A common variety of hard-shelled gourd, also called “white-flowered gourd” and “Calabash gourd.” This gourd is used in the West Indies to produce a very popular syrup. Its shell is often used to create bowls and other utensils.
Lagenaria siceraria or Lagenaria vulgaris, the calabash, bottle gourd, opo squash or long melon is a vine grown for its fruit, which can either be harvested young and used as a vegetable, or harvested mature, dried, and used as a bottle, utensil, or pipe. For this reason, the calabash is widely known as the bottle gourd. The fresh fruit has a light green smooth skin and a white flesh. Rounder varieties are called calabash gourds.They come in a variety of shapes, they can be huge and rounded, or small and bottle shaped, or slim and more than a meter long. The calabash was one of the first cultivated plants in the world, grown not primarily for food, but for use as a water container. The bottle gourd may have been carried from Africa to Asia, Europe and the Americas in the course of human migration.
Season: available year-round
How to select: Sold fresh in chunks in Latin markets. Select fresh pieces with moist, tightly grained flesh. Avoid wet or soft spots. Whole bottle gourds should be heavy for its size and unblemished with the stem still attached. They are sold also in American farm markets for decorative or other purposes.
How to store: Store fresh whole squash in a cool, dark place up to six weeks. Refrigerate wrapped chunks up to one week.
Substitutions: butternut squash