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Cucurbita ficifolia

The Chilacatote or Fig-leaf gourd, or Malabar gourd, or seven year melon, is an amazing plant that hails from central America. It looks lake any other squash plant, but is quite happy outdoors, (once it gets started). It produces what look like mottled watermelons, which can be used when young much like a courgette. The mature fruit contain jet black seeds, and will keep for years. I grew this batch of seeds in 2013, Curiosity got the better of me in 2016 and I opened them and took out the seeds. I thought they weren't germinating last year but this year, although slower than other squash seeds to emerge, they are germinating at 70%. The flesh is used to make deserts such as 'dulce de chilacayote' and fake shark fin soup. It is rich in vitamin B8 which is allegedly good for diabetics and those suffering from polycystic ovaries. The black seeds are also very nutritious and can be roasted and eaten like peanuts. 


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