Lunga di Napoli Winter Squash
Lunga di Napoli Winter Squash is HUGE and flavorful. Feed your whole village on one of these fruits, which will store many months into the winter. They are delicious in squash fritters, risotto, and stews. Throughout Puglia and Campania (places where my great grandparents were born), and also Sicily, Lunga di Napoli Winter Squash is eaten raw in salads, marinated, steamed, baked, and in sweets. It is also featured in a soup called cianfotta or giambota, which can include chili pepper, eggplant, tomato, pears and plums. As the same species as butternut squash, these plants have strong stems and are much more resistant than average to squash vine borers. The vines are quite long, and the largest fruit we grew this year was over 50lbs, though we hear they can even get larger!
This squash is also known as Zucca Lunga Napoletana and is listed by the Slow Food Foundation as an important and endangered variety from Campania, Italy.
Days to maturity: 100
Seeds per pack: 32
Planting / harvesting notes
Direct sow in warm soil after the last frost, or seed indoors 2-3 weeks beforehand and transplant. Plant 3 seeds per hill spaced several feet apart, or seed in rows, one plant every 2-3 feet. Vines grow at least 10' if not much longer, so allow them space to sprawl. If grown in corn, you may need to train them so they won't pull it down! Avoid downy mildew by watering only at the base of the plant (not on the leaves!). Harvest when the stem begins to turn brown and woody and the fruit becomes hard, leaving a couple/few inches of stem. Cure in a dry or sunny place for a week, and then store in a cool (45-50 degrees) room for up to 5 months (however, keep an eye on it and use it at earliest sign of softening if not before).
Seed keeping notes
Squash is insect pollinated and requires about 1/2 a mile of isolation from other varieties of the same species, which in this case is C. moschata. The seeds will be fully mature on any squash when the stem of the fruit has turned brown and woody, so when you eat your squash, the seeds should also be ready for harvest. Separate the seeds from the flesh, rinse them, and dry them on a screen or paper product away from direct sunlight in a ventilated place. The plumpest and hardest seeds will be most viable.