the story of cushaw granola

I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with my cushaw squash. Cushaws are a crookneck squash originally from Central American, but have long since also become a traditional squash in the American South. They thrive in hot, humid climates, and do better here than most other squashes. They’re big, though, and so don’t fit modern family sizes and lifestyles as well. Consequently, fewer people still know what to do with them, and even fewer are willing to lug a fifteen-pound squash home from the market.

The most obvious thing to do with them would be to make cushaw pie, and I think I make a pretty decent one. But there’s a limit to how much I can share that pleasure, since I can’t legally sell cushaw pies (products involving eggs are restricted).

Then it occurred to me: cushaw granola. It won’t use a massive amount of cushawI could make a lot of granola from one big squashbut it would use some. So after experimenting over the course of several rounds of granola this winter, I now have a recipe for what I think is an exceptionally good-tasting granola. It has a rich, spicy (lots of cinnamon) flavour. I think some granolas excessively sweet, so I made this one less sweet. I figure you can always add a bit of maple syrup or your sweetener of choice, but it’s very hard to make it less sweet. It’s perfect with milk and a handful of blueberries or other berries.

Pecan Cushaw Granola

Now for some economics. I’ve long noticed in stores that some kinds of granola are way more expensive than other kinds. Some are a couple of dollars a pound, others are ten dollars a pound or even more. But I never fully appreciated why such a big range. I came to a much better appreciation when I calculated the cost of the ingredients for my pecan cushaw granola. That range is not just the result of some brands charging more for basically the same product. Here are two of the main ingredients in many granolas: oats and nuts. But the ratio of those ingredients varies a lot. So does the price of those ingredients. Oats often cost around $2/lb. Pecans, on the other hand, often cost $15/lb. That’s a massive difference! Obviously, a granola that has a lot of pecans in it is going to have to be a pricey granola. A granola that is mostly oats, on the other hand, can be quite cheap.

For better or worse, my pecan cushaw granola is a pecan cushaw granola, and I wasn’t willing to skimp on the pecans. So … it tastes great, but, yes, it’s kind of expensive. — Sydney

This week’s items

Items we plan to have at the market this week (an asterisk indicates unusually limited quantities):

  • Purple asparagus*
  • Dry beans and cowpeas (assorted varieties)
  • Pecan Cushaw Granola
  • Herb plants
  • Baby mustard*
  • Parsnips
  • Pea shoots
  • Lilac Daikon radishes
  • Spinach, mature
  • Squash (Butternut, Kabocha, Seminole)
  • Sweet potatoes (Orleans and Murasaki)

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