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Cucuzzi Fruit (Lagenaria siceraria ‘Cucuzzi’)

The last time I wrote about cucuzzi, the edible gourd, I still hadn’t gotten any female flowers or fruits.

I do now. I went away for a few days. When I left, the biggest fruit was a few inches long, and no thicker than my finger.

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When I got back, it looked like this:

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The female flowers are a little different than the male ones; the petals are narrower, creating a kind of pinwheel effect. It’s a nice variation.

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My cucuzzi didn’t really get going for a while. I did get a late start on my garden, what with one thing and another, and it could be that they don’t have quite as much sun as they would like (though I gave them one of the sunniest places I’ve got), or that I didn’t give them enough flower fertilizer to get them flowering sooner.

Or it could just be that they were in a mood. Plants are like that.

In any case, I’m going to be eating them soon, because cucuzzis are supposed to be harvested when they’re about six inches long. Since they are gourds, you don’t want them to  get mature. (Well, even if they were summer squash, you’d want to avoid that.)

As much as I want to see what they taste like–if they really live up to the great things people say about the flavor– I’m saving this first cucuzzi for seed. I’m not an expert at seed-saving, but one of the things I remember is that, if you want a plant to bloom earlier, it’s best to select seed from the first fruits that appear. And so far the main pleasures of cucuzzi have been in their exuberant viny growth, springy tendrils, and faintly scented evening flowers.

It’s okay. It looks as if I’m going to have more edible gourds in just a few days. Unless it freezes tonight.

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{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Nancy Bond October 12, 2008, 6:24 pm

    While the cat’s away, the cucuzzi will play? :) Do let us know how they taste as this is a new one to me.

  • cheryl October 15, 2008, 5:38 am

    Cool plant. I love the photo of the flower from below. How are you supposed to eat it???

  • Pomona Belvedere October 16, 2008, 11:24 am

    Nancy, interesting metaphor, as these gourds actually are rather hairy…

    Cheryl, supposedly you cook them in the same ways you would use summer squash. I read a recipe specifically for cucuzzi somewhere, but of course now I can’t find it.

    I’m hoping my other fruits will get big enough in time to eat them–we had a cool spell lately, and that slowed things down. Or up. (Why is up the same as down in slowness?) But now it’s warm again, I hope I will have cucuzzi recipes to report on.

  • flo August 12, 2009, 10:42 am

    got a great crop of cucuzzi but when I cooked them I found them to be bitter. Is there a special way to prepare?

    I did let mine get to be about 2 ft. long. Can this be the problem?

  • Pomona Belvedere August 12, 2009, 4:18 pm

    flo, congratulations on your great crop! You did better than I did. I think it’s very possible that the 2-foot-long thing may be your problem. Most summer squash starts getting punky (and sometimes bitter) as soon as the seeds start to get fat and substantial; by the time the seeds are ready to harvest, summer squash is way past it.

  • Barbara February 13, 2011, 4:16 pm

    Where can I buy these seeds? thank you

  • Pomona Belvedere February 14, 2011, 6:38 pm

    I got my seeds from JL Hudson – http://www.jlhudsonseeds.net/. Their letterpress-printed no-photo paper catalogue is a wonderful read if you prefer it offline. No photos, no slick paper, just lots of amazing seeds hard or impossible to find elsewhere, great cultural instructions and detail on the plants in question.

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