Monday, April 4, 2011

Mine's bigger than yours...

One of the veges that has been the most successful in our garden this year is the kamokamo.  I'd never eaten it before now, and upon trying it this summer, I have to say I really like it. It's kind of like a cross between a pumpkin and a zuchinni (tastes more like a zuchinni).  Some of you may know it as kumi kumi or Maori pumpkin.

Like many of the pumpkin and squash family, it starts in a fairly slow way, sitting quietly and non-descript in amongst the other plants. Then one morning, ZOOOM, you come out to see the garden, and this triffid has taken over your whole backyard!

Kamokamo is the plant that you can see everywhere here, running over gardens, along fences, and around the clothesline.  (chooks placed in picture to give correct scale!).

Our kamokamo this year have been extremely prolific, constantly growing the large striped green globes, with no signs of tiring yet.
Even now in April, we still have new kamokamo bursting forth.
Mostly it's best to eat kamokamo when they are relatively small, they can get tougher and less tasty as they grow bigger. The giveaway is when they start to turn orange. 

However, this year our kamokamo have grown like 'topsy' (as my Nanas would say), and have constantly produced large, tasty orbs of goodness like this one. 
Our most recent kamokamo, which I dubbed "Wilson" weighed 4.5 kilograms.
I have been going a wee bit stir-crazy working from home, and had almost started calling the enormous kamokamo "Wilson" in reference to my Castaway work situation.  Having got to that point, it was probably a good thing that friends from up North arrived here for a cup of tea the other day, and in exchange for a crayfish and some perch, I passed "Wilson" onto them for their culinary enjoyment. Kind of serependitous really, since they hail from the same area that the seeds of our kamokamo came from. Wilson has gone full circle. (aside: Reuben's Mum put it on the plane as her cabin-baggage, much to the amusement of the aviation security guys when they x-rayed her bag). 

Do any of you grow kamokamo? What's your favourite way to eat it?


  1. Hey Nic, love reading your blog!! I tried a kamokamo pickle once was lovely!

  2. Great Blog! Lovely Kamo kamos. My preferred way of eating them is sliced, rubbed with oil salt and rosemary, and roasted. They are pretty good to stuff with tomatoey rice or pilaf and bake. Good food for a day like today.

  3. Looks like they have flowers like Zuchinnis...have a great recipe for them! Best to use the males ones though unless you are sick of eating big Wilsons....

    Take flower - remove inside stamens...and outside spikey bits if they have them and cut the stalk to about 2 cms (you then use this to turn it over in the pan). Inside place a cube of cheese the kinda melts like mozzerella, a basil leaf and a squirt of anchovey paste. Make a batter out of plain flour, 1 egg, pinch of salt and water together to make batter so it is a thickish consistency to cover the flower. Coat flour in batter and place into hot peanut oil in a fry pan. Cook until brown and eat straight away.

    Very yummy and great with things like roasted tomatoes and oh I don't know something from the wild! Can't believe I am giving away one of my favourite secret easy Italian recipes....must be the weather or something! hehehhehe - enjoy! Mardi :-)

  4. I just love Kamokamo..had it just last week..wallace

  5. 'tasy orbs of goodness' - goodness!
    How would you describe a giant daikon I wonder?
    Good kamokamo. I've just finished writing a piece about a wonderful tunnelhouse I visited in Timaru that had its pumpkin vines growing up the ..uprights with big, green clean pumpkins hanging at head-height. I'll blog a photo later today.

  6. Kia ora

    I aint got any kamokamo but I have its 39th cousin, 6 times removed taking over part of my garden (Pumpkin) dont you just love the added benefits of your own compost !

    Dave A

  7. What a lovely garden you have, Nic. I've made lovely light fritters from my neighbour's kamokamo. She told me they were round zucchinis - and I didn't know any better until I saw your photo! - Marina

  8. I love kamo with my 'boilup'. Without peeling the skin off or doing anything fancy, just slice in half and pop in a steamer and steam the shit outta them ror an hour or more... when semi-soft and ready to eat just melt a blob of butter over the flesh and it's ready to eat... skin and all... absolute heaven on the palate.