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Candy roaster is a rare heirloom squash, originally bred by members of the Cherokee Nation. It has a creamy texture and a flavour that gets sweeter the longer it’s left in storage.
Squash isn’t exactly the most exciting of vegetables, most probably because the types you find on supermarket shelves tend to be farmed industrially, the resultant ingredient tends to have a bland, insipid flavour the relegate it to third tier side dish status.
The candy roaster is altogether different though. It has a bright, arresting appearance, a deep golden orange tan colour, bookended by vibrant lime green, it can grow to a huge size.
Its unique characteristic though is that once harvested, and stored in a cool, dark, dry place, the nutty flavour deepens with ageing. In fact it will keep for up to six months on its own and will become sweeter and sweeter.
The dynamic flavour profile of the candy roaster moves it from the savoury realm onto the desert trolley so it’s a chef’s delight to play with. The squash is a traditional Appalachian pie filling in place of pumpkin.
Since we started to grow candy roaster squash, our pies have been always candy roaster pie instead of pumpkin pie! Anybody I've served my pie said, "better than pumpkin pie!", too. So I'm making candy roaster pie for Thanksgiving but before making pie, I made candy roaster bread today♪ #organicfarming #homesteading #farmtotable #homemadesweets #candyroaster #farmandart #自給自足 #半農半陶 #ノースキャロライナ
The candy roaster is hard to source however. Bred by the Cherokee Nation in the 1800s, in what is today western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and northern Georgia, its plentiful harvest and ease of storage made it a suitable crop which they guarded carefully. In fact the Cherokee Nation still keeps the candy roaster seeds in its seed bank in order to keep the squash from going extinct.
You won’t find candy roaster in your local supermarket and to get your hands on it you’ll have to source it in farmers’ markets in North Carolina, northern Georgia, and eastern Tennessee. However the good news is for chefs with green fingers who like to grow their own ingredients seeds are available to buy and when you harvest, you most likely will have humongous candy roasters in season that will sweeten with ageing.
Buy candy roaster seeds here.
Also, check out the pint sized honey nut squash.