Monday 27 September 2010

Bear Necessity

Some peculiar members of the squash family have appeared in the garden, I think because of cross-breeding between varieties including odd plants growing unplanned (we call them "volunteers") near the compost heap which have come from discarded seeds of exotic types bought at market.

They are edible but otherwise could be used to combat wild animals as a plucky housewife from Montana has demonstrated. She fought off a 200 lb black bear using a home-grown courgette - see the news here. She must have been glad that she had left it to grow too large because the bear might not have been impressed by a 4 inch example, a size I would recommend if you just want to steam them whole.

The pictured horror from my garden - a sinister marrow/pumpkin hybrid - would make a formidable weapon but, before you report me to the relevant authorities, be reassured that it has been "decommissioned" into a big pot of courgette à la grecque, a sound fall-back for this delicacy when overgrown. For each lb of thickly-sliced courgette add 1 tsp salt, 3 tblsp olive oil, juice of ½ lemon, ½ pint water, 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig thyme, 6 black peppercorns crushed, 6 coriander seeds crushed, 3 tomatoes skinned and chopped, 1 clove garlic crushed. Bring to the boil, simmer gently for 25 minutes and refrigerate before use.

For the "Bare Necessities" song, a fine hymn to Epicurean philosophy featuring a pawpaw which looks very like my squash, see here.