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the popular South American vegetable in southern Italy

You may have heard him call spiny zucchini, american eggplant, bucketwolf’s tongue or masciuseespecially in Campania, but the food we are talking about is always one: the centennial zucchini, a vegetable that comes from afar, from South America, but that southern italy has found the ideal climate to flourish. Unique due to its particular appearance, characterized by a bark covered with “soft” thornsthe centennial zucchini has a good taste which makes it unique and perfect for fall recipesbecause it ripens and is harvested in this period.

The origin of the century-old zucchini and its arrival in Italy

The scientific name of centennial zucchini is Sechium eduleand its origin is very remote: it actually comes from Mexico and of Costa Rica, and it is a very old vegetable. His Spanish name, chayotejust Aztec word “chayutli”one of the clues that led scholars to hypothesize the presence of zucchini already at the time of the ancient population.

How did this South American vegetable come to our country? Most likely it was imported to Italy after the discovery of Americabut for many centuries he was one undervalued culture. It can happen to see the South American zucchini growing wild, or in a small private plot, or in a cultivation secret passed down from grandparents. Then the turn.

Farmers in southern Italy, where the centuries-old zucchini has always taken root thanks to Mediterranean climatehave recovered the old cultureand they have transformed into a product of excellence. This is an example of that Sechium Italya project of a young Calabrian entrepreneur who wanted to invest in this particular vegetable, combining peasant know-how with the excellence of modern agriculture “made in Italy”.


Centennial zucchini: flavor, characteristics, benefits

The centennial zucchini it is a very vegetable easy to grow, which does not require special care other than the essentials, nor specific treatments. One of the reasons is his zest particular, covered with spines that are not dangerous to humanswhile they are essential to keep animals away and keep the interior intact.

And if the normal zucchini, outside the greenhouse, can only be harvested in summer, the centennial zucchini it is harvested in mid-autumn, from September to the end of November. And its taste almost seems to confirm its predisposition to the coldest months: if eat raw remembers the taste of fennel and cucumbers, when cooked, it takes on a sweet taste which makes it ideal for the most varied seasonal recipes, both sweet and savory.

In addition to being good to eat, centenary zucchini it is also good: it is rich in essential nutrients such as calcium, zinc, phosphorus and iron, di Vitamin C and the vitamins of group Bbut it’s a lot low calorie, for this reason, it can also be consumed in diets. Additionally, this zucchini has documented diuretic, anti-inflammatory and hypotensive properties.

How is the centenary zucchini cooked? Tips and Recipes

Thanks to his flavor tending towards sweetnessthe century-old zucchini is a very versatile ingredient, to be used in all kinds of recipes. Perhaps cooked like a regular zucchinifor example, and transformed into parmigiana, omelette, or in antipasti with oil. Or, to try something different, it can be breaded and fried: the result is a “zucchini cutlet” with a balanced taste, where the frying is counterbalanced by the delicacy of the zucchini.


Centennial zucchini it also lends itself very well to the preparation of dessertsespecially if it is transformed into jam: the preparation is very simple, and the result is an exquisite compound, excellent for accompany the cheeses thanks to its neutral taste. To spice it up, you can also flavor it with a pinch of ginger.

And that’s not all: the centennial zucchini they are great too au gratin in the ovenWhere cut into thin rounds and made into friesor how pasta seasoning and how cream for tasty autumn risottos.

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