Opo squash has a lengthy, cylindrical-shape and is typically harvested when ten to fifteen inches in length. Its smooth skin varies from a light green to chartreuse and encases a creamy white flesh and petite seeds. When young the seeds are tender and edible but when the squash becomes more mature the seeds become hard and should be removed prior to consumption. Opo squash offers a mild flavor reminiscent to a blend of summer squash and cucumber with a firm yet tender to the bite texture.
Opo squash is extremely low in calories and provides small amounts of vitamin C, folate, calcium, iron, zinc and B vitamins. It is also rich in fiber and is believed to help aid in healthy digestion. The juice of Opo squash is touted for its vitamin C and zinc content as well as for its ability to potentially regulate blood sugar levels. In India the juice is popularly consumed as a health benefiting beverage, caution should be used however as to not ever consume Opo juice that has developed a bitter flavor as it may contain toxins that can be extremely harmful to the digestive track and can cause ulcers and even be fatal.
Opo squash is used most often in cooked applications. When young it can be utilized with skin on or when more mature the skin can be removed for a more tender texture. Young Opo squash can be used in a fashion similar to that of zucchini. In China cubed Opo squash is popularly added to soups, stews and stir-fries or grated and used in batter for quick breads and fritters. More mature Opo squash can be slow roasted or pureed and added to sauces and soups. In China the Opo squash is also popularly hollowed out slightly, stuffed then steamed or baked. Its flavor and texture pair well with eggplant, cabbage, bitter greens, onion, spicy peppers, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, coconut milk, pork, seafood and sausage. To store keep Opo squash dry and refrigerated, best used within two to three weeks.