Cucuzza seeds for sale

Lagenaria siceraria

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.


Some really good traditional varieties do still exist, and these are the best we have found.
(NB: “Summer squash” are picked young and used just like courgettes but are different shapes & colours.)

We would normally grow about 5 plants for our own use, which is why we give you at least 10 seeds.
(always sow more than you need to allow for losses to pests and toddlers)

Screen is too small to display the sowing calendar. Try turning your device sideways.

TIP: Mice love courgette seed, and slugs love the baby plants. The seed will also germinate best with a bit of heat,
so we recommend sowing indoors in small pots, then planting out when they have 3 true leaves. Don’t rush to sow – often
plants that go out slightly later will catch up and do much better than earlier plantings battered by spring storms.

Trieste White Cousa Courgette
Cousa-type courgettes are originally from the Middle East with short, chubby, slightly bulbous white fruit. (Well, really a very, very pale green rather than ‘white’.)

We prefer courgettes like this one, as they fruit earlier and more heavily than normal courgettes, and the fruit stay tender to a greater size. Seed grown for us by the Seed Cooperative in Lincolnshire.

Early, high production , particularly good flavour and texture

12 seed £

‘Verde di Italia’ Pale Green Ribbed Courgette

A good early courgette which makes lots of pale green fruit.

They have very gentle ridges along their length; we like them because their flesh is very tender and particularly finely-flavoured.

14 seed £

‘Verde di Milano’ Dark Green Dwarf Bush Courgette

This is a small bush (not a vine), making medium-sized very dark green (almost black) courgettes.

Because it is smaller plant it is a good choice for those of you with a tiny plot ( and also for all those with a huge plot who are just always hopelessly over-optimistic about how many different things can be squeezed in!)

We like to eat our courgettes picked small and fried with garlic – delicious.

14 seed, organic £

‘Striato d’Napoli’ Courgette
A good early courgette from Italy. Big bushy plants giving lots of long, pretty fruit with alternating light and dark green stripes.

Perfectly smooth and round in cross-section, and the flesh doesn’t go as ‘soft’ when cooked as other courgettes do. We like it a lot: very productive, but it doesn’t sprawl too much, so it’s a good choice if you have a small plot. This year we have really excellent seed that grown for us by the UK Seed Cooperative in Gosberton.

Early & stripey. Large bush but not too sprawling!

12 seed £

‘Long Fiorentino’ Courgette NEW

From Florence in Italy, this traditional pale green courgette makes long ribbed fruit with a characteristic lighter marbling. Really pretty and a sweet delicate flavour.

14 seed £

‘Tondo di Piacenza’ Courgette
An early courgette which is spherical. Very productive, with pretty fruits which look good on the plant and on the plate. Definitely worth a try if you fancy something a little bit different.

Kate would like to point out that we have actually found one small flaw with these. Because they’re round, if you try to carry a huge armful all at once, it’s very easy to lose control and end up with them rolling away in all directions! The plants are also a bit viney – so better for the larger plot – but then they do make an awful lot of courgettes.

Dark green, round courgette

14 seed £

‘Burpees Golden Zucchini’ – Yellow Courgette NEW
This incredible yellow courgette was selected by Oved Schifriss in the 1940s and was introduced to home gardeners by the “W. Atlee Burpee & Co” seed house.

The bushes are quite compact, producing large numbers of bright yellow courgettes.

Good flavour. Best picked 8-10 inches long. Seed grown for us by Debbie Rees, and also by Daniel Blackburn, on their holdings in Pembrokeshire.

12 seed £


Summer squash are grown and cooked just like courgettes. They have a slightly nuttier flavour, and a whole range of different shapes & colours.

To avoid any confusion, just as with courgettes, you should pick all these squash when they are small; the plants rapidly make more. (Otherwise you will end up with – for example – the patty-pan equivalent of a marrow!)

Early Prolific Straightneck REINTRODUCED!
We’re very pleased to offer this once again, a straighneck squash from 1938 with lemon-yellow fruit with gently bumpy skin. The flavour is better than a normal courgette and this particular strain from High Mowing Seeds has been improved to be resistant to powdery mildew.

We love this one because it is the best flavoured of all the summer squash we’ve ever tried. Just a few packets available this year from our own production in Wales.

Pick SMALL & use like a courgette.

12 seed £

‘Pattison Blanc’
Patty-pan squash are flattened, saucer-shaped courgettes. This old French heirloom produces white fruit, which are cut when young (about 3 inches across) and cooked or fried just like a courgette.

