This is the latest in a series of posts that I’ve done about my favorite varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs we grow at Happy Acres. To see my other Spotlights, and those from other garden bloggers, visit the Variety Spotlights page.
Every once in a while a new vegetable variety comes along that’s a real game changer for me. I’m talking about something that is truly different, and truly wonderful both to grow and to eat. My latest find is called Centercut Squash, and it has been an exciting addition to the lineup of veggies I’m growing here this year.
Centercut is a hybrid C. moschata squash from Row 7 seed company. It’s a winter squash that is treated like a summer squash and eaten when the fruits are young and tender, before the skin toughens up. The listing at Row 7 declares it “a new chapter for the heirloom tromboncino, and an answer to ho-hum zucchini.” While seed companies are always a bit prone to hyperbole, in this case I believe they are not exaggerating. The young fruits resemble tromboncino squash, but with a darker green skin. As they get larger I think they look more like neck pumpkins, which is likely also in their parentage.
Centercut grows on long, rambling vines that are best trellised. I planted mine in the corner of the garden and let it vine up along the fencing. Like other moschata squashes, it is resistant to squash vine borers, and in my garden has held up very well against the squash bugs. My two plants have been quite prolific, and so far have yielded over 15 pounds of squash with no signs of letting up. It’s best to harvest the fruit young, while it’s about 8-10 inches long and the diameter is banana sized or smaller. The neck is solid flesh, the seeds are confined to the small cavity at the blossom end of the fruit.
As great as Centercut is in the garden though, it’s in the kitchen where it really shines. The flesh is less watery than a zucchini, and has a sweet nutty flavor. We’ve enjoyed it roasted in the oven, and sauteed on the stove. Both methods bring out the flavor, and the flesh gets tender and soft. To roast in the oven, I cut in half lengthwise and toss with a bit of olive oil and salt. I put it in a cast iron skillet that’s been preheated in a 400°F oven and pop it back in the oven to cook. I flip the squash over once or twice during cooking, and it’s generally done to my tastes in about 30 minutes or so.
It’s also good sauteed on the stove. I like to add a little garlic or some onions, and though I haven’t tried it yet a few chopped herbs would be nice. I can also see adding a few tomatoes or peppers to the skillet. Anything that goes with zucchini will go with Centercut, and a bit of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano over the finished squash would also be nice. We’ve shared a few of the squash with others and our friend Ange sent me a pic of how she prepared hers sauteed with a little onion. Thanks Ange for sharing the photo and letting me use it here!
I hope you have enjoyed this spotlight on a new squash that is easy to grow and truly great in the kitchen as well. Seeds for Centercut are only available in the U.S. from Row 7 seed company, and proceeds from their seed sales helps support public plant breeding research at Cornell University. And thanks to chef Dan Barber and breeder Michael Mazourek for creating this wonderful variety of squash! I’ll be back soon with another variety to spotlight.
Sounds delicious – I just ordered seeds. I love tromboncino squash, but this sounds just a bit better and perhaps not as aggressive? Thanks for the recommendation!
I love tromboncino too, but I think Centercut is my new favorite!
I am curious why you prefer centercut over tromboncino. I cannot see much difference. They are both excellent, but the seed of the former costs a great deal more.
In my garden, Centercut at the green stage has much more flavor than the Tromboncino. At the mature stage, I think Centercut is one of the best tasting of the neck pumpkin types I have ever grown. One packet of seed will last me for at least two seasons, and considering the number of high quality squashes I get I think it is a bargain! Also, I was not compensated in any way for this review, or given free seeds.
Looks like an interesting squash. I am growing Teot Bat Put squash this year. I swear I learned about it on your blog, but I can’t find it in the search box. If you have grown it, how do you cook it? Mine is now at the ready to harvestwinter squash stage,
I haven’t grown it, but it sounds interesting! I would love to know how it tastes. The moschata types typically do well for me here.
That leaves me wondering where I heard about it. It is a hybrid, available from Kitazawa Seed Company, which specializes in Asian vegetables. It is also known as Asian zucchini and Avocado squash (because of the shape).
That looks like a winner. I like the idea of a smaller Tromboncino squash and if it tastes better too that’s a bonus. Maybe I’ll try it next year.
Thanks so much for sharing, Dave! – Kate Barney, VP of Row 7
Hi! As they mention it’s a new chapter of tromboncino, which doesn’t have edible seeds, are the seeds in this squash edible?
The seeds are edible when they are immature, but not when the squash matures. It’s pretty much like the tromboncino in that regard. In my opinion Centercut has a lot better flavor when fully matured though.
We picked up a center cut squash at a farm stand on the way home from vacation. It is not a young squash: the skin has already hardened and it is a lovely buff color. Can it be eaten or is this only for decoration?
Yes, the mature ones can be eaten. I treat it like a butternut squash, and use it for roasting, soup, etc. I’ve got some maturing now. https://i1.wp.com/happyacres.blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/centercutsep20.jpg?ssl=1
I just learned about this squash today – I could only find the seeds from Row7Seeds.com. Hope this is helpful for anyone wanting to try out this veggie!
Row 7 Seeds is the supplier for this squash. I’m growing it again this year and it is doing great so far!
Do you have any of his squash available for sale?
Sorry, but no I don’t.
Do you think it tastes better in the young/zucchini stage or in the mature/butternut stage? And it really tastes better than Tromboncino in the youn/zucchini stage?
Vickie, I like it both ways! At the young stage, I do believe it has a more rich and full flavor than Tromboncino. I really like it roasted either on a sheet pan or in a cast iron skillet. We spiralize the Tromba a lot, which is harder to do with the Centercut. At the mature stage, it is sweet and makes a great pie as well as other uses where you would use Butternuts.
thanks much. I cannot generally get to the mature stage in my climate. But that is good to know.