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Bottle Gourd

Also known as Opo Squash. Around the world, bottle gourds have numerous uses — culinarily and otherwise. They’ve been cultivated in China and Japan for at least 8,000 years, and in Africa and the Americas for thousands of years, too.

For cooking purposes, young bottle gourds can be used similar to zucchini. They have smooth light green skin and tender flesh that can be added to stir fries and other dishes. In Japan, they’re often cut into extremely thin long slices and dried; when prepared this way, they take on the name “kanpyo.” Kanpyo can be used in many ways, but it’s often prepared by rehydrating similar to dried noodles before being cooked alongside other ingredients.

Beyond cooking, bottle gourds have some other culturally significant uses. Most famously, fully matured ones can be dried, the seeds removed, and hollowed out to make a vessel for carrying water and other liquids — hence the name “bottle” gourd. Matured and dried gourds can also be made into instruments, particularly for percussion, woodwind, or as the body of a string instrument.

While Uwajimaya doesn’t carry mature bottle gourds , we do have kanpyo in our grocery department and fresh young gourds in our produce department.