Kamokamo, when they get big!
the right time, we got to hurl orange and green footballs over the fence and watch the pigs hoe in. Every year, plants popped up everywhere due to the pigs digging in the seed they had overlooked with their rooting and the fences were adorned with the vines. A few years ago I was delighted to find our dear friend Jeanette Aplin, who raises kunekune on D'urville Island, was also growing them. Helping her weed a patch late in the summer, I came across some giant shiny jewels hiding under the seeding dill and parsley. Her kamokamo come in many beautiful shades and textures, all of which the pigs adore.
The only problem with kamokamo is their incredible productivity. I harvested one bucketful to distribute to the neighbours, only to find another 10 that had been 'hiding' in the grass. Kamokamo are a lot like marrows; pick 'em young when they're zucchinis or, in the case of kamokamo, tennis ball-size.
My favourite way to eat them is quartering and steaming the little ones and lathering them with butter and Himalayan black salt. When they get a bit bigger, about rockmelon size, they are great baked and stuffed with mince or in a vegetarian curried lentil concoction. You can wrap them in tinfoil and cook them in the embers of a fire, or slice them thinly and fry them with spring onions and green curry paste.
Once they get big, they can be chopped up with a machete or tomahawk and roasted just like pumpkin. METHOD Cut the kamokamo and/or rampicante into roughly 1cm square chunks. Pop into a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat and leave overnight. Rinse twice in the morning. Simmer the spices in the white wine vinegar for 10 minutes, then add the vegetables and cook until soft but not mushy (about 20 minutes). Shake up the cornflour in the water and add, stirring constantly to thicken the brew, then carefully spoon into sterilised jars, seal and label. Let it sit for two weeks to let the flavours develop before you dig in.