Opo squash, also called long squash, is an odd member of the gourd family. It's not a type of squash at all but rather a gourd. Because it isn't a type of squash, it can be used in any recipe that calls for winter squash. Other names this unique fruit goes by are bottle gourd, snake gourd, Tasmania bean, and calabash squash.
A relative of the cucumber family, the opo squash is pale green to white in color with a hard rind. It can grow up to 30 pounds but is typically harvested before it gets that big. This squash has a unique flavor that is often described as mild and nutty. Opo squash can be baked, steamed, boiled or fried. When cooked, the pale flesh becomes creamy.
Opo squashes are seen at many Asian grocery stores but are also becoming more common at conventional food markets too. They are available year-round but are best in the fall and winter. Look for opo squash that is heavy for its size with a smooth hard rind-free of blemishes or dark spots. They should be free of soft spots or any sign of sprouting because that means they are old.
This odd-looking fruit is often used as decoration, but it's also edible. The opo squash can be baked, boiled, or steamed and eaten like you would a summer squash. It has a mild flavor with hints of cucumber and watermelon so you can substitute this gourd for either in most recipes. The opo squash is quite nutritious too, containing vitamins A, C, and K, fiber, potassium, manganese, iron, copper, and phosphorus.
Opossum squashes are commonly grown in East Asia and Southeast Asia. They're also grown in the United States in Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish. The opo squash got its name from Louisiana's Seminole Indian tribe called it an opossum because of its resemblance to the animal.
Opo squash is used in a variety of Asian dishes, including stir-fry and soups. You can eat them raw or add them to a salad instead of cucumber. This is a very versatile vegetable that will add an interesting twist to your favorite recipes.