Calabaza

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Flor de calabaza)
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with calabash.
See Calabasas for the city in California
Calabaza vine

Calabaza (West Indian pumpkin) is "a large winter squash (Cucurbita moschata) that resembles a pumpkin and is typically grown in the West Indies and tropical America."[1] The term is also used loosely for a variety of gourds from Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean.

The word calabaza is derived from the Persian term for melon (kharbuz). The French term "calabasse", and hence the English "calabash", is based on the older Spanish.[2][3] In common use "calabash" refers to a gourd native to the African continent, while "calabaza" refers to a gourd native to the Americas. In North America, the word "calabaza" refers to any of several species of tropical gourds of the genus Cucurbita. Two common species native to the Caribbean are C. moschata and C. maxima. The widespread species C. foetidissima specifically identifies "calabaza" as one of its common names. The Spanish "calabacera frasco" [literal translation; bottle-shaped gourd] refers specifically to C. foetidissima. Local names for "large green or yellow gourds" include "auyama" (Venezuela, Colombia), "ayote" (Central America), "abóbora" (Brazil), and "zapallo" much of South America.

History[edit]

A quesadilla made with flor de calabaza, Oaxaca cheese and epazote.
The Filipino dish ginataang kalabasa at sitaw (calabaza and string beans in coconut milk).

First cultivated for food in pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica as one of the "three sisters" of squash, maize, and climbing beans (typically tepary beans or common beans). From Mesoamerica, it is believed to have spread to other regions via Spanish colonial influence.[4] Cucurbita maxima and Cucurbita moschata, in particular, are well known in the Philippines under the name "kalabasa".[5][6]

Cultivars[edit]

Cultivated species produce gourds in a variety of shapes. However all are creeping, annual tropical vines with large lobed leaves and branching tendrils. The skin color reflects hybrids, varying from dark green to light yellow. The flesh can also vary in color, but most common is bright orange or yellow. Varieties differ somewhat in taste and texture, but are generally slightly sweet with a firm but soft texture. Farmer's markets in South America offer varieties of calabaza in a fashion similar to the variety of apples that might be present in a North American market.[citation needed]

Uses[edit]

It is eaten many different ways, such as in stews, cakes, and candies. Some recipes that call for pumpkin allow calabaza to be used in its place.[7] The taste is smooth and somewhat sweet. Calabaza is a good source of beta-carotene, some of which can be converted into Vitamin A.[citation needed]

The flower (squash blossom, flor de calabaza), is used as an ingredient in quesadillas, empanadas and other dishes in Mexican cuisine and New Mexican cuisine, and in pupusas in Salvadoran cuisine.

The seeds, toasted and seasoned, known as pepitas, are a common snack.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/calabaza
  2. ^ "Calabash". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved April 27, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Calabash". Dictionary.com. Retrieved April 27, 2011. 
  4. ^ Tony Winch (2007). Growing Food: A Guide to Food Production. Springer. p. 228. ISBN 978-1-4020-6624-5. 
  5. ^ Irma Remo Castro (2006). A guide to families of common flowering plants in the Philippines. UP Press. p. 73. ISBN 978-971-542-525-4. 
  6. ^ Wendy Hutton (1997). Tropical Vegetables. Tuttle Publishing. p. 27. ISBN 978-962-593-149-4. 
  7. ^ http://en.recidemia.com/wiki/Crema_de_auyama Crema de auyama recipe on Recidemia