Cucurbita ficifolia Bouché

A relative of pumpkin and watermelon, and similar in appearance to the latter, this vegetable has white pulp and black seeds. It has to be peeled, cooked and shredded before eaten. Brought to Brazil by Portuguese immigrants, it adapted well to the cold, mountain climate of the South region, where is used is sweet and savory dishes, such as salads and fillings to stuff fish, pies and pastéis (Brazilian fried turnovers made with wonton- like wraps). In Bom Jesus, Rio Grande do Sul state, an annual festival – usually in July – celebrates the harvest with homemade products including chocolates, jelly rolls, candies, cakes, and candied sweets made with Malabar gourd. Fun fact: cultivating this gourd is very easy. In Bom Jesus, one can just throw the seeds on the ground and wait for the fruits.