(Also known as Little Gem Squash, Rolet Squash, 8-ball Squash)
Gem squash seems to be a unique favourite in South Africa (much like biltong) although it originated in Central America. It is a round vegetable, the size of a large apple, with a dark green thick shell of a skin and sweet, firm, dense, yellowy-orange flesh filled with immature seeds.
It falls into the summer squash category, although unlike other summer squashes it has a tough, inedible skin.
Introduction: 6 months
Gem squash is a perfect first food for your little one. It is not allergenic, easy to prepare, has a soft texture and mild flavour – and it comes in its own biodegradable serving bowl!
Choose gem squash that is heavy for its size and has a dark green colour with no bruises or marks on the skin.
Store whole, raw gem squash in a cool dark place for up to 2 weeks (although they can be stored for a months after they are first harvested).
Store cooked gem squash in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 2 days.
Store cooked gem squash in a sealed container in the freezer for 2 months.
Soak the gem squash in a salt-, vinegar-, or hydrogen peroxide water solution for 20 minutes then rinse under running water.
Cut the squash in half and steam for 10 minutes, or until the flesh is soft.
Scoop out the seeds; add a teaspoon of coconut oil or ghee and a sprinkle of sea salt and serve.
Alternatively, you can scoop out the flesh and mash or purée.