Cooking With Long Squash
If you come across a recipe featuring long squash that sounds like it might be worth trying, the first order of business would be to get some long squash. The problem is, it's not always apparent whether the term applies to a particular species of squash, several species, or any squash which happens to be long.
The term long squash is therefore somewhat subjective. It can be a squash that is long in every sense of the word, or a squash that is simply a bit longer than it is wide. By all accounts, Zucchini should qualify as a long squash and is indeed found in a few long squash recipes. Some long squash recipes on the other hand, specify a variety of squash that isn't necessarily all that long. Again, it's somewhat subjective.
The Cucuzza Squash - There is a type of squash which definitely qualifies as a long squash and is listed as an ingredient in a number of long squash recipes, and that is the Italian Cucuzza squash. The English translation of Cucuzza is “very long squash" or "super long squash", so it would seem that the Cucuzza squash eminently qualifies for use in a long squash dish or recipe.
Watch It Grow - The Cucuzza squash is in some respects similar to the Zucchini, but is usually much longer. It can easily be grown to a length or around 3 feet. It is a firm squash with nearly pure white flesh and is a reasonably good keeper as long as the stem remains attached. While very popular in Italy, the Cucuzza squash is grown mainly in the southeastern part of the United States at present, but its popularity is increasing, and soon may make its way into more and more vegetable gardens around the country. A basket of Cucuzza squash somewhat resembles a basket of long green sausages. This long squash is a plant that should be a great deal of fun to grow as it is claimed that the vines grow up to two feet in a single day, and the squash itself can increase in length by up to 10 inches during the same 24 hour period. Maybe one can't literally see it grow, but nearly so. Something like watching the hour hand on a clock.
When preparing this long squash it has to be peeled and the seeds removed unless the squash is not yet completely mature and the seeds are still soft. Like Zucchini, the Cucuzza squash has a variety of uses, in stews and quiche, or simply served with butter and perhaps topped with a sprinkling of basil or oregano. Those who love Zucchini bread or Zucchini muffins will probably find Cucuzza bread and muffins every bit as tasty.
Long Squash Honey - The plantation which produces most of the Cucuzza squash in this country also sells honey produced by bees pollinating the flowers of the plants. It is said to be of a very high quality, but presumably only if grown on a large plantation would there be enough blossoms to warrant the collection and sale of long squash honey.
One has to admit that, unless feeding a family of 5 or 6, bringing a long squash home from the store could raise some questions as to just what to do with it without letting any of it go to waste. One idea is to make a few loaves of the aforementioned Cucuzza bread, plus a dozen or so Cucuzza muffins, or whatever a 3-foot long squash can provide.
Try a plant or two in your own garden next season. If you ask for long squash plants or seeds you might be met with a blank stare, so be sure to specify Cucuzza squash. Put he seeds or plants in the ground and stand back!