Winter squash is a staple of ours here in the winter months. And Gold Nugget is one of my favorite winter squashes both in the kitchen and in the garden. Like many other flavorful winter squashes, it’s a Cucurbita maxima variety, and was bred here in the U.S. by North Dakota State University to be a sweet potato substitute for short-season areas. This open-pollinated 1966 All America Selection is well adapted to most growing areas though, and it always does well for me here in my zone 6b garden, despite our hot and humid summers. AAS winners can usually be expected to perform well under a wide range of growing conditions.
The bushy plants are well-behaved, and stay fairly compact at three to four feet wide. I generally plant ours about three feet apart, and work a big handful of compost into the planting hole along with some all-purpose organic fertilizer. Each plant usually yields four or five squashes for us on average. Squash vine borers are not usually a big problem in our garden, so I can’t say if Gold Nugget has any resistance to them or not.
The one to two pound squashes resemble little miniature pumpkins, with a bright reddish orange skin and thick golden flesh inside. Half a squash makes a perfect serving size, and they bake up moist and sweet. We usually season ours with a little butter, cinnamon and honey, but they are also perfect for stuffing with your favorite ingredients. Gold Nugget is a good storage squash too, generally keeping for around six months before starting to lose quality.
Seeds for Gold Nugget are available from a number of sources. 2014 listings in the U.S. include Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Territorial Seed, Seeds Of Change, Reimers, Pinetree Garden Seeds and Botanical Interests. It may be called Golden Nugget in some areas, and is also known as an Oriental pumpkin, though its well-documented origins seem to be quite Western.
If you’re looking for a winter squash for all seasons, I can heartily recommend Gold Nugget. It never fails to please here at Happy Acres. The one in the above photo was baked up a couple of days ago. After almost 7 months in storage it was still sweet and tasty. I hope you have enjoyed this Saturday Spotlight, and I’ll be back soon with more adventures!
To see my other Saturday Spotlights, visit the Variety Spotlights page.