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Are All Volunteer Squash Edible?

 
pollinator
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I have some lovely volunteer squash plants that came up next to my compost piles. The seeds would have come from either store-bought winter squash we ate, or some useless, but very pretty, little ornamental gourds and pumpkins we couldn't resist buying in the fall. Or possibly some overgrown, home-grown zucchini or yellow crook-neck I threw in there at the end of last summer.

A few of the plants are already setting fruit. One is making these yellow balls, which look like a yellow 8-ball squash, and they turn yellow as soon as they are pollinated, which makes me think they might be a summer squash of some kind? The largest is about the size of a softball right now, and I'd like to pick it and try cooking it.

I do remember on here that someone mentioned that squash could potentially cross-pollinate with "poison squash", resulting in inedible fruit, but I don't remember any details being given about that. Since I am probably not the one who grew the parent squash, i have no way of knowing what it may have been cross-pollinated with. So is this a potential issue I should be worried about? And if so, how do I tell if this squash is good to eat?
 
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the compounds that make squash poisonous also make them bitter, so you should be able to taste the tiniest bit to test for bitterness.
 
Lila Stevens
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greg mosser wrote:the compounds that make squash poisonous also make them bitter, so you should be able to taste the tiniest bit to test for bitterness.



Oh, great, that is just the kind of info I was hoping for! Thank you!
 
pollinator
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Lots of hybrids will revert to original versions when they grow out of the compost pile.

The fruts of the originals may not be very nice, though it's great fun to watch them grow and sprawl and take over the world.

In terms of safety, I defer to Greg's wisdom.
 
Lila Stevens
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Lots of hybrids will revert to original versions when they grow out of the compost pile.

The fruts of the originals may not be very nice, though it's great fun to watch them grow and sprawl and take over the world.

In terms of safety, I defer to Greg's wisdom.



That makes sense. I think I will try one for dinner tonight, and if it's not tasty enough for us, my goats might still like them. If they are bitter I'll just let them mature into hard gourds for my kids to play with and they can rejoin the compost pile when my kids are done with them.
 
Lila Stevens
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And yes, it is very fun to watch them try and take over the world! There are few things as happy as a squash plant in a compost pile, haha. I wish I could post photos, but for some reason the photos off my phone won't post here.
 
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Take Greg's advice about being bitter.

Here are some threads that you or others might find interesting:

https://permies.com/t/112682/squash-toxicity

https://permies.com/t/40/112682/Warning-zucchini-toxicity-eating-taste
 
Lila Stevens
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Anne Miller wrote:Take Greg's advice about being bitter.

Here are some threads that you or others might find interesting:

https://permies.com/t/112682/squash-toxicity

https://permies.com/t/40/112682/Warning-zucchini-toxicity-eating-taste



Thanks! Those were interesting and helpful!
 
I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay, I sleep all night and work all day. Tiny lumberjack ad:

World Domination Gardening 3-DVD set. Gardening with an excavator.
richsoil.com/wdg


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