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Tromboncino squash is cylindrical in shape and can be curved or straight with one bulbous end. When harvested early in the season, Tromboncino squash is light green with pale, white, vertical stripes. If left on the vine and harvested later in the season, the skin will transform into a tan coloring as it reaches maturity. Tromboncino squash have firm flesh with a pale green hue and is known for its mild, nutty, and sweet flavor. Seeds are only found in the bulbous end of the squash and it can grow up to 91 centimeters long. The plant has a robust climbing ability and can use walls, arbors, fences to grow and expand. Tromboncino squash plants can be identified by their vining nature, large ornamental leaves, yellow to orange blossoms, and curling fruit.
Tromboncino squash is available year round with peak season mid to late summer through fall.
Tromboncino squash, botanically classified as Cucurbita moschata, can be classified as both a summer and winter squash. When this squash is green and young it has a sweet and mild flavor, and later in the season when it matures it turns golden, tasting similar to the flavor profile of a butternut squash. Tromboncino squash seeds are widely available, but they can be difficult to locate because it is known by so many different names. Tromboncino squash is also known as Zuchetta rampicante, Climbing zucchini, Trombolino d’albenga, and Serpentine squash.
Tromboncino squash has high water content and is an excellent source of potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains powerhouse antioxidants such as vitamin A and C.
Tromboncino squash can be eaten in raw and cooked applications. The skin of this squash is edible as well, however the longer it matures the thicker the skin becomes. Tromboncino squash can be sliced raw onto salads and is also enjoyed by steaming, grilling, sautéing, baking, and roasting. Tromboncino squash pairs well with savory soups, frittatas, citrus, tomatoes, garlic, basil, oregano, Italian cheeses such as parmesan, risotto, and mozzarella, and other summer vegetables like eggplant. Tromboncino squash will keep for a couple days in a well-ventilated area when fresh.
Tromboncino squash is an heirloom vegetable, which means it is an open-pollinated, old-time variety that is passed down within multiple generations in families rather than being a hybrid between two varieties. Italian households value the Tromboncino squash for its abundant harvest and flavors. Gnocchi and pasta are traditional dishes Italians use the squash in and they also enjoy sautéing it with olive oil and garlic to reduce the bitter flavor.
Tromboncino squash is originally from Liguria, a coastal region of northwest Italy. Liguria is known for its coastline, but also for its rolling hills and mild climate. This climate nurtures the squash allowing it to remain a staple in Italian cooking. Tromboncino squash is popular throughout Italy today and in select parts of the world such as the Pacific Northwest.