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Conlinky squash is harvested when it is still very young. The bright, lemon yellow squash has a tear-drop shape similar to that of a red kuri pumpkin. The edible skin is thin and has shallow vertical grooves running down its length. An ideal size for young Colinky squash is between 16 and 18 centimeters long and roughly 500 grams in weight. At this size, the flesh is firm but tender and is very juicy. The taste is sweet and earthy.
Colinky squash are available in the late spring and throughout the summer in Japan.
Colinky squash is a unique variety of winter squash that is harvested in the summer and typically eaten raw. Botanically, it is a member of Cucurbita maxima, and was the result of a cross between a red kuri pumpkin and a numbered Australian pumpkin variety. In Japan, where this variety was found, Colinky squash is referred to as a “Western pumpkin” and is also known as a “Salad pumpkin” for its raw eating qualities. Various spellings of the name Colinky are used, such as Kolinkey and Kolynkie.
Colinky squash, like other Cucurbita varieties, is high in vitamins A and C, as well as fiber and vitamin B6. The squash is also a good source of potassium, folate, copper and vitamin B2. Winter squash varieties also offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Colinky squash is ideal for raw applications, thinly sliced or shredded and added to salads. Raw, it can be used much like a melon. Peel the squash and cut it in half, after removing the seeds, cut into cubes and sprinkle lightly with salt. Rinse the squash before using. Add cubed Colinky squash to stir-fry, soups or risotto. In Tokyo, Colinky squash is battered in tempura and fried. The more mature Colinky squash will have a much softer flesh that can be used for soups or pureed. In Japan, Colinky squash is used in fast pickles (marinated for a short time) or kimchi, and sometimes simply doused in soy sauce and left to sit for a short while. Store Colinky squash at room temperature for up to a week. Refrigerate any unprepared portion.
The unique, yellow Colinky squash has made an appearance on the menus of popular vegan restaurants in Tokyo, Japan, where it is featured in cold lentil dishes and other raw salads. Because it is nutritionally beneficial Cucurbita that can be eaten raw, it has a big appeal to those with a vegetarian and vegan diet.
Colinky squash was developed in early 2001 and was introduced to the Japanese market in 2002 by Sakata Seed Company, a well-known breeder and developer in Japan. It was introduced in the Yamagata prefecture, in northern Japan. As of 2017, the young pumpkin variety is only grown in Japan and is available at local markets.