Monday, July 25, 2011

My new favorite squash -- Cocozella

No, this is not a zucchini squash but an old-fashioned heirloom Italian variety -- a Cocozella du Napoli. It is classified as a summer squash. While at the Southeastern Flower Show, I picked up seeds for this squash, planted them and then almost forgot about them.

Even though this summer has been kind of a bummer for most squash varieties in our area, this squash has quietly been growing in a corner of the garden until we have noticed these huge, nice squash that are kind of like zucchinis but, in my opinion -- better. It is hard to see from this photo, but these Cocozellas are very large.

If you pick them small, they have tender peels with a more flavorful flesh, more like a regular zucchini mixed with a hard squash -- somewhat like a zucchini/acorn squash mix. After they mature, they become more like hard squashes -- but still mild. The peels are too hard to eat but the flesh is still good, though you have to discard the seeds before cooking.

This squash is great because if you forget to pick, they do get really large but they can be used anyhow -- and are very flavorful. I think the flavor is much better than a regular zucchini. They also hold up much better than zucchini and don't have to be refrigerated immediately, much like winter squash. I will be splitting them in half, scooping out the seeds and baking them. I think they will be delicious with a little butter, salt and pepper.

It will be interesting to see how long they last during the summer, how well they produce overall and we'll see if the seeds save well and produce next year.

Meanwhile, I have a new favorite squash that I am certainly enjoying this year.

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