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Warning about zucchini toxicity and not eating things that taste horribly bitter

 
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I keep telling myself that one of these years I want to do cotyledon tasting/selection on my cucumbers.



Ugh! This forum is tremendously influential on my actions. I sat down in one of my cucumber patches and tasted a cotyledon on every plant to eliminate the most bitter. Spit. Gag. Bleck! I ended up culling about 20% of them. I suppose that saves gagging in the fall, since the taste of the cotyledons is strongly correlated to the taste of the fruits, and I taste every fruit before saving seeds from it. One nice thing about tasting at such a young age, is that they haven't released pollen into the patch. There are 3 more patches. I'm cringing at the thought of tasting them....

I also tasted the lettuce. I find cucumber poison to be much more objectionable than lettuce poison. In any case, This is the third generation tasting for lettuce poison. And milky sap in lettuce leaves is a great indication that they are poisonous, so I don't have to taste the worst of the lettuce.
lettuce-tasting.jpg
culling small lettuce plants
culling small lettuce plants
 
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https://www.livescience.com/62158-toxic-squash-syndrome-hair-loss.html

Women lost their hair to bitter squash. Makes me wonder about growing squash.
 
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having nearly died from food poisoning i live by a couple rules
if it tastes yucckee dont eat it
when in doubt throw it out
i love zucchini and pick em before they get too big
 
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
I also tasted the lettuce. I find cucumber poison to be much more objectionable than lettuce poison. In any case, This is the third generation tasting for lettuce poison. And milky sap in lettuce leaves is a great indication that they are poisonous, so I don't have to taste the worst of the lettuce.






Just putting this out there. My experience with lettuce has been a mild sedative which helps with nervousness and mild pain. Often when i am out working i will seek out a wild lettuce and eat one leaf. I am under the impression this is similar to latex the sap you are referring too. When ever i cut the head of a lettuce off i always lick the bottom of the stem off because of this effect. It is not as noticeable(the taste) in the cultivated lettuce. I am reminded of poppy. So just putting out my experience as its different than what you are saying.
The information i got was from our local herbalist who uses wild lettuce in her tinctures.

edited it because it kept saying i had quoted Josephs words. it looked confusing, almost like i quoted him with my reply.
 
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I wonder if those ornamental plants could be used as a pesticide, or simply as an anti feeding device on another crops. Perhaps deer wouldn't like to eat everything if it were sprayed with it.

We know that the natural pests of this  plant are attracted to the bitterness. Perhaps they could be a trap crop, planted at some distance. Maybe plant a sterile version of it.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I believe that lettuce poison has medicinal properties. I am selecting my lettuce for suitability as food, not as herbal medicine.

 
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I believe that lettuce poison has medicinal properties. I am selecting my lettuce for suitability as food, not as herbal medicine.



I have wild lettuce growing all over the place here.  I'm somewhat over sensitive to most drugs, but I find a small leaf of wild lettuce chopped up, mixed with mayo, and put in a sandwich is useful for me if I'm stressed out and in pain, despite the vile taste which the mayo only just manages to disguise.

I never save my own lettuce seed though.  I would NOT want to risk that taste getting into my salad greens!
 
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"In a more recent review, published in January 2018 in the Journal of Clinical Toxicology, a French poison center reported more than 350 cases of food poisoning linked with bitter-tasting squash that took place between 2012 and 2016. About 56 percent of those cases involved squash purchased at a store, and in 26 percent of the cases, the vegetable came from a home garden, according to the findings." link to article.

It's only one statistic, but I find that 56% vs 26% interesting. It would seem that home grown squash is perhaps less likely to have this issue than squash bought from the store - unless those people were buying the decorative squash at the store and taking them home to eat, rather than buying something marketed as food.
 
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Hi Jondo,

Great thread.  
 
pollinator
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Lydia Feltman wrote:  Zucchini or Gourgette are in the genus Cucurbita and species pepo. They are insect pollinated as are all plants in the Cucurbitaceae family. Generally these plants will cross only with others in the same species. The species C. pepo includes, besides zucchini: some pumpkins, acorn, crookneck, scallop, spaghetti, and the small striped and warted gourds (the decorative gourds found in stores around Thanksgiving here in the U.S.) I'll bet the zuchinni in the story had genes from this type of "gourd", or similar, which is not edible, although I have not heard of it being poisonous.
Susan Ashworth in her book "Seed to Seed" recommends that any Cucurbits grown for seed should be 1/2 mile from any other in the same species. I have saved seeds from"Bennings Green Tint" Paddy Pans (my favorite) for many years now. Also saved one of each of the moschata and maxima species, each year different ones, but all Winter squash. Fortunately no one within 1/2 mile grew any other squash or pumpkins.
 A guy I know grew what he hoped would be a giant pumpkin from home grown seed someone had given him, in a mound of composted horse manure. It was a giant all right, but not a prize winner, as it was green and elongated, probably a cross with a Hubbard, which is also C.pepo.  C. pepo squash are one of the most difficult for saving seeds, because there are so many extreme differences among them.
 BTW; Cucumbers are Cucumis sativus, not even in the same genus as squash, and will not cross with them.
 I highly recommend Susan Ashworth's book, if you are interested in saving seeds.



The warty pumpkin things from the grocery store are edible. I make soup out of them. I think they are called Chioggia Squash. Also, I had a spaghetti squash and a cucumber cross one time. It was accidental, and it was really weird. Imagine a stringy flesh with cucumber flavor in a large yellow spherical fruit. We gave it to someone we don't like.
 
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Giant pumpkins and Hubbards are both Cucurbita maxima and thus readily hybridize.

Cucumbers come in two species Cucumis sativa and Cucumis melo the later of which readily hybridizes with melons such as canteloupe which is also Cucumis melo.

Spaghetti squash is Cucurbita pepo which readily hybridizes with gourds, summer squash like crooknecks and zucchini, and many other pumpkins and squash which are Cucurbita pepo.
 
Ryan Hobbs
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William Schlegel wrote:Giant pumpkins and Hubbards are both Cucurbita maxima and thus readily hybridize.

Cucumbers come in two species Cucumis sativa and Cucumis melo the later of which readily hybridizes with melons such as canteloupe which is also Cucumis melo.

Spaghetti squash is Cucurbita pepo which readily hybridizes with gourds, summer squash like crooknecks and zucchini, and many other pumpkins and squash which are Cucurbita pepo.



Fact remains, they can cross even if it is unusual.
 
                    
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Had my first and hopefully last experience with "toxic squash syndrome." My taster been gone even before COVID-19 so I didn't realize some yellow squash and zucchini from a roadside stand was so bitter. Munched away on both raw while preparing dinner. Pretty quickly started experiencing severe stomach pains & cramps. Then severe vomiting, abdominal pain and extreme diarrhea, nausea for next 24 hrs. Took about 48 hrs to even feel like eating again. It was horrendous, so be careful and spit it out of tastes too bitter.
 
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In the early days cucumbers were poisonous and only all trials with cross pollination brought the edible cucumber.

Especially regarding the cucumber family you need to be careful because also some poisonous wild ones could cross-pollinate your hybrid and might kicks their offspring back further than the Bronze age.

I am German and got told this by my Grandfather and he learned this by his Grandparents which makes this for me a well known fact.

Unfortunately this poor German fellow and his wife didn't have such Grandparents...
 
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