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Houma, Louisiana Man Grows Giant Mirliton

mirliton vine
Picasa user Lance Hill

Compared to a giant pumpkin, it doesn’t sound so huge, but let me tell you, a nearly five pound mirliton is gigantic! Keep reading to see it. In case you’re not from around here, the mirliton, also known as a vegetable pear, is related to the cucumber, squash and melon. They normally only grow to five or six ounces in weight, but Houma Today reported a ninety-year-old home gardener named Colwart O’Neil didn’t harvest his in the spring so it just kept growing! Click here to see it.

Here in Louisiana, the mirliton has its own festival, website and a facebook page. Who knew?! In reading about it all today, I learned that nearly all the vines in New Orleans were destroyed in Hurricane Katrina because the roots don’t survive if they’re submerged more than forty-eight hours. There’s a grass-roots campaign on to preserve the heirloom varieties these days and a man from Broussard named Joseph Boudreaux was key to that effort! You can read that story here.

My mother’s sister used to grow them in her backyard in Metairie and that vine just about took over her house! My favorite way to eat them was in Mom’s stuffing made with shrimp. We had a big discussion on facebook this week about how to pronounce it, so now the question is, what’s your favorite way to cook them?



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