“Candied” North Georgia Candy Roaster Squash – The North Georgia Candy Roaster is not your typical squash. Get to know it’s candy-sweet and succulent flavor with this warm and festive holiday recipe!
Trying new, strange, and unusual veggies is part of the fun of buying produce from local growers. I recently came across a new, and certainly unusual-looking squash called a North Georgia Candy Roaster. Perhaps they’re commonplace in Georgia, but in PA, just north of the Mason Dixon Line, I was completely unfamiliar with this rather large edible. I’m not going to spend too much time going into the history of the North Georgia Candy Roaster today, as I have an entire post photographed and planned for that. Stay tuned if you’re a foodie nerd! For now I’m just going to say that this baby is great for feeding a crowd, and it lives up to it’s name by being wonderfully sweet.
In honor of its “candy” roaster name, and the holiday season, the candy roaster is making it’s debut on Simple Seasonal in the form of candied candy roaster. I know, I just used the word “candy” four times in a sentence about a squash… I normally wouldn’t cook a squash in this way since they tend to be very stringy, but it has a much smoother texture than your run-of-the-mill squash. It’s almost as if it’s part squash and part sweet potato, which made it perfect for this holiday favorite!
This is a holiday recipe, so I spared no expense in the butter and brown sugar department. New Year’s Day is around the corner, but between now and midnight on January 1st, we party in the Hanawalt household (with the occasional festive and healthy salad of course). Just look at this spiced sweet sauce…
It bakes up into something sweet, sticky, and aromatic. If you find yourself in possession of a North Georgia Candy Roaster, count yourself lucky and give this festive and moreish dish a try!
- 12 C North Georgia Candy Roaster squash cut into 1" cubes
- ½ C (1 stick) butter
- ½ C brown sugar
- ½ C raw cane sugar
- ⅓ C orange juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅓ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp black pepper
- ⅓ C chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Peel, seed, and cut the candy roaster squash into 1 in cubes. Place 12 C of cubed squash into a baking dish that has been lightly greased with cooking spray or a little butter.
- In a small saucepan combine the butter, brown sugar, raw cane sugar, orange juice, and spices. Melt over low heat until evenly combined, but not bubbling. Pour the sauce over the squash in the casserole dish and gently stir to evenly coat the cubes.
- Bake uncovered in a 350º F oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the squash reaches your preferred tenderness. About 2 minutes before removing the dish from the oven, sprinkle it with ⅓ C chopped pecans. Allow the dish to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Believe it or not, I get these every fall here in NC! The first time I saw it, I was incredulous! My kids couldn’t even pick it up. Love this candied candy roaster recipe. Love the texture of this squash.
Thanks Erin! I was hoping this post would get some love from folks in NC! I got this one from my crop share here in PA, which is kind of unusual. I’m lucky enough to have a farmer who plants some of the more rare seeds! I’m putting together another post with links to north Georgia candy roaster recipes. If you have any on your blog let me know and I’ll be sure to link to you!
Oh my God, this looks so sticky and yummy! How do you eat it, reading the list of ingredients I can only think of dessert…
You’re right Adina! It’s kind of a dessert entree. A sweet potato version of this is traditionally served in the US on Thanksgiving or Christmas. I like dipping my honey ham or turkey in it. It’s a kind of decadent sweet and savory way to enjoy the holidays!
Cynthe (pron. Cyn-thie) says
I grew these Candy Roaster squash for the first time this summer. Amazingly HUGE leaves and squash. Gorgeous, too! The largest one weighed over 8lbs. I’ve read they can grow to 15lbs!! That’s my goal for next year.
Made this recipe with a yummy combo variation: APPLES!
~ Substituted 3 cups of squash with a variety of apples I had on hand.
~ Used a tart-sweet apple cider to replace the orange juice.
~ Coconut oil to replace the butter…making the recipe vegan (for vegan folks at our Thanksgiving potluck).
~ And increased the pecans to 1/2 cup.
We served it at room temperature, since I had made it the evening before and had an 1.5hr drive to the potluck venue. It was a great success. Some folks thought it was the best dish served. Whipped up some vanilla, sweetened coconut cream to use as a topping. YUM! Am planning to do this again.
15 lbs! Wholly moly! 8 lbs of squash for squash is a lot to deal with, not to mention 15! Thanks for letting me know about your rendition of this dish and how you made it vegan. I’m so happy to hear that it was such a success!
Jeanne B says
If you have a garden (and garden space – this is a good size plant and squash), these grow easily for me down in GA but they should grow even further north. My late mother used to grow them (an Amish neighbor gave her seeds) and one squash would easily feed our family of six. Now it is just the two of us, my husband and me so I didn’t grow these last year. I am happy to get this recipe and know what I’m adding to my seed order.
