will return it with about 20 gem squash seeds. The seeds are saved from our current crop.
3440 Wormer Dr
Waterford, MI 48329
We have done this for the last five years: save some of your seeds to plant the following year.
And, if you need instructions to grow (and cook) Gem Squash, follow any guidelines you may find for Acorn Squash.
Offer expires March 31, 2007.
Although it’s only applicable to the USA (international customs regulations make it impractical to extend the offer elsewhere), I suspect this offer has the potential to make some homesick Saffers very happy. So thanks Keith – and do take him up on his kind offer!
For those of you lucky enough to live somewhere that gem squash is more easily commercially available and who don’t have to wait till you can cultivate your own crop, here’s yet another recipe idea for gem squash that I made recently. The recipe is another cut ‘n pasted recipe from an anonymous South African magazine, stuck into my big recipe book, but the original idea comes from Rozenhof, a much-loved Cape Town restaurant that has been around since the mid-1980s. It’s real comfort food – perfect for the long, chilly evenings of autumn.
8 gem squash
2 cloves minced garlic
Halve the squashes and steam (or microwave) until soft (you can boil them, but I find they become very waterlogged). Scoop out and discard the seeds – but try not to throw out much flesh along with the seeds. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the cream, butter, garlic and gem squash flesh. Over low to medium heat, bring the mixture to the boil, stirring to combine the ingredients. Allow to thicken – about 15 minutes. The heat should be high enough to reduce liquid without burning the mixture. Season with sugar and salt to taste and serve. If your gem squash skins are rigid enough, you can scoop the mixture back into the skins to serve.