The flavour is a little richer and more substantial than courgettes, with a slight ‘nutty’ taste. Very popular each year, they can be quite prolific indeed in a good summer.

Saucer-shaped white courgette! Pick when small.

14 seed £

‘Bennings Green Tint’
This is one of the most beautiful varieties of Patty Pan squash there is, and it dates from around 1900 or a little earlier.

The bushes are quite vigorous and make uniform saucer-shaped fruits with scalloped edges and pale-green, fine-textured flesh of good flavor. Harvest them when about 2- 3 inches across, and the plant will make lots more.

Heirloom pale green variety.Pick when small!

12 seed £

‘Summer Crookneck’
This is an amazing knobbly yellow squash, with bulbous fruit and a curved neck (hence the name). Although botanically a ‘squash’ it is always picked early, sliced whole, & used just like a courgette – with a great nutty flavour.

We think that it is tastier than courgettes though – firmer fleshed and better flavoured! It is a bit slower to get going though, as it does like some warmth, so we always grow both for good crops right through the season.

Always a favourite of ours

12 seed £

Hi, I just wanted to email to say how fantastic the crookneck squash are. The seeds grew into fantastic upright bushes that needed no support (leaving me room for other things) and the squash were fantastic roasted. I found they were about right when they reached about 5-6″ and so beautiful. I’m afraid I was struggling to manage an allotment so didn’t save the seed, so I’ve ordered more and will give it a go this year.” – Andrea

A unique dual-purpose squash on long rampant vines. Baby green fruits can be harvested and used like a summer squash when 8-12″ long, they are sweet like courgettes and great steamed, grilled or sliced raw.

If not used for summer squash, the fruits will grow up to 3 foot long with meaty necks that can be used as you would any winter squash.

60 days for summer squash, 90 days for winter squash. Let us know if you like it!

12 seed £

Saving Courgette & Summer Squash Seed:

It is very easy to save your own courgette seed, but you really do have to do it properly.

For seed production, you really must pollinate the flowers by hand,
otherwise they will cross with all the other squash and pumpkins,
giving tasteless watery mongrels that are no good to eat.

The rubber bands hold the flowers shut so the bees can’t get in and cross-pollinate them before you get there.

Don’t be daunted! It only takes a few minutes to do this properly, and you’ll get great seed.

Basic seed-saving instructions are included with your seeds, so you can do this yourself.
There are more detailed home-seed saving guides (printable) over to the left of this page,
in the box titled ‘SeedSaving’, with sheets on drying and storing your seed too.
And of course, seed-saving is only possible because these are all real, non-hybrid varieties.

Cucuzza Squash Plants: Tips On Growing Cucuzza Italian Squash

A favorite squash of Sicilians, cucuzza squash, meaning ‘super long squash,’ is gaining some popularity in North America. Never heard of cucuzza squash plants? Keep reading to find out what a cucuzza squash is and other information about growing cucuzza Italian squash.

What is Cucuzza Squash?

Cucuzza is a summer squash in the botanical family of Lagenaria, which boasts a plethora of other varieties. This edible squash is related to the calabash, also known as water gourd or bird’s nest gourd. A vigorous squash, fruit is born from vines that can grow two feet a day. The fruits are straight, green gourds, occasionally with a minor curve to them. The skin is dark green and medium hard. The fruit itself can grow 10 inches per day and will be 18 inches to 2 feet long.

The squash is usually peeled and the seeds removed from the larger fruit. The squash can be cooked just like any other summer squash – grilled, stewed, fried, stuffed, or roasted. Intrigued? I bet you’re wondering how to grow cucuzza squash now.

How to Grow Cucuzza Squash

Cucuzza squash plants are easy to grow. The easiest method is to grow them on trellises, which will give support to the fruit, contain the rampant vines, and make for ease in harvesting.

Grow this tender warm season veggie in well-draining soil with full sunlight exposure. Amend the soil with 2 inches of organic compost or rotted manure.

Plant 2-3 seeds at 2- to 3-foot intervals along a row after all danger of frost has passed in your area. Push the seeds one inch down into the soil. You can also plant in hills. If you use hills, plant 5-6 seeds with each hill spaced 4 feet apart. When the seedlings are 2-3 inches tall, thin out to 2 or 3 of the healthiest plants.

Give the squash one inch of water per week depending upon weather conditions. Like all squash, cucuzza are prone to fungal diseases, so water in the morning at the base of the plants.

If you did not enrich the soil with manure of compost, you will need to feed the plants. Once the plants have blossomed, feed ¼ pound 10-10-10 for every 10 feet of row, 3-4 weeks post blossom emergence.

