Wednesday, October 6, 2021

History Blooms at Monticello - Upper Ground Sweet Potato Squash

Upper Ground Sweet Potato Squash (Cucurbita moschata cv.)

This rare heirloom is a rugged variety that is tolerant of hot, dry weather, rendering it especially well-suited to the South. The vines are vigorous, with large, dark, metallic green-striped leaves, and it produces an abundance of medium-large, round-to-bell-shaped, tan-skinned fruit and moist orange flesh that resembles that of the sweet potato, hence the name. 

In 1790, Jefferson sent to Samuel Vaughan Jr. seed of a melon species resembling a pumpkin and tasting like the sweet potato, calling it “potateo-pumpkin.” The Upper Ground Sweet Potato Winter Squash can weigh up to 20 pounds when ripe.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase

Colonial Era Cookbooks

1615, New Booke of Cookerie, John Murrell (London) 

1798, American Cookery, Amelia Simmons (Hartford, CT)

1803, Frugal Housewife, Susannah Carter (New York, NY)

1807, A New System of Domestic Cookery, Maria Eliza Rundell (Boston, MA)

1808, New England Cookery, Lucy Emerson (Montpelier, VT)

Helpful Secondary Sources

America's Founding Food: The Story of New England Cooking/Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

Colonial Kitchens, Their Furnishings, and Their Gardens/Frances Phipps Hawthorn; 1972

Early American Beverages/John Hull Brown   Rutland, Vt., C. E. Tuttle Co 1996 

Early American Herb Recipes/Alice Cooke Brown  ABC-CLIO  Westport, United States

Food in Colonial and Federal America/Sandra L. Oliver

Home Life in Colonial Days/Alice Morse Earle (Chapter VII: Meat and Drink) New York : Macmillan Co., ©1926.

A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America/James E. McWilliams New York : Columbia University Press, 2005.