Asian Zuchinni???

Tom_at_BuzzardBluff(Zone 6 Ark. Oza)February 3, 2005

Between 15 & 20 years ago, while living in Texas, I started noting a vine growing on a lanai at a house near my own. What appeared to be ground-rooted Zuchinni were dangling thru the lanai over the patio from the vine that totally covered it. Finally one day I stopped when I saw the lady of the house caring for her garden to see if I could find out what the vine might be. By this time the squash (or whatever they were) were well over a foot long.

Unfortunately she was a very recent immigrant from a SE Asian area and spoke no more English than could I speak of her language. Some things about gardening are universal however and she was instantly aware that I was admiring her gardening skills. Naturally I left there with one of her squash (?) but the cooking instructions she tried to give me were non-translatable by the old hand-waving standby of those who do not speak a common tongue.

The wife and I, not knowing any better, prepared them as we would zuchinni. The 3 impressions we got were:

A. A bit tough.

B. Not bad but almost bland flavor.

C. May have been allowed to get too big before harvest.

Shortly thereafter we 'escaped' from the Dallas area, taking refuge in the hills of N. Ark., and I never had the chance to find out what the veggie was from the kind lady who gave me the sample. If only I had had the foresight to save some seed.;o(

Since then I have asked every gardener or nurseryman I've encountered if they could identify the mystery vegetable from the meager information I have without any enlightenment. I LIKE things that grow on vines that grow as vigorously as did those on the lady's patio and with my small plot I need them too. Plus the old back doesn't really approve of stoop gardening as much as it once did. So I've joined this board so that I could throw myself on the tender mercys of those here in hopes that someone can direct my search. Any and ALL advice about what it was, where to get seeds as well as the preferred methods of growing, harvesting and preparing would be gratefully recieved and hugely appreciated. I like both gardening and culinary adventuring and have never been able to understand my fellow countrymen who visit other lands, refusing while there to allow their taste buds to enjoy the same adventure, but instead insisting on eating 'American' food when in exotic locales. I always find myself wondering why they didn't just remain at home.

Thanks ahead of time for any enlightenment provided.

Tom @ Buzzard Bluff

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jpdchef(z6 tn)
    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 5:53PM
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Tom_at_BuzzardBluff(Zone 6 Ark. Oza)

Quite a lot. Since it's been over 15 years the best I can do is say it looked like a very big zuchinni and the pic at the site you posted looks like a very big zuchinni to me. Is that lufa?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 8:31PM
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jpdchef(z6 tn)

yup--it's a luffa.I believe they're eaten when young.I had them reseed temselves and grow quite well in Nasville.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 6:45PM
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bellie(7-B ..Va. Beach)

Were they light green??? Basing on your description that it was tough I think It is a Gourd. Luffas are not tough when sliced. You can buy this gourd (Seed)at any vegie catalog, although the ones I see are not the long ones but they taste the same. They are edible and you can purchase them in asian grocery store. There are a lot of recipes, eating them just steam is quite bland. Let me know if I can further help you. Bellie

    Bookmark   February 8, 2005 at 5:21PM
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It could be any of the following:
Calabash Gourd (OPO Gourd, Bottle Gourd)
Edible Luffa (Dish Cloth Luffa, Sponge Gourd)
Hairy Gourd (Fuzzy Gourd, Mao Qwa)
Snake Gourd (Serpent Gourd)
You can go to to check it out. I have never ordered from them before. But their selection is huge.


    Bookmark   February 12, 2005 at 1:06AM
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jayreynolds(zone 6/7)

I'd bet it was bottle gourd. Luffa has yellow flowers, while gourds have white.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2005 at 9:53PM
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Did you decide on anything Tom_at_BuzzardBluff?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 1:48AM
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jayreynolds(zone 6/7)

Beware the asian zucchini from evergreen seeds. They produce alright, and I like the 'Rondo, very productive and tasty, explodes overnight to a large size. The 'Green bt' didn't produce much, and tend to be hollow, the 'green Ball' hasn't been very productive.

All of the above are extreme ramblers, and take up a lot of space, perhaps 6 feet in each direction, and produce so much leaf that the fruit are hard to find. Overall, 'Rondo' is best, if you've got space.

I am very pleased so far with 'Papaya sweet', which should be a sweet 'winter squash' for storage after ripening, like a pumpkin. It climbs well on a fence, and the growing tips are bent and very flexible, which makes it easy to train by hooking the vine into fencing, and the leaves are a pretty sight with silvery veins, very ornamental. They haven't flowered yet, so I can't comment on fruit quality.

The bottle gourd is an extreme climber, and can make almost 1 foot per day, it likes to grow upwards, and you can expect twenty feet of growth, white flowers at night.

The angled luffa and snake gourd are thin vines, but many-branched, yet well enough behaved for me to guide along a fence.

These are my observations, and you may have different ones.

The 'snake gourd' flowers are weird looking, with frilly edges, very ornamental in morning time, and fragrant. It's name, Thichosanthes, is Greek meaning "hair flower".

Here is a link that might be useful: snake gourd flower

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 9:31AM
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I think thats long opo squash, if they're tough it means, they may be the short version of opo squash. But the cooking instruction for them is to cook it with flavor, or other food such as meat or eggs. I use to cook them with steak or pork cubes, and they will pick up flavors from the meat and balance the flavor.

Also, a quick steaming them for a few minute before stir-frying will also help with crossing flavors.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 10:01AM
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Most like a bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) these are popular in Asia whereas the zucchini (cucurbita pepo is not. These have many common names including Opo, Upo (Phillipine)Poo Gua,(Chinese) Hyotan (Japanese) Buap Khaus (Thai), Lauki ( India). They are also popular in the Mediterannean as Zucchetta Cucuzzi. Luffas (sponge gourds) both the ridged (Luffa acutangula) and the Smooth Luffa (Luffa cylindrica) are called Chinese or vine okra in North America and are used as an edible when quite small. There are Korean squash like Rondo and Green Ball which are C.pepo.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 9:39AM
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If squash are tough to chew it also means they have over-grown, the one that old lady gave you has been on the vine for too long. You need to pick the ones that are recently grown, with light green and whitish color. Also young ones skin are soft, you can dug your nail in, older ones have tougher skin... not that you should do this in grocery store, do it with your own plant.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 11:28AM
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