An heirloom commonly used in the Sicilian Cuisine
Sicilian snake gourd is an Italian heirloom also called Cucuzza. Vine growing Pumpkin that can bear fruit up to 1m long and a few cm wide. If grown on the ground it takes the form of a snake. It has a much faster life cycle than other pumpkins and its growth is spectacular. Much appreciated in the traditional Sicilian cuisine. They make excellent soups or can be eaten it with pasta. The leaves have a velvety touch, and the tenderest leaves are also consumed as a soup, with pasta and as an accompaniment like tenerumi. When picked young, the Cucuzza squash offers a slightly nutty, rich squash flavor with a firm texture similar to that of cucumber and courgette. Cucuzza should be peeled before use. When cooked, cucuzza retains its texture. It can be slow roasted, baked, puréed to make soups, sauces and fillings or when young, sliced, sautéed, grilled, fried and pickled. A very versatile vegetable!
Scientific Name: Lagenaria siciliana
Plant Life Cycle: annual
Optimal Germination Temperature: 21C
Germination time in days: 5-15 days
Indicative Days to maturity: 80-120 days
Sunlight: Full sun
Soil requirement: Fertile, well-drained, slightly acidic
Sowing and cultivation: Sow in late spring when the soil temperature is at least 21C and frost danger has passed. Sow seeds ½-1” deep, 3-4’ apart.