What kind of squash is this?
May 22, 2014 5:33 PM   Subscribe

A volunteer squash has appeared in my vegetable garden. Is it safe to eat? The only squash I've grown in the garden has been zucchini and cucumber and this looks like neither. The plant is more of a long vine instead of a starburst vine like a regular zucchini.

The fruit is roundish with crenelations (picture here: https://flic.kr/p/nqxMNM and here https://flic.kr/p/nCbksW). I picked them while they were tangerine-sized.

I'm puzzled where it came from because we haven't eaten anything like it, so it's not like the seed was in our compost. We did have acorn squash 3 years ago so maybe the seeds were at the bottom of the compost pile, but aren't acorn squash more green on the outside and orange on the inside? We also had delicata squash a few years ago so some of those seeds may be in the compost, but these don't look long like delicata is.

When I cut it open the inside is a creamy white, like a zucchini with thin soft seeds. I haven't tasted it yet, but plan on cooking it up tonight.
posted by nakedsushi to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
Patty-pan squash?
posted by Ideefixe at 5:37 PM on May 22, 2014

Ideefixe, I thought so at first too, but the ones in my garden don't have a flat bottom.
posted by nakedsushi at 5:38 PM on May 22, 2014

Looks like under-ripe acorn squash. Both the skin and the flesh will become much darker if you let them grow for a few more weeks.
posted by ssg at 5:43 PM on May 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Maybe round zucchini--it's some sort of squash, I'd wager.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:45 PM on May 22, 2014

I would recommend putting them in the sun for a while to ripen somewhat before eating.
posted by ssg at 5:45 PM on May 22, 2014

Last year we had a strange volunteer squash appear. It looked like green pumpkin with white-ish flesh that smelled like cucumber, very much like the photo at the bottom of this page describing hybrids. I guess ours was a hybrid, maybe pumpkin/summer squash. We didn't taste it but I would be pretty shocked if it were toxic.
posted by exogenous at 5:49 PM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

That's an informative link, exogenous! So it looks like it's either a baby acorn squash, or maybe the plant was cross-pollinated while at the nursery and I didn't know it since cucumber and zucchini don't cross pollinate and those are the only two squash-type things I was growing.

Oh wait...I also had a bittermelon plant which flowered but had no fruit. Uh oh.
posted by nakedsushi at 5:54 PM on May 22, 2014

Squash plants hybridize easily and the resulting products are usually...unpalatable. It probably won't hurt you, though, so you might as well try it.
posted by epanalepsis at 6:01 PM on May 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Those don't look a thing like bitter melon.
posted by musofire at 6:18 PM on May 22, 2014

I cooked and ate them and I'm still alive with no gastrointestinal distress. They tasted pretty good! It was like the texture of a zucchini with a slight pumpkin flavor. I was a little worried because they were slimy when I cut them, but sauteed in olive oil and garlic, they were tasty.
posted by nakedsushi at 8:50 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

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