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Old February 23, 2018   #1
mensplace
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Default ZUCCHINI

TO complete my search for Mediterranean/Middle Eastern approaches to recipes that include peppers, eggplant and zucchini, I am totally flummoxed, stymied and confused by the zucchini seed choice.

I absolutely despise those with hard skins, seediness even when young, or that overwhelmingly intense (almost bitter) zucchini flavor. Maybe I'm just spoiled by a lifetime of summer crookneck deliciousness, but I need something that will stand up to sautés and frying without falling apart.

That's my conundrum. I want something that will be sweet while not falling apart or overwhelming a dish. Something to complement

I have seen a refer to some regions using Cousa squash, but have no knowledge of that at all.

SO, considering all of the above, what variety would you select? The black varieties and deep green ones have always seemed too strong. Is there one with flavor and sweetness that will not need peeling, while standing up to sautéing and adding to the other flavors?
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Old February 23, 2018   #2
Father'sDaughter
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If you're willing to accept "nuttiness" as part of the flavor profile, look at the Italian varieties Striato d'Italia or Cocozella. They have tender skin, dense flesh, and they grow in more of a bush fashion than vining so they take up less space. If you want a hybrid option, then Green Tiger is comparable to both.
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Old February 23, 2018   #3
Ann123
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I love Lebanese white: soft, pale, fragile skin and creamy, less mushy meat.
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Old February 23, 2018   #4
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Coosa is one that I enjoyed. Give it a try.

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Old February 23, 2018   #5
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Sheer frustration...
My wife kindly drove me out on a quest for the varieties mentioned. Unfortunately, all we could find in a 15 mile radius were the seed racks in the "big box" stores close by were those of Ferry Morse and Burpee. On those they had the same two or three we have seen forever. By then my joints and vertebrae were screaming fro each little crack or bump in the road. Another day and another quest! At least I can get the flats ready.
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Old February 23, 2018   #6
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Why not through an online shop? The Lebanese zucchini is sold by rareseeds.com and a couple of other shops. I try to shop in 'real' shops, with real people and not in chains or online. But with seeds it is not always easy to find a big diversity. Oftentimes I buy them online.
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Old February 23, 2018   #7
FarmerShawn
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I almost never buy seeds in a store - the good online companies are so much better stocked and they know what they are doing.
As for varieties with the characteristics you describe, I really like Costata Romanesca from High Mowing and Cocozelle from Fedco. The important thing with any zucchini is to pick them really small. I don't let mine get more than 8"-10" long. Bigger than that, and they are fit to be grated for bread, but not much else, in my view.
An interesting revelation for me was a vining squash called Tromboncino, which does best on a trellis. It grows over three feet long, but only about 2" in diameter, like a really stretched out butternut squash, if you let it, but if you pick it at 12"-15" long, it rivals the best zucchini in flavor, but with a firmer, less mushy texture, and only a few seeds at the bulb end. If you do let it get big, it will mature into a nice winter squash with solid, light orange, tasty flesh. It seems to be available from a wide variety of online sources, including Baker Creek, Territorial, and Fedco.
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Old February 23, 2018   #8
mensplace
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We still have plenty of time here, so if I cannot find them when my wife heads out and passes a nursery about 20 miles away, I will have to try the online route.
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Old February 23, 2018   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mensplace View Post
We still have plenty of time here, so if I cannot find them when my wife heads out and passes a nursery about 20 miles away, I will have to try the online route.
Let me know if you'd like to try Raven, Dark Star, or Midnight Lightening- I'd be happy to put some in the mail tomorrow.

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Old February 23, 2018   #10
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Unfortunately the box stores are very limited. Mostly hybrids, rarely an old vareity.

Definitey a huge and better selection on line. Check several sources before buying.
Otherwise, to keep the form of the summer squash I add at the end or near the end of the cooking. Holds its form better
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Old February 23, 2018   #11
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do you have a feed store by chance? sometimes they have a selection you don't expect. we have a couple of them around here. One a bona fide feed store another an Amish boot shop withing a grocery store/restaurant down in Kidron, Oh and a material supply place... building materials, work clothes, garden stuff etc... check any places like that if you have any close. If I had some I would just send them to you. or a drug store/carry all store with a seed rack from Livingstons seeds. they are all open pollinated and you might find some one one of those.
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Old February 23, 2018   #12
HudsonValley
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Caserta was a favorite of 2017 -- it stands up well to cooking without turning mushy, is not bitter, and is not thick-skinned. It does have a tendency to double in size on rainy days, but that's zucchini, I suppose.
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Old February 24, 2018   #13
mensplace
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Thanks to all for your wonderful recommendations!
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Old February 24, 2018   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarmerShawn View Post
I almost never buy seeds in a store - the good online companies are so much better stocked and they know what they are doing.
As for varieties with the characteristics you describe, I really like Costata Romanesca from High Mowing and Cocozelle from Fedco. The important thing with any zucchini is to pick them really small. I don't let mine get more than 8"-10" long. Bigger than that, and they are fit to be grated for bread, but not much else, in my view.
An interesting revelation for me was a vining squash called Tromboncino, which does best on a trellis. It grows over three feet long, but only about 2" in diameter, like a really stretched out butternut squash, if you let it, but if you pick it at 12"-15" long, it rivals the best zucchini in flavor, but with a firmer, less mushy texture, and only a few seeds at the bulb end. If you do let it get big, it will mature into a nice winter squash with solid, light orange, tasty flesh. It seems to be available from a wide variety of online sources, including Baker Creek, Territorial, and Fedco.
Good recommendations, and I concur.

Personally, I switched from zucchini to Tromboncino many years ago, chiefly because of its resistance to SVB... but I would never go back. Tromboncino is a vining squash, and takes up a lot of space if you let it (I let mine ramble) but it is also a strong climber, and can be trellised. The yield is not as high as zucchini grown in the same space; but then - at 12-24" long immature - a single squash serves two people. 90% of that length is seedless, solid flesh, with no mushy interior. I mostly blanch & freeze the seedless portion; it turns a beautiful lime green when blanched, and freezes well... I use the bulb end for fresh eating. The texture is a little less firm than green zucchini, the flavor is mild, somewhere between green zucchini and yellow crookneck... quite pleasant. In a dish, it absorbs flavors well.
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Old February 24, 2018   #15
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+1 for the Costata Romanescu and Cocozelle - they are the best of the really large zucchini, being both very firm and very sweet tasting never bitter for us. You'll get a big crop from those. There are many meals in one CR.

I'm a kousa fan, if you can get it, try Magda F1. Still looking for an OP to rival the taste. The squash are not large and best harvested before they do get large, but they are very tasty whether cooked or raw. "Nutty" yes.

I did also quite like Bianca de Trieste, which is a vining type and can be trellised as well. Much smaller than the others and a bit prone to rots on the blossom end that spoil the taste, at least when growing on the ground here in my climate. We don't always have the kind of summer that squash like.
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