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Heirloom Vegetables: Mexican Zucchini, anyone?

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Melissande
Chillicothe, OH

August 6, 2008
9:20 AM

Post #5375662

Anybody familiar with a white-to-whitish zucchini that's common in north-north-east Mexican cooking? Not sure if it qualifies as an heirloom, but it is a sort of regional thing. Appears in Mexican groceries here in Columbus, Ohio pretty often. I'd really like to secure some for my friend from Chihuahua who likes to use it in her oxtail soup, amongst other things. She assures me it's firmer and tastes lots better than our all-green ones.

Anyone?

Melis
Farmerdill
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)


August 6, 2008
12:21 PM

Post #5376016

Grey type zucchini is very popular in the hispanic community. There are many cultivars. This is Greybeard.

The light green Lebanese types are also firmer and better flavored (my opinion) then the typical dark green zucchini.

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MerryMary
Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL
(Zone 9b)

November 3, 2008
7:02 PM

Post #5747909

There is also a round zucchini, and although it's green, you can use it in larger chuncks, it seems to hold up better. They are about the size of a baseball.
Farmerdill
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)


November 3, 2008
7:58 PM

Post #5748077

Round zucchini comes in colors from pale green (Cue Ball)(Geode) (Roly Poly) to bright yellow ( One Ball)( Floridor) to almost black (Black Ball)/(Eight Ball)

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MerryMary
Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL
(Zone 9b)

November 4, 2008
3:32 PM

Post #5750948

Thanks for the names! I love to roll my green ones in Olive oil and put them on the grill. I'm excited there are other colors out there to look for!
Potagere

November 4, 2008
6:13 PM

Post #5751506

Yes, they do, indeed! But unless you want to pay big prices for hybrid seeds which you cannot save, why not just stick with the original 'Ronde de Nice' and 'Tondo di Piacenza'? They may not offer the nifty colors, but they have great flavour --- better than most 'straight' zucchini --- but you can save seeds! Even if you don't save seeds, replacement seed packs cost about 1/4 to 1/3 as much. In my experience, the old OP varieties also produce just as well and taste better.
Farmerdill
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)


November 4, 2008
6:26 PM

Post #5751549

Good point Jim. I grow lots of culyivars of summer squash however which all all cross pollinate readily. I don't have the time or intiative to save a few cents by bagging and self polinating. Some things OP's do well, but I get multiple times the squash from a bush type hybrid like Cue Ball than I can get from the semi-vining Tonda di Nizza.

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Potagere

November 4, 2008
7:23 PM

Post #5751711

I'm lucky in that I don't have neighbours growing vegetables within normal pollinating distances from me (except for the vast cornfields which mean I can never save corn seed!), so if I grow my preferred Cucurbita pepo, the seed is going to be good. I don't know what you pay for seed, but I am looking at an average of E0.20-0.40 per seed! for your hybrids; and E0.05-0.07 per seed for Ronde de Nice or Rondo di Piacenza. Here in my pocketbook, that's more than "a few cents", especially in the latest meltdown. I've never had either one of these squash vine; they both sit there as much a bush as Maraicheres or Black Beauty. And they produce enough fruit that I have to give them away.
Farmerdill
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)


November 4, 2008
7:49 PM

Post #5751839

The Tonda di Nizza ( which most folks claim is the same cultivar as Ronde de Nice) will go about 6-8 feet ( 2m) in all directions for me as compared to 3 ft(1 m) for the the modern bush types. I don't get much yield from them compared to the others. These are only available from Heirloom vendors so there is no great savings in seed price. Seed, however is a very minor cost, compared to fuel, fertilizers, and labor, I do grow Op's that do well, primarily winter squash ( C.moschatas and C. mixtas) but also white and yellow bush scallops, Yellow crooknecks and straightnecks and the Old OP Grey Zuchini, which is a great performer. But I do grow various hybrid summer squash (C. pepo) as well. Some I grow for curiosity, others because I am looking for a better alternative.
Grey Zucchini

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Potagere

November 4, 2008
9:22 PM

Post #5752179

I have, like you, spent a lot of time looking for "better" squash. I grow 'Ronde de Nice" as my only "zucchini" (Tonda di Nizza is Italian for that, so it probably is the same culticar, but not the same as 'Tondo di Piacenza'). If my 'Ronde de Nice' went 3-4 metres (6-8 feet) in all directions, I could not grow it.
It runs about 1m2 (3x3ft). The seeds are available here at lowest prices as they are just "ordinary", not heirloom. If you would like to try mine, I'll be glad to send you some seed.

