Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Long of Naples – An Italian Squash that produces prolifically



Myself with 122 pounds of Long of Naples

Though my Tromboncino butternut squash did well in the Tucson heat, I had seed bugs kill some of the fruit by sucking sap out. This began my search for a squash variety that could outgrow the critters and produce more food per fruit. I settled on the largest Moschata variety I could find, Long of Naples. I procured this fine Italian variety from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.


My daughter with a 25 pound squash

My Long of Naples plants began very vigorously but were very slow to start fruiting and took up to 80 days before having the first female flowers blossom. As with many fruiting plants, if you have a large plant that sets its first fruits, each fruit can grow rapidly – even up to a pound per day. Long of Naples squash averages 25 pounds per fruit. At that point they begin to harden up into a winter (long-term storage) squash. Before that, you can pick the larger fruits when they are between 10-15 pounds as a summer (zucchini type) squash. I gave a 15 pound Long of Naples summer squash to a friend, who took over an hour to just cut the thing up.


Nearly 400 #s with a pencil for perspective

All considered, my two long of Naples Squash plants produced almost 500 pounds last fall – a real feat given the limited space of my garden. For a few days I had almost 400 pounds curing in my house at once. My largest squash was 43 pounds. My wife told me to take it to the county fair. I would have but they do not accept produce entries in the Home Arts division. Too bad.


A delicious summer squash

It is safe to say that Tromboncino can produce way too much food – even for my family of 6 – so I was forced to sell some of my monsters to those who would like a vegetarian feast. So how many ways can you eat squash? Plenty. We've had squash in lasagna as the noodles, in cornbread with a white sauce, in spaghetti, in various casseroles, and in lots and lots of pies. The flesh begins white when young but develops a dark orange flesh as it matures. The flesh is sweet though the texture is not as smooth and buttery as some when fully mature.


My waning squash plant soon before the first freeze
 

5 comments:

  1. Hello everyone. This is Jay's wife. Um, this squash...yeah. Not much to say except that we are still eating it, coming up with a gazillion different ways to cook these things, trying to give them away as gifts...you get the idea. I haven't tried canning them yet. I'll have to try that.

    Actually, they are yummy and very versatile. Just plan on having a business to get rid of what you don't, or can't, eat.

    Enjoy!

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  2. Wow! What great 400lbs. of feast! Glad we found your site as these are the monsters that are growing in our garden as well. I'll have to see if you posted any good recipes for the Long of Naples squash. We got lucky and only had a few come up & grow that we've found so far!

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    1. Hi Rebecca! Thank you so much for your comment! I believe I posted that you can eat them as a summer squash when they are younger (between 10-15 lbs). They taste better than most zucchini when the fruit is young and tender. You will know they are tender like zucchini when you can run your fingernail along the skin and your fingernail cuts through or makes an impression on the surface. My favorite recipe for the full grown “winter” Long of Naples Squash is one from the BH&G Cookbook for Cream of Butternut Squash soup. As this variety is a butternut squash, any butternut recipe will work. If you would like me to post the recipe from the BH&G book I have, I'd be glad to. (=

      Respectfully,
      Jay

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  3. Replies
    1. Thanks for the reply, Nathan! This is the squash to grow if you want food production.

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