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Synonym: bottle gourd; botanical name: Lagenaria siceraria


The calabash is one of the oldest cultivated plants known to man. It is presumed to have originated in the tropics and subtropics of Africa. The plant probably reached South America via ocean currents, which carried the seeds there. Today the calabash grows everywhere in the tropics and it can also be cultivated in our regions places protected from the wind.


Calabashes can be harvested in August and September, approximately 3 months after they are sown.

Appearance, taste, characteristics

Calabashes grow on annual vines that can reach a length of 5 meters. The vines are very sturdy and bear very large, heart-shaped or oval green leaves in addition to the calabashes. Both the vine and the leaves are covered with fine hairs. When the leaves are rubbed together they give off a very penetrating musky smell.

From June to September the vines are in bloom and carry up to 10-cm-long white blossoms; these are closed during the day and opened only from the evening until the next morning.

The fruits vary in size and reach 10–100 cm in length; in exceptional cases they can even be up to 2 meters long. They usually weigh over 1 kg. They vary greatly not only in size but also in shape, some resembling cucumbers, others being rounder and still others club-shaped.

The pulp is light green. The especially firm shell of ripe calabashes is yellow-green, green, or speckled green-white. The firmness of its shell is probably the reason why the calabash is found worldwide. Because of it, the squash can be exposed to saltwater for over 200 days or lie in a swamp for several years without its seeds being damaged.



Calabash, fresh
Energie (kcal)
Wasser (g)
Eiweiß (g)
< 1
Fett (g)
< 1
Kohlenhydrate (g)
Ballaststoffe (g)
Vitamin A (RÄ) (μg)
β-Carotin (μg)
Niacin (NÄ) (mg)
< 1
Vitamin C (mg)
Kalium (mg)
Calcium (mg)
Magnesium (mg)
Phosphor (mg)
Eisen (mg)
< 1
g contain:

Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation

The calabash is very versatile. Unripe fruits that still have a soft skin can be prepared as a cooked vegetable. Calabash combined with lentils is a popular dish in India, called "doodhi channa". With ripe fruits, only the pulp is eaten, but not the skin.

Calabashes can also be hollowed out and filled with various ingredients, or they are cut in thin strips and dried and can be used in sushi. The calabash is sued for sweet dishes in addition to hearty dishes.

In some countries oil is extracted from the seeds.

The calabash is not only used as a food; it is also turned into useful objects. It serves as a drinking vessel, a bottle, an etui, and even as a pipe.

Seasoning tip

In addition to garlic and chilli, ginger, coriander and cumin are suitable seasonings.


If you want to learn more about squashes, please continue to read here.





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