Keep the area around the cucuzza weed free. Cover the area around the plants with a light layer of mulch, like straw or wood chips, to aid in water retention, weed retardation and to keep the roots cool.

Harvesting Cucuzza Squash

Timing is everything when harvesting cucuzza squash. It’s just like zucchini. One day the fruit is a couple of inches long and two days later it’s two feet long. And, that’s if you even saw the fruit.

With the large shading leaves and green fruit, cucuzza, again like zucchini, tends to keep the fruit of its labor hidden. So look carefully and look every day. The bigger they are, the harder they are to manage, so the ideal size is 8-10 inches long. Also, the younger, smaller fruit have softer seeds, which can be left in, cooked and eaten.

Growing a Cucuzza Squash

Growing a Cucuzza Squash

What Is A Cucuzza Squash?

Grown in the summers, cucuzza is vegetable which falls into the category of gourds. It is a slender, long Italian vegetable which is harvested and eaten in the summer season. This Italian native veggie is best suited for Mediterranean climates. The cucuzza squash needs warm soil to begin germination and develop into a fully grown plant. The normal gestation period is usually about 55 days after sowing the seeds of the plant. The cucuzza squash vine can easily grow about two feet a day – that’s quite speedy for a plant! And even more interesting, the fruit itself can grow about 10 inches every day.

The vegetable is usually peeled and then the seeds are removed before cooking or consuming it. Just like any other summer squash, the cucuzza can be roasted, stuffed, fried, stewed and grilled.

Nutritional Information

The cucuzza squash contains absolutely no fat or sodium. Something extremely beneficial for people suffering heart problems like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. It is also packed with nutrients and minerals like vitamin C. The vegetable has tons of fiber to help your digestive system and one serving weighing about 3 and a half ounces has only 25 calories. Consuming this squash regularly on a term basis has been found to lower blood pressure and the risk of cancer in people.

Tools You Will Need:

Tiller or spade

Aged manure or compost

Support structures like fences or trellis

Mulch materials like straw or shaved wood

Watering system like a garden hose or a drip irrigation system

Garden twines

Sharp knife

How To Grow A Cucuzza Squash?

After reading all the intriguing information above, you’re probably wondering how to grow this amazing veggie. And to your benefit, it’s not as difficult. In fact, it is very easy to grow at home. All you need to do is follow these simple steps:

Find a suitable and fertile place near a trellis, fence or any other support you can use to allow the vines of the squash plant to grow on (old dead trees work great with thick strings). You need to loosen the soil using a tiller or a spade before planting in any seeds. Once the soil is loosened mix in some aged manure or compost to improve the fertility and texture of the soil. Make sure to add at least 1 pound of garden amendments after every 5 sq. ft. of your growing space.

Once the soil and growing space has been prepared, place the seeds at least 1 inch below the ground level and make sure that each seed is placed about 9 to 12 inches apart. The best time to plant the seed is spring to avoid any sort of frost – this could kill the plant or even stop it from growing. The temperature of the plants surroundings must be consistent and above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you have sown in the seeds, you need to water the whole area adequately.

When the thin seedlings are about 3 inches high, you need to place them at least 36 inches apart in order to ensure enough room for the growth of the vines and their long fruit (yes you can see I did not do that and it is insanely crowded, but my soil/compost goes down to 3 feet under the bed).

It is also important to mulch the seedlings in order to minimize weeds and save as much water as possible. You can easily lay down a layer of mulch material with no more than 2 inches of thickness (you can also use newspaper, lay it down around the holes. Worms love this with some eggshells under it).

Throughout the growing season i.e. summer; you need to keep the soil moist and damp in order to provide the perfect environment for the cucuzza squash to grow in. Water the bed at least once every week with ample water. Cucuzza squash needs a perfect balance between too dry and too wet so try your best not to over water or under water your crop.

When the cucuzza squash seedlings are thinned out and at least three inches tall, you need to lay down a complete layer of compost or aged manure along the whole row of you cucuzza squash plants.

Repeat step 6 after every three weeks especially during the growing season.

Once the vines reach a suitable height, start training them to grow on the trellis, fence or whichever support you have decided to go with. You can use garden twine to tie the vines lightly against the support. Make sure you leave in a lot of slack and the most preferable tie is the figure 8 loop. Try to avoid tying the vines next to nodes or other hindrances which can affect the squash’s room to develop.

