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Jul 22, 2008 02:33 PM

Tatume/Tatuma = Mexican zukes

....found the name googling around. Slightly oblong, light green-grey skin, meaty, nutty flesh. Can be allowed to mature on the vine for a winter squash.

Much nicer than the Black Beauty type of supermarket zuke, try these if you see them in a Latino market. So good.

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  1. They are firmer when cooked, and sweeter. They are great diced, sauteed with onion, then scrambled in eggs. A high fiber, low calorie very filling breakfast, with a side of refried beans and a dollop of salsa.

    1. What are also great are Italian squash (Zucchini Romanesco) and those seeds are easily available online. Also very firm and sweet, much less watery. I'm also growing southern French squash, not round but the Courgette de Nice Longue, which make trumpet shaped squash and "walk" like a pumpkin vine. Squash are so wonderful if you can find these non-grocery store ones.

      I slice and sauté in olive oil and butter with plenty of sweet onion and garlic, mix with cooked rice, an egg and parmesan cheese, top with breadcrumbs and bake to make a gratin. Yum! It goes super fast at a party.

      1. I'm mexican, lived in Mexico City most of my life and I must say that I've never seen or heard of "tatume" or "tatuma"...

        The most common and the one type of zucchini that you'd usually find in markets all over Mexico is the one known as "calabacitas" - literally, little pumpkin. Their skin is a light green-grey, so we might be talking about the same variety, but the name "tatume" is just so, un-mexican...

        And yes, they're good, but they can have an intense after taste that's not always pleasant, especially if they're too large.

        I find the dark green zucchini, more common in the US crunchier and tastier...

        2 Replies
        1. re: davemex

          Hey Dave... I don't think they realize that all Pumpkin, Squash, "Zucchini" etc., is native to Mexico, was first domesticated in Mexico 6,000 to 8,000 years ago... and was unknown to Europe or Asia prior to the 1500s. r

          I think the Mexican variety is its own thing from which other varieties have been bred.

          1. re: Eat_Nopal

            My aim in posting about Tatume/Tatuma was to alert those who might want to search for the seed variety name. Sort of like "We had an outrageous Ha Ogen for breakfast. I like them more than Honeydew" .

            I found several references on the web that identify this calabacita or Mexican zuke as the variety Tatume/Tatuma. Heirloom seed sellers, specialty produce wholesalers, and recipe files. And wikipedia, too. I wouldn't have posted, otherwise.

            The name not being "Mexican" enough. My first thought before I read the variety description was that it was an Asian hybrid (Asian hybridizers and farmers have really run with hard-skinned winter squash) with the repetative hard consonants and the ume/uma ending. My unschooled theory is that it may be a phoenetic spelling of an indigenous word or words. I have overheard such sounds among the local Mixteca in the market.

            Zucchini as we know it in American groceries likely came to this country via Italian immigrants at the end of the 1800's, according to the Wiki article. Likely a sport (naturally occuring mutation) from a species brought to the old world from the new via the colonization period in Central and South America, it first turned up around Milan. Literally, little squash, in Italian.

            It's a lovely squash and deserving of the limelight. Like its old world cousins, best when picked quite young.