Seed IS a major cost. I have no cost for fuel associated with my garden: I do everything by hand. Fertilizer is the compost I generate from garden/kitchen refuse, plus collecting leaves and dried cow manure from the fields in the Fall. Labor: the USG tells me that because I have spent the last 35 years working for humanitarian agencies overseas (who do not offer pensions), they are going to offer me $125.00 per month if I retire at age 65. Hhhmmm: 8 hrs per day, 22.5 days per month = 180 hours per month. So, my time is worth, in pensionable terms, about 70 cents per hour. So, on an average basis of time dedicated to my self-tending squash, maybe $4.20 over the growing season. But, keep in mind that this is NOT out of pocket cost, nor is it time I would have otherwise spent earning that magnificent 70 cents per hour: it's "free time".

So, where is my cost? It's all in the seeds.

I also grow those winter squash, but only 1 of each species (unless I have a lot of pure seed in stock and am feeling lucky).

Can't stand the taste of scallops (squash [love real scallops]).

And, in general, unless it shows a REALLY SIGNIFICANT improvement in taste, production, disease resistance and/or conservation over OP varieties, I just refuse to support the seed companies' eternal pursuit of profit by hybrids. There are a few hybrid seeds I buy year after year; but they get fewer each year as I find those "better alternatives".

Early Prolific Straightneck is a wonderful squash. I've never seen (or heard of) Grey Zucchini. If this is something different from the usual 'Cousa'-type of zucchini, I'd be interested in hearing more.
Farmerdill
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)


November 4, 2008
10:08 PM

Post #5752375

Grey zucchini is the open pollinated standard fro the "grey" type of zuchini that is quite popular in Mexico and among the hispanic population in the southern US. This type of zuchini is what started this thread. I also grow the Lebanese (cousa) types which are just catching on in this country. I like them. Least favorite are the "golden" zucchini. The grey type is more akin to the dark green types of zuchinni like Black Beauty, but is less watery. Here the Op squash run about $10.00 per lb, the hybrids $50- $60.00 per lb if you get them from a major vendor. Small amounts are very expensive from "heirloom" or specialized vendors.
Here is a winter squash, That I grew out for a Canadien, who got it from a Swiss seed company. Musquee du Moroc ( C. moschata) supposedly a rare native of Morocco. Humongous vines but only two 10 lb squash per vine.

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Potagere

November 5, 2008
2:53 AM

Post #5753621

I still don't locate 'Grey Zucchini" as a cultivar. I believe that the so-called Mexican "grey" zucchini and the "cousas" are genetically identical. Wherever the Americans got the idea that "cousa"-type "zucchinis" are "Lebanese" is a bit of a mystery. They are common throughout "southern" Europe, but must be of American origin.

I guess Farmerdill is now talking cost per lb of seed. 1 lb of squash seed running about 120 seed, even if one got 50% gernination, you'd need a very large garden to think in those terms. I'm looking at E4.00 for 20 seeds. That's $6.00 or 30 cents each, whereas "generics" are 10g for E2,00 or about 60 seeds for $3.00 for 5 cents each. Big difference in my mind.

Just curious, but in actual practice, without special treatment, what C moschata cultivars ptoduce more than 2 good-sized fruit per plant in the home garden?
Farmerdill
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)


November 5, 2008
1:14 PM

Post #5754674

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/65467/ This is the open pollinated Grey. There are a multitude of hybrids developed in recent years to meet market demand since NAFTA. Greys are sometimes reffered to as Mexican zucchini. I also grow the middle eastern type (Cousa) which are most often sold here as middle eastern type or Lebanese. They are significantly different.
Harris Moran does only hybrids, but thier breakdown in categories is fairly common. http://www.harrismoran.com/products/squash.htm
A lb of summer squash seed average about 4,800 seeds per lb and plants about a quarter of an acre. That translates to $0. 002 per seed for OP and $0.01 for hybrids.
Depends on your definition of good size, among the C. moschatas, butternuts are perhaps the best producers, The cheese pumpkins also produce good numbers ( 3-10 lb class)

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Potagere

November 5, 2008
2:54 PM

Post #5754934

Good info, Farmerdill. I forgot to convert grams to ounces!!
Other than the "tromboncino" types (which are also C. moschata), I've just never gotten more than 2 good squash per plant.
Love your cheese pumpkins!
MerryMary
Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL
(Zone 9b)

November 6, 2008
1:43 PM

Post #5758413

Due to extremely limited space, I've been looking for the smaller bush varieties, that have a high yield...any suggestions?
Farmerdill
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)


November 6, 2008
3:06 PM

Post #5758666

Mary, what type of squash are you looking for? Most of the summer squash are bush types. Among OP's Yellow Crookneck ( sold under various names) Early Prolific Straightneck, White Bush Scallop (Pattypan), Grey Zuchini,Black Zucchini, Black Beauty (zucchini) give reasonable yields. Not many op choices for winter squash ( Bush Table Queen (acorn) is a good producer. There are a few hybrids (butternut, delicata, hubbard, buttercup types) that are bush but few in number compared to vining types.

