I've got some softball-sized fruits from either a squash or gourd, problem is, I'm not sure what I planted (I think it was a mini hubbard but could be an ornamental mini gourd). Are non-edible gourds poisonous or just unpleasant to eat? If they cross-pollinate and hybridize, is it safe to eat the resulting fruit or should I just roast and eat the seeds from this batch?
Inedible usually just means unpleasant tasting, not poisonous. A good example is the coyote melon
. They are much too bitter and soapy tasting to ever think of swallowing any.
But they can still be useful. Even if the flesh is nasty, the seeds may not be. You can roast them to make pepitas or press them for oil. And if the oil has an off taste, well, at least you can make soap out of it.
"Inedible" is a relative term. What is 'inedible' to humans may be a gourmet treat for hogs or chickens.
The squash/gourd family produce many pounds of fruit per plant, and grow like 'weeds' - almost indestructible.
Worst case scenario: they are edible to the microbes in a compost heap, or a worm bin.
I can't wait to see if my volunteer squash plants in the compost bin are going to be at all tasty! One looks like an acorn, the other, who knows? Only problem with unintended squash is that I neglected to check them for squash bug eggs and found a bunch of young squash bugs on them. Bah! I thought I had done so well in controlling that particular pest. So, I sprayed them with a vinegar and dishsoap mixture, which seemed to zap the little ones right off, but the big ones kept moving about - do you think they'll go somewhere to die? Or do I have to go in that jungle and squish them by hand?