What Does Tromboncino Squash Taste Like?

Tromboncino as summer squash.

Tromboncino as summer squash.

The short answer (and short is the wrong word for this gargantuan squash) is that tromboncino tastes phenomenal as a summer squash and just ok as a winter squash.

Tromboncino, also known as zucchetta rampicante and Tromba d’Abenga (Albenga is a city on the Italian Riviera where tomboncino originates) is a cultivar of  Cucurbita moschata, a constellation of squashes that includes butternut squash. Trombonchino, as far as I know, is the only or one of the few squashes in the Cucurbita moschata family that is harvested as a summer squash

Tromboncino as winter squash.

Tromboncino as winter squash.

I think of tromboncino as the new zucchini. It has a sweeter flavor than zucchini and the long neck is always free of seeds. As a winter squash it’s passable, but somewhat bland. If you’ve got the room to let this thing sprawl (ours is over 25 feet long) you’ll find it more productive than zucchini. I planted seeds in April, transplanted the seedlings in May and in early November I still have squash on the vine.

Franchi Tromba d'Albenga

Like all squash it benefits from copious amounts of nitrogen and compost. We grew ours in straw bales. I’ve heard that it’s resistant to squash borers (not a problem I’ve had, so I can’t speak from experience). The seeds came from Franchi via the Heirloom Seed Store.

Have you grown tromboncino? Let us know in the comments . . .

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  1. We grew it for the first time this year and probably won’t grow it again. It was entertaining, but we didn’t think much of the taste in either iteration. We’re giving it away now, in fact. We’ll save the space for the butternuts we love next year.

  2. I’ve never grown it, but when I was a member of a CSA it was a frequent inclusion in the basket. I liked it better than zucchini (and I love zucchini). The farmers grew the squash on hugh trellises, so the necks were long, straight, and seed-free. It was noticeably less watery than other summer squash. I’ve never eaten it in its mature state. Vine borers are the bane of Curcurbita in my neck of the woods, so if I ever get a larger growing space I’ll give it a try.

  3. I’ve grown Tromboncino a zillion (or maybe a zillion and 1) times. I totally agree about your flavor recommendations. We make winter squash sculptures every fall and I can highly recommend these for expanded creative possibilities. Grown on the ground, they make great curved spider legs with a giant pumpkin. Grown on a trellis, where you get your maximum yardage, they are straight and make excellent giant wiener dogs.

  4. We grew them for the first time this year and plan to grow it in next year’s garden, too. We grew them up a trellis and they were very happy. We ate most of them young and only have 2 we hardened off to try as winter squash.

  5. A friend gifted me with some seeds and 3 pants overtook my garden! We ate it all summer. They were amazing! I saved some more seeds for this year and am definitely going to trellis them.

  6. I agree that the flavor is not that much to write home about. Although it is prolific and easy to grow, I didn’t like it nearly as much as other zucchini varieties or other winter squash varieties. For me, that’s a deal breaker. I want to grow things for great flavor, so I switched back to growing different summer and winter squashes.

  7. Oh! I grew this for the first time this summer too. I found the flavor as a young summer squash horrible. It tasted like green pumpkin. I’ve let the rest grow out to adulthood…and like others I have so many I’m giving them away. As a winter squash it’s edible but not special. I give it kudos for abundance and for beating out the pest pressure that most of my other squash succumb to. But, next year I will grow and accept the inevitable quick death of the varieties I find delicious. To me one green tint patty pan fruit and one long pie pumpkin fruit are worth more than dozens of troms.

  8. I let many of mine grow to maturity. I canned them and dried them. The canned ones I have used in soups. They are particularly good pureed with garlic, etc. and put into bean soup. The dried slices are also great in soups.

  9. We grow Tromboncino every year. Sliced thin and steamed, served with butter and salt, it is a zuke replacement in our house. Also, slice paper thin and coat with olive oil then spices and bake for chips.

    This squash likes a trellis, the squash grow long and straight. You can save seed from this one very successfully.

    It is resistant to the vine borers, they are horrible here. The borers will riddle this vine but it keeps growing and growing. I usually have to pick baby squash (great taste) in November before the hard frost.

  10. I grew Tromboncino one year. I have never had so much squash. It was unbelievably productive. And I don’t remember having much trouble with insect pests with it. I didn’t know it can also be a winter squash, so I never left them on the vine long enough to try it that way.

