Sweet acorn squash, a new vegetable on the Israeli market

H.S. Paris, D. Godinger
Acorn squash is a very old group of cultivars, Cucurbita pepo subsp. texana Acorn group, that was developed by Native Americans of eastern North America prior to the European contact with that continent in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Although acorn squash are quite familiar in the United States and Canada, they are almost unknown elsewhere. Acorn squash have moderately good quality, but most recipes call for addition of a sweetener, such as brown sugar or maple syrup, in its culinary preparation. Breeding acorn squash for much improved fruit-flesh quality was initiated decades ago at the Newe Ya'ar Research Center in Israel. Black-green exterior color, bush growth habit, powdery mildew resistance, and increased sweetness were introgressed into acorn squash. Eventually, this effort resulted in the development of a new acorn squash hybrid having all of these qualities, the fruits having a flavor reminiscent of roasted chestnuts and a soluble solids content of 12‑18%. Named 'Table Sugar', this hybrid was introduced in 2007 by Origene Seeds. Origene sold seeds only to growers who agreed to pick the fruits when they were fully ripe. As this was a distinctive, high-quality product, the supermarket price was far higher than for other pumpkins and winter squash, thereby compensating the grower. Moreover, this new product was given a distinctive local marketing name, which became associated with utmost eating quality. The name was trademarked by Origene Seeds, thwarting attempts to sell imported seeds of acorn squash cultivars having inferior fruit quality.
Paris, H.S. and Godinger, D. (2016). Sweet acorn squash, a new vegetable on the Israeli market. Acta Hortic. 1127, 451-456
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1127.70
Cucurbita pepo, fruit quality, vegetable breeding

Acta Horticulturae