Calabaza cooking tips

Calabaza is a hearty and sweet favorite vegetable of the Caribbean as well as Central and South America.

Good to know

  • Brooks Tropicals’ calabaza are between 8 and 10 lbs. They can be 28″ to 34″ in circumference.
  • For every pound of whole calabaza, you will get from one-fourth to one-third of a pound of eatable flesh. For example, a 10 lb. whole calabaza will yield 2.5 to 3.3 lbs. of calabaza flesh for your eating enjoyment.
  • Recipes will often call for calabaza by weight. This is the weight of the calabaza flesh to be used in the recipe- not the weight of the whole calabaza. For a recipe, 1 lb. of calabaza flesh is equal to 1 1/2 cups of mashed or pureed calabaza flesh.
  • Peeling the skin off the calabaza is much easier when this veggie is cooked and cooled.

Storage

Keep calabaza in a cool dry area before slicing open. Once open, store in airtight containers or bags in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Calabaza can be frozen up to a year.

Cutting open and baking calabaza

Calabaza is a hard vegetable to cut into. Take the necessary precautions for your own safety and to avoid damage to any kitchen countertops or equipment.

Some suggest peeling calabaza before cooking. Peeling this vegetable is much easier after baking.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Wash the outside of the calabaza.

tools needed to open Calabaza
  • Serrated Knife
  • Large Chef’s Knife
  • Vegetable Peeler
  • Cutting Board
  • Serving Spoon
  • Bowl or Colander

Using a serrated knife, use the edge to make the first cut into the calabaza. Use one of the indentations of the calabaza to steady the knife’s edge.

Then, using a thicker-bladed knife, complete the process of cutting around the circumference of the calabaza. Steady the calabaza with a bowl or colander. Avoid cutting through the stem.

With the calabaza cut in half, use a knife to cut around the strings and the flesh. Then use a spoon to scoop out the seed cavity.

The calabaza half with the stem should be cut in half again (avoiding the stem). Cut the stem out since the flesh under the top and bottom stems won’t bake as readily as the rest of the calabaza.

Place the cut side of the calabaza down on the cutting board. Slice straight down (not into wedges) to create 2″ slices.

Using a vegetable peeler, remove any additional strings or seeds from the inside of the slices.

Spray a rimmed cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange calabaza slices in one layer. Spray calabaza pieces with cooking spray.

Bake for 20 minutes. Turn the calabaza pieces and spray with cooking spray. Bake an additional 20 minutes.

You should be able to easily insert a knife into the calabaza flesh.

Remove from the oven; let cool. A roasting pan with wire rack is a great way to cool the calabaza pieces.Once cool, the calabaza skin can now be easily peeled with a vegetable peeler, spoon or knife.

Your calabaza is ready for that recipe.