Wowsers, these Tromboncinos are growing like crazy! I have just three plants, and at today’s count 27 sizeable squashes (we’re talking a couple of feet long at least), as well as lots of smaller fruits that are just forming. It’s Tromboncino Towers. I have completely neglected these plants, other than watering them back in early summer when they were young and thirsty in the hot weather, and yet they keep on growing, and sprawling across metres of my veg patch (I’m lucky and have space to indulge them – if you were limited on space I would definitely grow them up a trellis) and are even more abundant than normal courgettes. So I thought I would share a few top tips as no doubt many other Rocket Gardeners will be enjoying a Tromboncino glut in the next few weeks, and it can be a bit overwhelming!
You can either harvest Tromboncino as a summer squash/courgette whilst they are still young (I pick them when they are about 1 foot long and not too thick) or in late autumn as a winter squash when the skins have thickened and changed to a peachy colour similar to that of a butternut squash. I’ve reached the stage now that I’m just letting them all mature and am not bothering to pick them young. My reason for this is that I’m somewhat losing my appetite for courgettes right now, and they will store better as winter squashes (for several months) and I can enjoy making all sorts of stews and soups with them. I am told, although this is my first year of growing them so I don’t actually know, that the flavour of them as a winter squash is a little milder but not dissimilar to butternut squash.
The seeds are in the bulbous end, and the flavour is in the long neck. When I’ve cooked with it, I’ve just fed the seed end to the chickens and used the flavoursome parts. As a courgette/summer squash I have been cooking some of the following dishes which have worked well:
- Roasted with tomatoes, garlic and onions before blending to make a pasta sauce (add plenty of fresh herbs and seasoning)
- Baking cakes – try courgette and orange sponge, or courgette cake with a lime flavoured icing.
- Making summer soups – I just had a delicious tromboncino,onion and potato soup with cheddar cheese mixed in at the end. It was pretty good. I’ve also tried Tromboncino Gazpacho by blending raw tromboncino, shallots, tomato, cucumber, ice cubes and basil. It was great earlier in the summer when it was really hot.
Obviously I haven’t yet cooked with them as a winter squash, but I’ve already got a few ideas up my sleeve:
- Roasted and used in risotto
- Warming squash & sweet potato soups
- Pureed with pulled pork
- With borlotti beans in a stew
- Roasted with lentils and goats cheese for lunches
A few more thoughts:
As I’ve been growing these funny looking vegetables I have had a few thoughts that may be of interest to others:
- They’d be the perfect entry to the village show for weirdest looking veg
- If you had a really small space but wanted to grow courgettes and squashes, then these would be an excellent compromise as the plant produces both and climbs really well so it can be trained vertically, thus saving lots of space.
- They are the only cucurbit in my veg patch that has seemed to be totally resistant to mildew. So they still look beautifully healthy.