When the cucuzza squash is about 4 to 5 inches long and the skin of the gourd is tender and light green in color, cut the squash off the vine (to save seeds wait till full length then it will turn to a hard woody guard, then save for next year). If you leave the cucuzza on the vine at this stage, the squash will become extremely bitter, not to mention tough skinned as well. Continue the harvesting of the cucuzza squash throughout the growing season of the vine.

Some Extra Tips For Growing The Cucuzza Squash

If the area you live in is prone wait until all the danger has passed before planting the seeds. If an unexpected cold blast is predicted, immediately pick out the squash to avoid running the crop.

Before you cook the cucuzza squash, make sure the vegetable has been peeled and seeded. If the squash is still young, you can cook it just like you would cook a zucchini. However, if the squash is a bit harder and older, you can prepare it like any other winter squash.

If you do not have a support structure in your yard, you can tie up three bamboo poles which are roughly 6 inches apart from the tops. The formation should look like a teepee trellis and you can easily plant 3-4 seed around each pole until they reach three inches, after which you must dedicate one pole to each seedling.

Welcome to The Italian Gardener and the World of Italian Vegetables!

My preferred method of payment is by EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) where you ask your bank to transfer funds from your account to mine. Very safe and is at no cost to you or me. Chose EFT at the checkout and you will receive an email with my account details.

Magnum, a new line of larger seed packets have been introduced for some seed varieties and are excellent value for small-scale growers. These packets contain about three times the amount of seed for twice the cost of normal packets. The choice is quite limited at the moment, but if you would like me to include other Magnum varieties, or for seed in bulk, please email me and I will see what I can do. Click here for details.

I do not sell seed at full price if it has less than 12 months before the “use by” date. See the SPECIALS category for this seed and other special deals. Customers rave about the germination rate and vigour of Franchi Sementi seed. In the rare event of poor germination of seed sold at full price, The Italian Gardener’s liability is restricted to replacement or refund of the value of the seed in question.


There isn’t a vegetable that’s much more in tune with summer than zucchini. While they originated from Central and South America, the green variety we are most familiar with today was first grown in Italy.

The word “zucchini” derives from the Italian word “zucchino,” meaning little squash. As one of the most versatile summer vegetables, zucchini can be cooked in a several different ways, and it is a classic ingredient in many traditional Italian dishes. To help you integrate zucchini into your summer menu, here are ten of our favorite Italian zucchini recipes!


At Mici, one of our favorite ways to cook with zucchini is on top of pizza. Our Pizza di Pina is made with extra virgin olive oil, hormone-free mozzarella and fontina cheese and thinly-sliced, fresh zucchini. Our love for zucchini-topped pizza began when our cousin, Pina, cooked it for us during a visit to Italy!


If you’re craving a lighter take on Italian zucchini recipes, you should try our Insalata Mista! This fresh salad is made with mixed greens, tomatoes, green peppers and zucchini. You can top it off with your choice of homemade Italian, ranch or balsamic vinaigrette. Plus, it goes great as a side salad with a calzone or pasta dish!

3. FRIED ZUCCHINI FLOWERS (Fiori di zucca)

This traditional dish is an Italian favorite during the summer. While many Italian zucchini recipes cook with the vegetable itself, this dish is made by frying the yellow star-shaped zucchini flowers in a light batter. Traditionally, the flowers are fried as they are, but they can also be stuffed with fresh mozzarella and basil, ricotta and herbs or even anchovies! Try this recipe at home.


Pasta primavera is a great mix of summer vegetables and pasta, and is delicious served either hot or cold. Toss your favorite pasta with zucchini, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, spinach, onions or any other vegetable that sounds good to you and simply add extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs, salt, pepper and some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and you have a one dish meal.

5. Zucchini noodles

Substituting vegetable noodles for pasta has become increasingly popular and we recently jumped on the bandwagon! Zucchini noodles are especially delicious when paired with any of our family-recipe sauces, and are a healthy and delicious gluten-free option! They are even easy to make at home with a vegetable spiralizer!


Like omelettes, frittatas are loved for the variety of ingredients they can be filled with. Toppings can include a variety of meats, vegetables and cheese that are mixed with egg and baked. In Italy, frittatas are eaten any time of day and can be served hot or cold. For a summer twist on an Italian favorite, try this zucchini ricotta frittata recipe.


Minestrone is a favorite Italian soup. Traditionally, it’s made with a variety of vegetables, beans and either rice or pasta cooked in chicken broth. Try this great variation, made with zucchini.

At Mici, we don’t serve minestrone, but we do make our homemade Fagioli with chicken broth, white beans, fresh spinach and Parmigiano-Reggiano. We also serve our Pomodoro which is a creamy tomato soup topped with fresh basil and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.


