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Medicinal, culinary and unusual botanicals from Australia and around the world

Cucurbita ficifolia – Chilacayote (seed)

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A member of the Curcurbitaceae family, Cucurbita ficifolia produces large basketball sized fruits around 5kg in weight. We’ve had one drop off and fall straight through a plastic chair so be aware of their weight!

The flowers, leaves and tender shoots are used in Mexico and other countries as greens. The most nutritional part of Cucurbita ficifolia is its fat and protein rich seeds, which can vary in colour from white to black. They are used in Mexico to make palanquetas, a sweet similar to peanut brittle. The fruit has several uses as food. The immature fruit is eaten cooked, while the mature fruit is sweet and used to make confectionery and beverages, sometimes alcoholic. The fruit is low in beta-carotene, as can be seen from its white flesh, and is relatively low in vitamins and minerals but moderately high in carbohydrates (from Wikipedia). The flesh is stringy and similar to spaghetti squash and can be cooked as such.

Care and Cultivation oCucurbita ficifolia

Sow Cucurbita ficifolia seed in spring/summer or all year round in warm climates. Full-sun to part-shade. Has fertiliser and water requirements like pumpkins, cucumbers and other gourds. The like to clamber and climb right over anything, a fence or a tree.

Once the fruit are ripe they may fall from the vine or be cut. They can be stored for a few weeks-months, just keep an eye on them that they aren’t going soft.

8 seeds per packet


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