This scarce heirloom variety of fragrant squash was first brought to the US during the 1790s by black émigrés from the West Indies. A classic feature of the Creole cuisine of the islands, the Martinique Cushaw quickly became a key ingredient in Philadelphia pepperpots, soups, veloutés, flans, and other dishes calling for rich, tropical flavor. Its French name giraumon derives from the term jurumu, a word for squash in the language of the Tupi people of coastal Brazil. Giraumon is generally rendered into English as cushaw since it refers almost exclusively to members of the moschata species.
Rampant 10 to 20 foot vines produce round or slightly oblong fruits weighing anywhere from 15 to 25 pounds, although there are also many smaller ones. The deep orange flesh is rich in Vitamin A and the extra-large flowers are excellent for stuffing. The fruits can be harvested young while green and flecked with white, or they can be harvested later as they ripen to dark orange. Unlike many tropical squash, this variety stores well and will keep for several months. Due to the invasive nature of the vines, we recommend this variety for small field culture.