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, in a comment on my blog from Keith, a South African ex-pat living in Michiganthe USA said that he had been growing gem squash successfully for the past five years and every year he saves seeds from his crop to plant the following year. He also says that if you are looking for instructions on how to grow gem squash where you are, you can find and follow the instructions for the more common acorn squash. Thanks Keith!
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.
ROZENHOF CREAMY GEM SQUASH (serves 4-6)
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 hard enough you can scoop the mixture back into the skins to serve.