May 9, 2011
My Shopping Basket

Hello Guicoyito

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Mayan version of zucchini arrives in Toronto . . . .

Mayan heirloom squash are so cute, I could just eat them up. And I did.

Figuring out how was the hard part. I had never seen any before stumbling upon an irresistible 681-gram bagful for 5 bucks at Costco.

       Mayan heirloom squash arousing curiosity. Credit: Susan Sampson

These squash are no bigger than tennis balls, with thin green skins the colour of watermelon rinds. There’s not much about them online in English, although I did find a note from a Guatemalan expatriate who remembered them fondly by their Mayan name, “guicoyitos.” Apparently, guicoyito seeds have been handed down through generations.

Guicoyitos taste like zucchini but aren’t as watery. Here’s the easiest way to prep them: Wash the skin. Cut a thin slice off the top and bottom. Halve or quarter lengthwise. Place in a steamer basket, cut side down. Steam until tender but not limp, say 8 to 10 minutes if halved. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Or, if you want the full effect of their cuteness, steam them whole and increase the time.

Guicoyitos would also do well on the barbecue, or in a microwave dish or sauté pan. One traditional way to cook them is to sauté quarters with garlic, onion and tomato, then stir in salt, pepper and maybe fresh chopped basil, parsley or thyme. In Central America, whole guicoyitos are sometimes stuffed with rice or vegetables, and covered with cream sauce or cheese.

Whatever your pleasure, don’t let those guicoyitos sit around. Keep them in the fridge in a plastic bag and use them within a week or so.