Kamo Kamo

Kamo Kamo or Kumi Kumi – A cultivar in the Cucurbita pepo group –  is a ‘traditional’ Maori heirloom squash. It’s another childhood vegetable I remember well.

There are regional variations on it based on careful guarded seed saving. There are many discussions about it’s origin including via settlers etc. However personally I would tend towards expecting that it could just as likely have been one of the items brought to Aotearoa  (with other vegetables) along with some of the Maori potatoes that have been recently shown through DNA testing to be more likely to have arrived direct via the Pacific islands from somewhere in South America – home of squash and potatoes.

The flavour varies depending on the cultivar but generally they are quite nutty and flavoursome especially when roasted or cooked in a hangi. They are usually better flavoured when left to ripen up a bit off the vine but they can sometimes get fibrous – but this seems a random seasonal thing.

It is a smallish but fast growing pumpkin/squash vine that likes all the usual things like open soil, manure and lots of water and sun.

The fruit tends to be fairly small and very heavily ridged and can vary in colour from deep green to almost striped.

It is easily grown and tends to have quite a few fruit on a single vine – again – depending on the cultivar.