All of these gourds are edible, but some lend themselves to being a decoration first. Gourds are very attractive and beautiful when grouped together.  Acorn and Butternut Squash, Pumpkin, Spaghetti Squash and Delicata Squash are the best known.  I’ve seen some of the more unusual gourds below but didn’t know what they were called or how they tasted.

pumpkin2The Carnival Squash is an orange and green speckled winter squash. It is a cross between the Acorn Squash and the Sweet Dumpling Squash. It has a nutty sweet flavor and is delicious roasted with some butter and a little brown sugar.

The Mirliton (known as a Chayote in Latin American cuisine) is a wrinkly, pale green gourd that hails from the Caribbean and Mexico.  Its texture is like an apple’s but it tastes more like a cucumber.   They can be used uncooked in salads, salsas and dips. Cooked, they can be split in half and filled with shrimp or ham.. Its seeds and skin are edible.

Cucuzza is an Italian gourd and is known for its length. It can grow from fifteen inches to three feet in length and three inches in diameter.  It tastes like a zucchini and is usually cooked.  It plays nicely with tomatoes, garlic, eggplants, mint, basil and fennel.  When it’s young it can be sliced and sautéed, or grilled, fried or pickled.  When it’s more mature it can be cooked like a winter squash and split, stuffed and baked, or slow roasted.