Two forks up! I forgot – I also made a couple of pies using this squash. I’d throw the cooked squash into the food processor, butter, sugar, cinnamon, etc and hit the start button. The finished squash would go into an unbaked pie shell and then baked as you would a pumpkin pie
The kids ate the pies made with squash, thinking it was pumpkin pie. I had to get sneaky getting two of them to eat vegg9es and thinking they were eating “Naked Pumpkin Pie” had them happy to try the veggie. Also works well mixed in with muffin batter. These are awesome squash, though, and good just baked, cut in half and served on a plate of its own with cinnamon. I’d put the Cinnamon-sugar shaker and other add-ons on the table so the kids could customize their “pumpkin” as they liked.
This works with other squash that can be used as savory or sweet, but my family has always used yellow crookneck squash as a savory with lots of diced onion (sauteed in butter before adding). Some of our household wanted the crooknecks with diced, cooked bacon, some just with onions. As squash are so easy to grow, I’d put a lot of them in our garden.
Thank you for reminding me of the candy roasters! Now I am definitely off to order seeds.
Apologies for any typos, etc. I’m legally blind now and can’t see the monitor any more.
Jeanne- Thanks for sharing about your experience with candy roasters. They really are an awesome squash and I’m not sure why they’re not more popular! The CSA I’m a part of had success growing them in South Eastern Pennsylvania, so they can certainly can be grow successfully in more Northern areas. Candy Roaster pies are awesome! You just reminded me that I want want to make one this fall… Here I am already planning what I want to make in the fall and it’s not even spring yet! I hope you have success growing your candy roasters this upcoming season!
Also- There weren’t many typos. I’m happy to see that you had success interacting with this blog post. My husband and I have tried to consider blind readers with how we structure our website. If you have any further feedback about your experience, we would love to hear about it good or bad. Happy cooking!
I grew these last year and plan to grow them again this year. They are not very common, even down here in the south but perhaps 1 in 10 people know about them around here, more so the old timers. Eaten raw it has a melon-like flavor and sometimes I do not let it ever make it to the oven. The largest one I grew measured 21″ long and 12″ in diameter at the thickest place in the middle. I would say it was probably in the neighborhood of 8-9 lbs. They do keep long but not as long a butternut squash. I keep them at just under room temp. I would keep them in a root cellar if I had one. Anyway, I still have two left that I grew in 2017 and probably picked in June or July! And they are still good to eat! And it is February 2018! So I was browsing the interwebs looking for a new recipe to cook these last two and found your website. Thanks for the info. I am going to try this out. God bless.
Thanks for sharing about your experience with candy roasters! I’ve never tried eating one raw. I’m clearly going to give it a try this season! It’s a pretty great squash. I’m really hoping that this squash will grow in popularity!
Going to try this recipe now. We grew our candy roasters outside our apartment in Milwaukee this past year. The seeds were from my Dad’s harvest in NC the year prior.
I’m super impressed that you were able to grow candy roasters outside of an apartment! Thanks for sharing!
Karen E Andersson says
I’m making this right now. The sauce is way too watery. I’ve drained the sauce and am trying to reduce on the stove. So far I’m not impressed.
Hi Karen- I’m not sure what went wrong. The sauce for this recipe is normally a little on the thicker side. It only calls for 1/3 C juice. Perhaps you added more? Let me know if I can help!
Michael Henry says
I grew these for the first time this year. My largest one weighed 14 lbs, the four largest totaled 53 pounds. After storing (curing) for three months, I’ve discovered that you can easily roast, purée and freeze for future pie-making, or freeze the raw cubes for recipes like this. The North GA Candy Roaster is indeed a wonderful squash, left to us by the Cherokees. It does require a LOT of space to grow! Thanks for this recipe!
Hey Michael! The candy roaster really is a beast of a vegetable! Since you have so much of it on your hands I’m going to bet you’ll enjoy my blog post called All About North Georgia Candy Roaster Squash. Enjoy the dish!
This is my favorite squash. My family grew Hubbard’s for generations. I have converted most everyone here at home. Pumpkin pie is, my fav and I now use the candy roaster in place of pumpkin.
Got seeds from a friend few years ago and love growing these monsters! Bringing your dish to a Thanksgiving dinner with friends. We substitute honey roasted walnuts for pecans and to keep with Thanksgiving theme, add a handful of dried cranberries at same time as walnuts. Host has requested that I bring a few seeds for him to grow his own in the spring.