Marrows might be seen as an old-fashioned vegetable or just grown for the horticultural show. It is true that it has been superseded by Courgettes but it is still a great vegetable in its own right – and it is really easy to grow. Is a Marrow just an overgrown Courgette? Well yes and no. Courgettes can be left to grow big and used like a Marrow. Marrows can be harvested small as Courgettes but horticulturally they are slightly different things. Marrows usually have striped fruits and the skin is a little thicker. They can be stored for a short time after harvesting. Culinary speaking, it is better to pick Marrows on the smaller size. The fruit has a large water content and it can become a bit tasteless if left to grow for too long.
Tiger Cross F1 is an early, vigorous marrow which can be picked small as courgettes but is best left to mature into fine marrows. It is resistant to cucumber mosaic virus.
How to grow: Grow in the miscellaneous section of your rotation. Sow seed in April and May in pots or modules at 20 degrees C. Module-grown seed should be transplanted into 8cm pots when the first true leaves have formed. Harden off the plants before planting in their permanent positions after all chance of frost has passed at a distance of 60cm. Marrows like a rich soil and plenty of water. Harvest from July to September or before the first frost. Use a sharp knife to cut the fruits at the stem. Pests and diseases: Slugs can be a problem at transplant and an environmentally friendly slug protection may be required. Cucumber mosaic virus can affect Marrows but varieties such as Tiger Cross are resistant. How to cook: The best way to enjoy the subtle flavour of marrow is to slice it, remove the seeded core and skin and fry it in butter or oil. It is also a great shape and size for stuffing. I have recently come across an intriguing recipe for moussaka-stuffed Marrow. Make your favourite moussaka sauce. slice the Marrow into 4 even slices and hollow out the soft centre, making even circles, and stand on a baking tray. In each, layer an aubergine slice then add a layer of sauce. Repeat, depending on depth of marrow slice, leaving a gap at the top to hold the béchamel. Top with grated cheese and bake at 180 degrees C (gas mark 4) for 30–40 minutes, or until the tops have browned and the marrow is cooked.
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