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What is Opo Squash?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Opo squash is a member of the squash family which appears to be native to Africa, where it is widely used in regional cuisines. In addition to appearing in Africa, the this squash is also grown in the tropics of Southeast Asia, especially in India, and in parts of Europe. Depending on its age at harvest, it can range from mild to bitter in flavor, and it may be used in a number of ways. This vegetable also has a wide number of aliases, including: long gourd, Tasmania Bean, Peh Poh, Long Squash, yugao, cucuzza, and snake gourd.

It can sometimes be difficult to obtain opo squash, depending on where one lives. Ethnic markets are usually a good source, along with greengrocers who specialize in unusual fruits and vegetables. If you live in a warm zone of the world, it is generally easier to find opo squash, and you can also grow it yourself; in cooler regions, you may need to rely on frozen versions or vegetables which are shipped across great distances.

In appearance, the opo squash is pale green to yellow, with a smooth skin which thickens with age. When cut open, the squash reveals firm white flesh mottled with seeds. Young squashes are very tender with a mild flavor almost like that of zucchini; as it matures, it grows more woody, eventually turning into a gourd which can be hollowed out and used for storage.

Many people like to use opo squash in stews, soups, and curries. It can also be fried, stuffed, or integrated into dips and spreads, and very young squash may be eaten raw. The mild flavor of young squash pairs well with an assortment of ingredients, from Italian pastas to Indonesian curries, and the food can help to bulk out a dish and absorb flavor. The flowers are also edible, in the event that you can obtain them.

If you want to grow this squash, you will need a warm, sunny spot in the garden out of the wind. Prepare the soil by working it well with abundant compost and mulch in the spring, and plant seedlings after the last chance of frost has passed; you can start seedlings in your home or greenhouse, and sometimes they are obtainable from a garden store. Stake the squash plants as they grow to provide support, and harvest the squash when young for the most tender, delicate flavor. If you allow the opo squash to keep growing, it can get quite large, and it will become rather a novelty in the garden, although it will no longer be edible.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon106890 — On Aug 27, 2010

I have opo squash plant in my garden. The flowers turn to squash, but die out when they are really little. They don't seem to grow beyond three inches. Any idea what's happening?

By galen84basc — On Aug 03, 2010

@pharmchick78 -- Thanks! That gives me even more information than I was looking for!

By pharmchick78 — On Aug 03, 2010

@Galen84basc -- Opo squashes, like all squashes, are very nutritious.

Opo squashes in particular have a lot of vitamin A and C, and are a good source of fiber.

Also, opo squashes are a good source of calcium, niacin, and iron, and potassium.

Of course, bear in mind that how you cook it matters.

A lot of people like to load up on the cheese and butter when it comes to squash, which can really compromise the nutritional value of a meal.

So remember, use these things in moderation, and enjoy your healthy, delicious opo squash.

By galen84basc — On Aug 03, 2010

Does anybody have any information about an opo squash's nutrition? It sounds so interesting, I want to learn more!

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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