The Golden Nugget squash, which also known as the oriental pumpkin, is part of the Cucurbita maxima family. The species Cucurbita maxima is of South American origin, but this particular cultivar was developed in 1966 at North Dakota State University.
Although the Golden Nugget is classified as a winter squash, it is actually available from the late summer through the winter. The winter squash is actually a variety of squash that is harvested at maturity, generally towards the end of summer. Compared to summer squash, winter squash tend to have thicker and harder seeds and skin. Their sturdier exterior also helps protect them from the surrounding conditions so they can be stored for much longer than summer squash, if stored in a cool, dark areas.
The Golden Nugget is smaller in size when compared to other pumpkins in the Cucurbita maxima species. Its weight ranges from 0.45 – 1.50 kilograms (one to three pounds) and the shape of the fruit is often round and sometimes oval. The surface of the Golden Nugget squash is rough and can be recognized by its pinky-orange color. However, the inner flesh of the Golden Nugget is bright orange in color and it is blessed with a sweet flavor.
Like most other pumpkins and zucchinis, the Golden Nugget grows best in drained soil. It can be planted as both seeds and seedlings, depending on how fast you would like the seeds to sprout. The seeds typically take 7-14 days to germinate and can be sowed or transplanted in late May or early June once the soil begins to warm up. The Golden Nugget has fruits that are borne on compact, bush plants, which allows them to be planted more densely than vining types of pumpkin, for a higher yield per acre.
The Golden Nugget is typically harvested twelve weeks after being planted. If kept in storage, the rind of this variety becomes a darker orange as the pumpkin ripens. Because they are small, they can be easily roasted whole or halved. In addition, this variety is very versatile and can be cooked, diced, and puréed into soups and risottos. They have a delicious nutty flavor and can be eaten plain or with a sprinkle of salt.
For a simple side dish, try this recipe with the Golden Nugget squash at home!
Recipe: Baked Golden Nugget Squash
1 gold nugget squash
1 pinch salt
1 pinch cinnamon
1 dash black pepper
2 tbsps brown sugar
11/2 tbsps butter
– Wash the squash, cut in half lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds and string portion
– Pierce a hole in each end of the squash halves and sprinkle each squash cavity with a pinch of salt, a pinch of ground cinnamon, dash of ground pepper, 2 teaspoons dark or light brown sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons butter.
– Arrange squash in a baking dish. Pour boiling water into the pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake, covered, in a 400°F oven for 45 minutes, or until squash is tender. Serve.
Recipe from australian.food.com
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