(C. Maxima) The satiny soft texture and unmistakable chestnut flavor of this turban squash is reminiscent of the famous ancient Japanese bred kabochas. In reality, this exceptional variety was bred at North Dakota State University in the 1920s as a replacement for sweet potatoes.
Northern researchers found a chance cross between the Essex and Quality varieties and they named their happy accident Buttercup. The rugged plants thrived in the notoriously brief N.D. growing season. Early maturity and natural insect resistance were appreciated by researchers, and exhaustive taste tests were conducted.
Selection resulted in dusty aquamarine-colored fruit of perfect family serving size with bright orange flesh, of exceptional mild sweet flavor and creamy texture. University of North Dakota researchers exclaimed “Each squash weighs 3- 3.5 pounds just enough to serve 5-6 people in one meal with no leftovers”.
The nutritious starchy flesh made a perfect substitute for those northern growers yearning for the elusive semi-tropical sweet potatoes of the South. A shining example of pre-industrialized breeding, where flavor and texture are considered equally important as yield and vigor.
Minimum Seed Count: 20
Image and description courtesy Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds/Rareseeds.com