Growing red onion squash

Posted: Friday 4 April 2014
by Kate Bradbury

I have just sown seeds of squash 'Potimarron', or red onion squash. It's one of the best varieties for roasting and baking.

I have just sown seeds of 'Potimarron'. Also known as red onion squash, ‘Red Kuri’ or 'Uchiki Kuri', it is, according to the seed catalogues, one of the best varieties for roasting and baking and has a sweet, chestnut-like flavour.

The seed catalogues don’t do it justice.

Red onion squash is amazing. Small and bright reddish orange, with faint stripes from the base to the shrivelled stem, it does indeed look a bit like a red onion. But that’s where the similarity ends. When roasted, it has a delicious, sweet chestnut-like flavour, and it almost melts in the mouth. I spend a small fortune on them every autumn, and roast them and serve them with feta cheese and puy lentils, or bake them and stuff them with quinoa, more feta cheese, chillies and olives, or I make a soup (which I decorate with pumpkin seeds and just a few crumbles of feta cheese).

For about three weeks every autumn I live on red onion squash, until the shops run out and I have to wait a whole year to eat one again.

This year I don’t intend to run out in three weeks, for I am growing my own for the first time. I sowed all 10 seeds in the packet and have set aside a large patch of my allotment for them. A winter variety, the squashes store well, so I can keep them on the shelf in my kitchen to look pretty until I’m ready to eat them.

I reckon about half the allotment will be taken up with my favourite squash, but as ‘Potimarron’ climbs well, I can train the plants up frames and grow sweetcorn, beans and wildflowers among them.

For the best results, the plants need plenty of sun, water and a good, rich soil. For the first time in five years I have these conditions. I’m just wondering how I will haul my huge crop home on the bike – how many red onion squash can you fit into two bicycle panniers? I’ll let you know.

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bougie 11/04/2014 at 17:58

I have never heard of this variety before, and I am fairly sure that I haven't seen them in the shops. Mind you, this could be because I live in France perhaps. I will certainly trawl the net to find seeds though and will be very interested to hear how you have got on with them. They sound delicious.

Karen 3 17/04/2014 at 17:37

These do look delicious. You say they are small. It's difficult to tell from the picture, but how small would you say?