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Meet the Hottest New Vegetable: the Zucchiolo


By crossing a cucumber with a zucchini, Spanish researchers may have developed love at first bite.

Zucchiolo, a cross between South American zucchini and cucumbers, is a new species developed by Spain’s IFAPA’ Breeding and Biotechnology Department in cooperation with Beyond Seeds.

Alfredo Sanchez-Gimeno, head of marketing and product development for Beyond Seeds, recently told FreshFruitPortal.com Zucchiolo comes in three varieties: White, Green and Yellow.

“This translates into a richness of color where the yellow shade is the sweetest and most distinctive,” Sanchez-Gimeno said.

The new vegetable can be eaten raw or cooked, and currently is being grown in open air but is adaptable to greenhouse cultivation, he said. It has a long harvest life, lasting three to four weeks after picking under normal temperatures, but currently is being sold only in Europe.

As much as 24 pounds of Zucchiiolo can be grown in just 10 square feet, Maria del Carmen Tamayuo, Beyond Seed’s technical manager for the product, told FreshFruitPortal.com.

Meanwhile, in other agriculture news:

Banana fungus: Australian regulators are considering whether to approve the Cavendish banana – also known as QCZV-4 – as the country’s first genetically modified fruit, The Guardian recently reported.

Banana crops worldwide are threatened by a deadly fungus that first surfaced in Panama in the 1990s. The Cavendish banana has demonstrated resistance to the disease, giving commercial growers a safety net. The variety already accounts for about half the bananas grown worldwide.

The fungus strain TR4 has spread to China, India and other major banana-growing countries, including the Philippines where 15% of the world’s bananas are grown.

Edible insects: Korean food company LOTTE and French startup Ÿnsect have teamed to develop food products for human consumption featuring mealworms and determine consumer interest.

Ÿnsect had been concentrating on pet food and called human foods the next logical step.

“Through LOTTE R&D center, we now benefit from the support of a key player to better understand the different markets in which we are establishing ourselves across the Asian continent and thus [will] be able to meet the demand for local proteins,” said Guillaume Daoulas, Ÿnsect food & plant sales director.