  11. Here in the southeast, trombocino’s resistance to squash vine borer is what makes it such a winner. I can.not.grow other types if summer squash organically. Trombocino is such a champ that even if a svb bores into the vine, it will keep on ticking. Compare that to every other summer squash variety that I’ve tried that just dies after the first brush with svb. Long live the wonderful Trombocino!

  12. I bought my seeds from pinetree looking for a Korean squash that had similar leaf and shape. It turned out to be a Italian heirloom squash that took over my boyfriend’s garden. I was amazed how big and prolific they got. I wasn’t impressed with the taste but with the abundance I had to think fast what I can do with it. I got into canning when I found a zucchini salsa recipe on line. Since then I modified the recipe to include Trinidad Scorpions to make some really hot salsa. I’ve been doing this for past three years canning and selling salsas thanks to this wonderful zucchini. This venture have included my hot pineapple salsa, curry relish, zapple strudels, and zapple cake. All thanks to this wonderful zucchini.

    • Hi Maria. I’m a farmer and trainer from East London, South Africa. I am growing Trombocino for the first time this year and would be grateful for any tips, and especially the recipes you mention, in order to assist underprivileged rural people in out region.
      Many thanks in anticipation of your reply. Herb

    • Hi Herb What a wonderful surprise to hear from someone across the ocean. How did you discover this gourd? Yes, you have to be resourceful but I treat Tromboncino as a filler or like tofu that take on the flavors of other ingredients. I found the canning salsa recipe http://www.food.com/recipe/zucchini-salsa-canned-11217. In this recipe I skip the day 1 part where you salt the vegetables because the tromboncino texture is not like a regular zucchini which consists mainly of water.

      The pineapple salsa came to mind because the gourd had similar color as pineapple that you can triple the quantity by just using enough ripen pineapples, red peppers, vinager, cilantro, sugar, hot peppers, oregano, and tomatoes.

      The other recipe for dessert I got from a zucchini cookbook. http://www.amazon.com/The-Classic-Zucchini-Cookbook-Recipes/dp/1580174531.
      I was making zapple strudel, and zapple cake from the book. Also the curry relish was good. The ingredients may be too much but just keep in mind to treat this a filler in soups, stew, bake it so you can scoop the flesh out make curry soup, etc. Get creative and good luck! And keep me posted.

    • Hi Herb It’s wonderful to hear from someone across the ocean. How did you encounter this gourd? Here’s the link http://www.food.com/recipe/zucchini-salsa-canned-11217
      for the salsa recipe.

      I do not follow step 1 for day one. It does not require salting since the tromboncino does not contain as much water as regular zucchini. You can modify the recipe as you like.
      Essentially you need to treat this gourd as a filler or like tofu where it will take on the flavors of the other ingredients. The pineapple salsa came about because the gourd and the pineapple were similar in color so by adding the tromboncino it tripled the quantity without losing the flavor. I just added red onions, red peppers, cilantro, oregano, carribean red peppers, sugar, vinager, and in addition some canned pineapples.The other recipes came from this book http://www.amazon.com/The-Classic-Zucchini-Cookbook-Recipes/dp/1580174531.
      To prep the gourd, peel the skin,cut to chunks to process and shred in a food processor. Then you’re ready to use for any recipes. You can also bake it to scoop the flesh for curry soups, stew. I hope you have fun with it and good luck in your adventure and keep me posted. Maria

  13. Thanks for the information. I’m the only person I know who has ever grown this and this is my first year trying it. I planted it because it is a moschata, and we have a HORRIBLE squash vine borer problem in this part of the country, and I have not got so much as a blossom on my summer squash for over seven years – until now! So far it has not succumbed and now, at last, I’m getting back to having that old problem you won’t know you love until you don’t have it anymore: What to do with all this squash! 😀

    Oddly enough, I am finding that the fruits on mine are growing completely straight, even the ones on plants that aren’t climbing the fence yet. Also, I am finding the taste and texture of mine (in the immature version, anyway) to be more like eggplant than squash – in fact I’ve started using it in all my eggplant recipes. Did I get some kind of weird cultivar or something? In any case, I’m really glad to have discovered it!

    • Interesting–squash does outcross very easily so it is possible you have some kind of mutant. Speaking of mutants, our tromoboncino reseeded itself and is taking up a third of our backyard. I’ve been using them in their immature form this summer and have found them to be much tastier than their mature form.