Chicken parmesan is a favorite Italian dish, typically made with breaded chicken breast topped with marinara sauce, and often times, vegetarian versions of this dish are made with eggplant. For a summer twist on this dish, try this zucchini parmigiana recipe.


Bucatini is a thick pasta, like spaghetti, but with a hollow center. It is also known as perciatelli. Bucatini alla Caruso is a pasta dish named after Enrico Caruso, one of the most famous operatic tenors in the world. Born in Naples, Caruso is believed to have invented Bucatini alla Caruso, which is made with bucatini pasta, san marzano tomatoes, bell pepper, garlic, chili pepper and zucchini. Check out the full recipe here.


Zucchini is the main ingredient in several Italian entrees; however, it is also a star in this popular side dish. Zucchini trifolati is a traditional Italian side that provides a fresh, light accompaniment to almost any main course. It is made with diced zucchini, olive oil, garlic and parsley.

It should come as no surprise that zucchini is one of the most popular vegetables, especially with its versatility in cooking. Try some of these recipes, or bring the entire family in to any of our locations to try some of our favorite zucchini dishes, made with only fresh, wholesome ingredients!

1 Melissa’s Cucuzza Squash, peeled; cut into 4 equal pieces then each cut in half lengthwise
As needed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1 Green Bell Pepper, stem and seeds removed; diced small
1 Red Bell Pepper, stem and seeds removed; diced small
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, stem and seeds removed; diced small
1 Melissa’s Perfect Sweet Onion, diced small
3/4 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Prepare a hot grill.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Using a spoon, scrape out the center of the squash pieces, leaving about a 1/4-inch wall on the squash. Rub the squash with the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Place on the grill, hollowed side down, and grill for 3-5 minutes or until slightly softened. Remove and set aside.
In a sauté pan, melt the butter and warm the soy sauce. Add the bell peppers and onion and sauté for 5 minutes.
Stuff the squash with the bell pepper mixture and top with the parmesan cheese. Place them on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown. Makes 8 servings.
If need be, slice a small piece off of the bottom of the squash to stabilize them and keep them from rolling.

You may know Carolyn Cope as Umami Girl. She stops by on Tuesdays with ideas on preparing the abundance of fruits and vegetables you might get from your CSA or the market. —The Mgmt.

Of all the ways I’ve worried over the years about falling short, being a decent Italian-American was never one of them. I can my own tomatoes. I live in New Jersey. I know from red wine. I worry a lot about whether I fall short. See? Seems like I had the bases covered.

But until our latest trip to the farmers’ market, I can’t remember ever having seen or heard of a cucuzza. And if anyone ever called me “googootz” as a term of endearment, it went right over my head. Ah, Madonna! Where did I go wrong?

Anxious to reclaim my rightful roots, I spent the better part of the weekend making up for lost time. I photographed my googootzes holding cucuzzas. I researched. I sang. I breaded. (Work warning: Louis Prima starts singing when you click that link.)

Let me tell you what I learned. The cucuzza (say ko-KOO-tza or, for slang, goo-GOOTZ) is technically a gourd but generally gets treated in the kitchen like a summer squash. A member of the calabash family that also includes bottle gourds, cucuzza is also known as zuzza, New Guinea bean, and Tasmania bean, among other names. (Complicating matters, “cucuzza” is used as a general term for squash in certain regions of Italy.) The cucuzza originated in Italy, and seeds are often still passed down through families. It also grows in other temperate climates, including several parts of East Asia, and it’s used in numerous East Asian cuisines.

Cucuzza looks like a smooth, pale zucchini with an elegant curvature and can be up to three feet in length. Its pale green skin needs to be peeled, and the white flesh is generally cooked rather than eaten raw. The flesh has an extremely mild taste and, even when peeled, holds its shape well when cooked. If the seeds are tender, you can eat them, but they start to get harder as the squash matures. If the seeds are hard, discard them. Cucuzza can be steamed, grilled, fried, baked, sauteed, stuffed, or used almost any other way you would use summer squash, as long as you peel it first.

At the market, look for smooth, firm gourds with some stem still attached. The stem continues to feed the gourd after picking and buys you more storage time.

The recipe below is a variation on zucchini fries, breaded and baked rather than fried. You can shallow fry them in a bit of olive oil if you prefer (or deep fry them if you really want to bring out the big guns), and you can substitute unpeeled zucchini if that’s what you’ve got.

Baked Cucuzza “Fries”

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