Tetsukabuto is culinarily very versatile! Enjoy it in salads, soups, pies and bread pudding (links to recipes, videos?). Tetsukabuto is unusual in that is the offspring from a cross of two species (like a mule!) - one parent is a butternut type squash and the other is a kabocha type squash. Tetsukabuto was bred and is produced in Japan (is this true?). We don't understand why, but it has historically not been grown or consumed in the US, while it is grown widely in Japan and is very popular in Brazil. We want to change that as we think Tetsukabuto is a wonderful squash!
Tetsukabuto is an unusual shape - it is almost round, and with vertical stripes and ridges. When just harvested, it is green, but as it ripens in storage it turns an orange-tan. This is a great attribute, as you can tell exactly how ripe it is by looking at it! Tetsukabuto is very long storing, and these color changes occur over many months. It is possible to store (and eat) Tetsukabuto throughout the entire winter (through April).
Tetsukabuto as a rootstock:
In the US it is used as a rootstock for melons and watermelon. As a rootstock, it is grown in the greenhouse to the two leaf stage; its leaves and growing tip are then removed. A melon or watermelon plant at about the same developmental stage is cut at the same height, but the roots of that plant are discarded. The leaves and growing tip of the watermelon or melon plant are placed on top of the roots and crown of the Tetsukabuto plant. The two plants grow together at the junction. The result is a melon or watermelon plant that has greatly improved resistance to soilborne diseases! Grafting disease susceptible melons onto resistant roots (like Tetsukabuto) allows farmers growing melons on soils with disease problems (and this problem is very widespread in melon-growing areas worldwide) to continue to grow melons without using fumigation.