Saturday, 18 August 2012

Marrow - Yum or Yuk? Ten Facts, Anyway!

It's one of life's nuisances that courgettes turn into marrows at exactly the time when their growers may be away on holiday. However, they say that size doesn't matter, so here's a sort-of homage to the vegetable marrow.

The marrow pictured here, with a pea pod for size comparison, mysteriously appeared on my doorstep while I was away. How lovely is that?

I've blogged in the 'Ten Facts About ...' style before, with the only problem being what to include and what to omit. With marrows, oddly, there is only a limited bank of information to be found, but here's what might be of interest to cooks, horticulturalists, and squash freaks.

 1  The marrow is the mature fruit of one of the squash family of plants. In its younger 
       form it is a courgette or, in the US, zucchini.

 2  They're grown from seed.

 3  They feature in their own size competitions for UK growers, like pumpkins. The
       current world record (as far as I can tell) was set in 2008 with a weight of 113

 4  Marrows are unusual in that they have about zero calories, fat, protein,
       cholesterol, sodium or potassium. So you could eat a whole one and still .....

 5  They can be used to make marrow and ginger jam, though I've tried this and the
       result just tastes mildly of ginger.

 6  It's pointless to freeze them; on thawing they just turn to flavourless mush.

 7  Unadorned, they have minimal flavour, but can be good in curry, stew or 
       gratin. Best known of recipes is marrow stuffed with a savoury mixture and
       baked; this works very well and it holds it shape. 

 8  They're also good cut into chunks, tossed with olive oil, crushed garlic, a pinch 
       of sugar and some salt and pepper, then roasted at a fairly high temp for about 
       45 minutes. That's what I'm planning for my special marrow.

 9  They are much less commonly grown and sold in the US than the UK.

10  Marrows seem to keep well for ages in a cool environment.

Well I stretched it to ten facts fairly successfully. Maybe I can count this as no. 11:
One year one of my courgettes got a bit above itself and we used it as a baseball bat with a tomato for the ball. I was batting, and enthusiastically hit the tomato. The tomato disintegrated and the overripe end of the courgette flew off straight into one of the panes on our hexagonal sloping greenhouse. Replacing the pane was a challenge. Don't try this at home.