Since I've read that the toxic saponins in buckeyes and horsechestnuts (Aesulus sp.) can be leached out by boiling the cracked nuts in water for half an hour followed by a cold leach through cloth mesh, I've been wondering if a similar process could be used to leach out the toxic cucurbitacins from wild squash flesh. I have not found any ethnobotanic references to such a leaching process being historically used for wild buffalo gourds (Cucurbita foetidissima) or coyote melons (C. palmata and C. digitata), but I would not be surprised if such a method of preparation were historically used to prepare wild squash for eating before squash were selectively bred to not produce cucurbitacins.
If anybody finds a reference to such a process being used on the flesh of wild squash fruits, please let me know. So far, I have only found references to the seeds of wild squash being eaten, but nothing on the flesh of wild squash.
Mandrake...takes on and holds the influence
of the devil more than other herbs because of its similarity
to a human. Whence, also, a person’s desires, whether good
or evil, are stirred up through it...
-Hildegard of Bingen, Physica
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
posted 1 month ago
With cucumbers, the poisons/bitterness tends to be concentrated in the skin, and more particularly in the skin near the stem. Removing most of the poisons from a cucumber can be as easy as peeling, and then discarding about an inch of the fruit which is closest to the stem. I suspect that squash may share a similar biology.