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Although rarely seen on the supermarket shelves, the humble marrow - Cucurbita pepo ovifera, was once a revered crop on the allotments of 20th Century England. It is a half-hardy annual with a bushy or trailing habit which produces large, ovoid or cylindrical, and sometime ribbed, edible fruits.
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It has a mild flavour suitable for both simple and complex dishes.They are also a good source of several nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin C, niacin, folic acid, and iron.
Marrow is served cooked. It is usually either boiled or steamed in 2 inch rings, or baked in halves with the centre scooped out and stuffed with a filling such as sausage meat and tomato or Bolognese sauce.
It can be sliced into rounds and topped with cheese and baked. Or it can be cooked with onions, peppers and tomatoes to make a simplified version of ratatouille.. Marrow can also be combined with ginger to make jam, or as an ingredient in mixed summer vegetable preserves.
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In fact, Cucurbita pepo is one of the oldest, if not the oldest domesticated species of squash in the world, the oldest known locations being found in southern Mexico in Oaxaca 8,000-10,000 years ago. Wild species of Cucurbita pepo can still be found in this region.
The current record for the world's heaviest marrow is 93.7 kg and has been unbroken since 2009. It was grown by Brad Wursten in Sliedrecht, Netherlands.
For related articles click onto the following links:
HOW TO GROW MARROWS
HOW TO GROW MARROWS FROM SEED
WHAT IS A MARROW?