A marrow is a vegetable, the mature fruit of certain Cucurbita pepo cultivars. The immature fruit of the same or similar cultivars is called courgette (in Britain, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand) or zucchini (in North America, Japan, Australia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Germany and Austria). Like courgettes, marrows are oblong, green squash, but marrows have a firm rind and a neutral flavour ("overgrown when picked and insipid when cooked"), making them useful as edible casings for mincemeat and other stuffings. They can be stored for several weeks after harvest (like pumpkins and other winter squash), to be processed for food when required. They are a vegetable used in Great Britain and areas with significant British influence, though their popularity is waning in favor of immature summer squash like courgette.
Giant marrows are grown competitively in the United Kingdom, where the term "marrow" is often restricted to the striped, thick-skinned cultivar.
In a culinary context, marrows are treated as a vegetable; usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment. Botanically, marrows are fruit, a type of botanical berry, being the swollen ovary of the marrow flower. Marrows, like all squash, have their ancestry in the Americas.
The fashion for eating immature marrows, called in Britain "courgettes", is relatively recent in Britain. Sudell (1966) does not mention courgettes, although he has a section on "vegetable marrow", noting both trailing (vining) and bush types and saying "cut when young". Witham Fogg (1966) wrote "Courgettes These are really very tender baby marrows which have long been popular in France. ... Cooked and eaten with butter they form a very palatable dish." He devotes a page and a half to (vegetable) marrows and less than half a page to courgettes, which he clearly regards as something new to Britain.
The record for the world's largest marrow is currently held by Brad Wursten of the Netherlands, who presented a giant marrow weighing 93.7 kg (206.5 pounds) at the Dutch giant vegetable championship in Sliedrecht in September 2009.
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