Project Description

Health Benefits of Golden Nugget Squash

Golden Nugget squashes at maturity boast a dull orange skin, vertically lined with fine ridges. About the size of a small grapefruit measuring just three to four inches in diameter and two pounds or less in weight the Golden Nugget squash has a round to oval shape similar to that of a pumpkin. When mature and ready for harvest its skin will be hardened and when pressed with your fingernail will not dent. Another pumpkin like characteristic of the Golden Nugget is its notable two to three-inch stem which is typically left attached after harvest as a means of extending the storage life of the squash. The interior flesh of Golden Nugget is bright orange and features a central seed cavity which like most squash should be removed before using. When cooked the petite squash offers a starchy texture and sweet flavored flesh.

Golden Nugget squash is available in the fall months through early winter.

Current Facts
Golden Nugget squash, botanically classified as Cucurbita maxima, is an annual winter squash. Also known as Oriental pumpkin and Gold Nugget squash, it was bread originally by North Dakota State to be a sweet potato substitute for short seasoned growing regions. When released though it proved to be well adapted to many growing areas and caught on as a popular home garden squash as a result of its ability to stay compact and still provide a substantial yield of squash.

Nutritional Value
Golden Nugget squash offers fiber, iron, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and niacin. Orange squash, in particular, is a great source of beta-carotene, the source of vitamin A. The deeper the orange color, the higher the beta-carotene content.

Golden Nugget squash can be prepared with or without its skin, but the skin should be removed prior to eating. It can be baked whole or halved, or cubed and then roasted, steamed, boiled, and sautéed. Cooked squash can be pureed and added to risotto, soup or curries. Cooked squash can be added to casseroles, pies, tacos, salads, pasta dishes and chili. Its petite size is perfect for stuffed and baked squash applications when filled with meats, grains, vegetables, and cheeses. Its flavor marries well with cinnamon, nutmeg, curry, sage, chard, kale, parsley, cilantro, bell pepper, apple, pear, ground beef, sausage, quinoa, rice, maple syrup, toasted pecans, butter, cream, melting and hard cheeses, and balsamic vinegar. Gold Nugget squash will keep in cool, dry storage for one to two months.

Ethnic/Cultural Info
Golden Nugget squash was a 1966 All American Sections (AAS) winner, an award given to new crops which exhibit superiority in garden grown fruits and vegetable trials annually.

Golden Nugget squash was developed in 1966 by Dr.Holland at the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station in Fargo, North Dakota. Growing in a bush fashion, the Golden Nugget is a compact plant which can provide higher yields per acre than other vine type squashes. Golden Nugget squash prefers well-drained soil and should not be planted until risk of frost has passed in the spring or early summer. Golden Nugget squash will be ready approximately eighty-five days from planting and should be harvested before the first frost of the fall.