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Anywhere from 3 to 4 Confection squash grow along short, light green vines. The winter squash has a very pumpkin-like shape, round and slightly flattened with very shallow ribs. Confection squash are small, around 11 to 12 centimeters in height and 16 to 17 centimeters in width. Their size is often compared to that of a kabocha or buttercup variety. Confection squash have smooth, grey skin with the occasional charcoal mottling. The flesh is a vibrant orange color and has a flaky texture. The seed cavity is a moderate size, containing small, flat, pear-shaped seeds. After a period of ‘curing’ in storage post-harvest, the flesh of the Confection squash becomes sweeter and the texture becomes smoother. The sweetness will intensify with prolonged storage.
Confection squash is available in the fall and winter months.
Confection squash is a hybrid variety of Cucurbita maxima and is similar to the 'crown prince' variety of the same color. The sweet squash cultivar requires a “curing” period of 2 to 3 weeks in dry storage after harvest, which allows the sugars to develop within the flesh and improves the texture. Confection squash that are 2 to 5 months post-harvest are said to have the best eating quality. Confection squash is sometimes referred to as Confection Kabocha squash or Kabocha Confection squash, but it is merely a reference to shape versus species.
Confection squash, like most other winter squash cultivars, is high in vitamin A, C and fiber. The Cucurbita variety also contains a variety of essential nutrients like B vitamins folate, riboflavin, niacin and B6 (pyridoxine), which helps the body produce important hormones. Confection squash is a good source of minerals like copper and magnesium, as well as potassium and vitamin K, and omega-3 fatty acids. Other health benefits of Confection squash include antioxidant support and anti-inflammatory properties.
Confection squash is ideal for baking, roasting or boiling. Once the squash is halved and the seeds are removed, it can be prepared several ways. Slice the winter squash into sections and bake with honey and butter for a side dish. Roasting each half of the Confection squash will help maintain its flavor, and the roasted flesh can be used for baked goods, pureed for soups or can be frozen for future use. Whole, unblemished Confection squash will store well into spring. Raw, diced pieces of the flesh can also be frozen and used within 6 months.
The Confection squash is also known under the lesser-known scientific classification of Cucurbita moschata. This species is highly variable and includes crookneck, butternut, and pumpkins, even hubbard varieties. The species is native to Central America and northern South America.
The Confection squash is a variety bred by Tozer Seeds, a seed company based in the United Kingdom. They are one of the few breeding companies experimenting with winter squash varieties for northern Europe. Confection squash is a hybrid of a well-known British variety, the Crown Prince. The tender Confection squash vine requires more maintenance than the average squash or pumpkin variety, so its availability is limited to smaller farms versus more commercial operations. This winter squash variety is more likely to be found in Britain, Europe and in New Zealand, or to a limited extent through small farms at farmer’s markets in the United States.