  14. I have grown them in Oxford, England, for a few years now and love them. I will also grow them in New Zealand when I finally return there.
    They are great croppers and I use them at all stages of their growth.
    They are great to use in pasta dishes, curries, sliced on the bbq, fritters, and many other ways.
    If I have surplus I either give them to friends, or to my local Italian restaurant, and Alberto uses them in many of his dishes, and in pickles ! Bravo, Bravo ! 🙂

  15. I’ve been growing this very satisfying squash for 4 years. When mature it tastes like butternut squash. In fact, butternut squash is this same squash bred for a short neck. But butternut squash are plentiful and cheap in the local stores. I grow tromboncino for the young squash and for the male blossoms. The young squash are delicious, somewhat like zucchini but really sui generis. And the male blossoms you can either eat raw in salad, stuffed or in tacos, or you can put Mexican friends deeply in your debt by sharing them.

    Here are a few things I’ve learned: 1) Each plant’s goal in life is to mature fruit/seeds. If fruit are picked young (20 days or less) it will keep trying by producing more fruit. 2) The plants store energy in the roots during the day and use it at night to grow. The more roots, the more vigorous the growth. 3) The vine roots at the nodes if they touch the ground. The most vigorous and prolific vines are the ones that ran along the ground and rooted in multiple places before starting up my 5-foot cyclone fence. 4) Blossoms are produced daily and last only one day. Obviously I don’t touch the female blossoms, but the male blossoms are devoid of pollen by three hours after sunrise and make delicious eating. They store well in the refrigerator for a few days and a week’s collection contributes generously to a meal for two to five people.

    In past years I’ve used commercial seed . This year, however, I chose a squash from my best vine – large, thick necked, vigorous with no powdery mildew – put it in the leg of a panty hose that I tied to the fence for support, and picked it the day before our first killing frost. It was about 30 inches long and weighed almost 7 pounds. I now have about 400 seeds and high hopes for a spectacular 2015 season. I’ll test a few for viability in a few weeks. I don’t expect to use more than 50 or so for myself, so I’m willing to share with anyone who is interested.

    • That is wonderful someone is as  enthusiastic as we are. We also kept a log in a composition book of each one by logging the length and weight.  I believe one year we got over 250 lbs. This year my boyfriend decided not to grow any but we sure got a lot from my neighbors because we were sharing the seeds. I always had a packet of seeds in my purse to hand out. I feel like Johnny appleseed. Its funny he also used knee high pantyhose in nude shade when it got too heavy for support. Glad to find a mutual interest. Maria

  16. I have trouble growing summer squash due to both squash bugs and vine borers. I rarely harvest more than a couple of squash before I lose the plants. I tried Tromboncino squash a couple of years ago and now it’s the only summer squash I attempt to grow. I haven’t tried letting any mature for winter squash but there are many moschata varieties of winter squash including Seminole pumpkin, butternut and others that can produce, keep longer and probably taste better.
    We like the flavor and texture of Tromboncino as a summer squash. It’s more dense than zucchini and all of the seed is in the bulb end, making it very versatile. I can use the long neck portion for salads and many other things I’d use zucchini for and scoop the seeds out of the bulb end and use it for stuffing and baking like I would an overgrown zucchini.
    I miss the yellow crooknecks, but I’m done wasting time and space on summer squash that quickly dies in my location.
    Tromboncino takes longer to start producing, but once it does, it’s very prolific when given good conditions.

    • We were given a few seeds telling us they were butternut squash , what a surprise we had when these things started to grow and take over the garden , producing many weird looking monsters . Crawled out into the yard even . No one in this area (Quebec) knew anything about them . We have ten and another 5 did not make it passed a couple of inches . Have made loaves using Zucchini recipes and now that they are turning colour Butternut squash soup . Would love to hear if anyone else in area are growing them . Have not seen any at Farmers markets .

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  18. No one has mentioned using the rounds to make fritters. We slice the rounds into 1/2 inch slices, dip in egg and roll in seasoned flour (with some cayenne pepper and corn meal), and fry in oil until somewhat crisp on the outside and al dente on the inside. These make a great addition to any meal.

  19. Last year was infested with every cucurbita pest going and lost the lot, so this year tried tromboncino. No pests, not even powdery midew and lots of fruit. Grows up the trellis like a triffid! Amongst the usual ways I’ve served the larger ones stuffed and baked like marrow and also cut into slices, rubbed with olive oil and put on a baking tray, cover with a slice of tomato and chopped olives and parmisan cheese and bake till just tender….yum!

  20. One of my all time favorites. The taste of the mature fruit is fine if cooked down a bit and it’s much tastier than regular zucchini as a summer squash. And if you like squash blossoms, it’s flowers are bigger. Love it. I didn’t grow it one year and really missed it. If you have too many to use the chickens love it too.

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