Family Cucurbitaceae together with summer and winter squashes
Common Names: Cucuzza, Italian Edible Gourd, Long Melon, Opo Squash, Bau, Snake Gourd,, Bottle Gourd, Tasmania Bean. Marketed as long squash in Canada.
Botanically the Opo squash is not a squash but a gourd. It mostly grows in warmer climates and its cultivation is pantropical. It’s shape and size can be extremely variable depending on where it’s grown.
Long squash has a long cylindrical shape and is usually harvested at 10-15 inches, although it that can grow up to 3 feet (90cm) long and 1 foot (30cm) in diameter. Its size ranges from 6-36 inches (15-90cm) long and 3-12 inches (7.5-30cm) wide.
The skin is smooth, light green and tough, compared to zucchini or other summer squashes.
The flesh is creamy white, with a firm texture. The seeds are small and tender when young but as the squash matures they become hard and should be removed.
The flavour is mild when young (like zucchini) but gradually becomes bitter with maturity.
Nutrition of Long Squash
Long squash is extremely low in calories. 100g (3.5oz) is composed of 93.9g water and has only 21 calories. It provides small amounts of vitamin C, folate, calcium, iron, zinc and B vitamins
How to Prepare and Cook Long Squash
Wash the squash and trim off the ends. Peel with a vegetable peeler.
Slice the squash lengthwise in half and scrape off any large seeds. Immature seeds are edible just like in zucchini or any other summer squash.
Cut in slices, cubes or juliennes, depending on your recipe.
You can steam, fry, stir-fry, bake, stuff or sauté the squash. Diced squash can be added to soups, stews, and sauces. It has a firm texture when cooked.
The cooking time will depend on the maturity of the squash and how tender you want it. It can take 15-30 minutes depending on the recipe.
It can also be grated and used in quick breads or muffins like zucchini. Squeeze off the water before using.
Availability: green house squashes are available all year round. Garden squashes are available in summer.
Storage: store in the fridge, in the vegetable crisper and use within 2 weeks
How to Buy: Choose that which is firm and heavy for its size. The skin should be smooth and free of blemishes.