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MerryMary
Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL
(Zone 9b)

November 6, 2008
6:50 PM

Post #5759339

I have assorted zucchini, some perform better than others. I just got the pattypan, but haven't planted them yet. (In Florida we are beginning our 2nd growing season now) I wasn't really sure which other types (summer or winter) came in more of a bush variety. I'm willing to try anything (becuase I EAT anything!) but didn't want to waste my limited space for the variaties that have small yields.
Farmerdill
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)


November 6, 2008
7:21 PM

Post #5759413

Here is the list of bush squash available at present all 287 of them. http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/advanced.php?nn[89]=0&nn[1]=0&nn[2]=0&nn[55]=0&nn[90]=0&nn[91]=0&nn[92]=1&nn[93]=0&nn[53]=0&nn[9]=0&nn[23]=0&nn[10]=0&nn[12]=0&sname=Squash&Search=Search. The ones with the green star are ones the majority of respondents liked.

melody

melody
Benton, KY
(Zone 7a)


November 6, 2008
7:40 PM

Post #5759464

OP Yellow Crooknecks are wonderful and do not take up tons of space. 3 plants placed on a two foot wide mound will supply all that a normal family can eat. Seeds are cheap and can even be purchased on the 10 cents a pack racks at the Dollar store. They have a 'squashy' flavor unlike their hybrid cousins and hold up well in recipes. I tend to pick mine a little past 'peak' (or what market farmers call peak) I want mine starting to show a few bumps and warts with the skin turning a bit deeper yellow. The flavor is outstanding at that point.
MerryMary
Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL
(Zone 9b)

November 7, 2008
1:50 AM

Post #5761052

Thank you for all of the information! I went from hundreds of acres in Ohio, to a subdivision yard in Florida! It's been quite an adjustment, but I won't give up! Zucchini just happens to be my daughters favorite vegetable, so that one I need to have in some manner shape or form. :)
MerryMary
Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL
(Zone 9b)

November 7, 2008
1:57 AM

Post #5761100

Another question...Have any of you ever eaten anything called "Red Warty Thing"? I just got some seeds, don't know what they are (aside from the name and the fact that they are red, warty, and squash-like) but won't even plant them if they are more gourd-like and not edible.
Farmerdill
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)


November 7, 2008
2:09 AM

Post #5761151

While Red Warty Thing is usually sold as an ornamental, it is a type of Hubbard squash which means pretty good eating quality. Edited to say it is a big (15-20lb) squash with large vines 12-18 feet.

This message was edited Nov 6, 2008 9:12 PM
MerryMary
Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL
(Zone 9b)

November 7, 2008
11:05 AM

Post #5762065

Thank you for the information!
Melissande
Chillicothe, OH

November 13, 2008
4:57 AM

Post #5785156

Farmerdill et all, I think the one described as Greybeard is the sort of squash I'm looking for. Is there any chance you, Farmerdill, have any seeds for this variety, or might you know where I can lay hands on enough for two small families?

Anyone else have a source for this sort of zucchini?

Melis
Farmerdill
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)


November 13, 2008
1:42 PM

Post #5785791

Greybeard is a hybrid and one of the best hybrid grey types. Available from New England Seed. http://www.neseed.com/Squash_Zucchini_Vegetable_Seed_s/317.htm. Terminator ( Twilley seeds) and Greyzinni http://www.westonseeds.com/vegetablemisc.html are also very good hybrids. If you want the old open polinated variety. It is sold simply as "Grey". and is availablle from
http://www.southernexposure.com/index.html http://rareseeds.com/ http://www.willhiteseed.com/ http://www.heirloomseeds.com/ among others. It is a very good producer under normal circumstances.

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Melissande
Chillicothe, OH

November 20, 2008
12:10 AM

Post #5810379

are you familiar enough with any of these to recall if they are a bit striped-looking?

Failing that test, I'm guessing the open pollinator is the one I'll go for. Thanks for the replies.--M
LenaBeanNZ
Brisbane
Australia
(Zone 10b)

January 3, 2009
8:42 AM

Post #5959857

I have Custard White in my garden this year. So far it is yielding very well and the taste is acceptable. Does anyone know whether it is a hybrid or OP?

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Farmerdill
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)


January 3, 2009
2:01 PM

Post #5960184

Custard White is an open pollinated white scallop. More rare than the White Bush Scallop (Patty Pan). Your photo tho looks like a white acorn. I don't know of any acorns named Custard White.

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LenaBeanNZ
Brisbane
Australia
(Zone 10b)

January 3, 2009
10:47 PM

Post #5962138

The scallop on the picture was the first of the season, so I let it get a bit overweight. It was shaped like a spinning top. Some others have since shown a slightly flatter shape, but not quite like yours. Im glad to here it is OP, thankyou.

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