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Friday, August 8, 2014

Cucuzzi squash, beautiful and tasty!

Cucuzza is a type of squash (actually a gourd and not a squash at all) that is really popular in southern Italy. It's usually pretty hard to find live Cucuzza plants in most parts of the US, but one of my local nurseries had them for sale (along with a lot of other italian favorites like figs and citrus trees). Although all of my ancestors date back to Italy only a 100 years ago, I still had never heard of this plant before this year. All I knew is that everyone was buying them when I visited the nursery so that was good enough of a reason for me to try one. I planted it in a little corner in my yard that gets afternoon sun and it TOOK OFF! Now it has grown at least 25 feet in almost every direction and the fruits on this plant are also gigantic! I recently picked my first fruit. There is a second huge fruit I am going to keep on the plant so I have seeds for next season (and I want to see how big this fruit can really grow). Interestingly the new fruit on the vine is not growing as quickly as the first 2 fruits have, but I'm hoping for some more fruit soon because we cooked it this week for dinner and it was really tasty! Raw Cucuzza has a similar taste to the outside of a cucumber. Cooked Cucuzza has a really subtle almost nut flavor to it, but it is very plain tasting while still really delicious and perfect with some onions and shrimp!
Apparently by far the bulk Cucuzza growing in the US comes from a single farm in Louisiana. The Cucuzza for sale at the stores is pretty expensive and this is such a cool plant to grow so I recommend if you like Cucuzza and you have a place for it to run overhead, definitely give it a try!

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