At Home With Nature

We Grew it From Seed – Friulana Rugosa

Last year in the garden, a new variety climbed up to take the gold medal place for summer squash in my heart: ‘Friulana Rugosa.’

This summer squash is an Italian heirloom – the fruits are yellow or light green, long, and bumpy. Ok, actually they’re warty. And I’d forgive you for thinking it’s just another seedy yellow crookneck and dismissing it.

But you’d be wrong – it’s anything but. In fact, it’s not even the same species.

‘Friulana Rugosa’ squash harvest with a few pattypans, and a gorgeous squash plant. Look at those leaves!

Yellow crooknecks, plants cultivated in the US before the US even was such a thing, are a variety of Cucurbita pepo, the same species of squash that has been bred into pumpkin form – the type of pumpkin that isn’t so good to eat.

I’m not going to totally dis yellow crooknecks. I think they have their place in the garden and in the kitchen.

But C. pepo squashes for the most part tend to be watery compared to, say, a thick-fleshed butternut, which is a type of C. moschata.

The varieties of C. moschata tend to be grown and harvested like winter squash, butternut being an example. It’s harvested at the end of a long growing season.

Just so happens that ‘Friulana Rugosa’ is also a cultivar of C. moschata. You’d expect it to be a winter squash, but ‘Friulana’ (we’re on a first name basis) looks like a summer squash, is delicious when eaten as a summer squash, and produces like crazy all summer long.

With a small seed cavity, and seeds that are tender even when squashes are large, these babies have a texture that is creamy, and more dry and starchy than a crookneck. And when I say “starchy” I mean that in a good way. These squashes have a higher sugar content, making them more satisfying. Hey, it’s still better than eating junk food!

And anyway, starch has a bad rap, but just take a moment to learn about resistant starches and you’ll change your tune.

I already gave it highest marks for taste and texture, but then it went and bore the most fruits we’ve ever experienced too.

After picking a ridiculous amount of squash from two ‘Friulana’ plants for a couple of months or so, I went out for a final harvest when a hard frost was on the way to pick the remaining squashes. My haul was at least 30 fruits of various sizes from those two plants, just in one picking.

I just have to note also that the summer of my getting acquainted with ‘Friulana’ was also one of the most painful summers of my life foodwise. At this writing I am still recovering from gut dysbiosis-induced food chemical intolerance. I decided to be brave and try this squash, and boy was I glad I did. It proved to be a safe food for me, and I still could cry out of gratitude.

So, who do we have to thank for ‘Friulana Rugosa’? The wonderful Italians who cultivated and saved this heirloom for centuries. And I will thank Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds for offering it for sale.

If you’re looking for a new summer squash variety to try, this one has my vote of approval. We’re growing it again this year and will plan on keeping it in our garden from here on out.

Here are some of our other favorites and past harvests:

Cube of Butter Yellow Zucchini

Costata Romanesco

2021 Winter Squash Harvest

2020 Winter Squash Harvest

If you are excited about trying this variety, or already have thoughts of your own about it, let me know. I’m especially interested in learning more about its history, so if you have knowledge, please share!

2 thoughts on “We Grew it From Seed – Friulana Rugosa”

  1. I *THOUGHT* that I was planting pumpkin seeds, but got this alien-looking thing trying to take over a corner of the world! Not sure how to tell when they’re ripe, but they are starting to get good light yellow color so will be picking the first few (of what looks like over 100 so far) and trying them on the family. Your post raised my spirits that maybe this little accident was a blessing.

    1. Oh my goodness! If they are ‘Friulana Rugosa’, you’re in for a treat! You can pick them at any size – for me, I was able to pick them rather large without much seed development (until very late in the season). They also are superb when small – or medium-sized! If you want to send me some photos for me to see what I think you can email them to hearthwilde at protonmail dot com. (Sorry I don’t have a way for readers to upload photos to the comments section.) Either way, my fingers are crossed that you are growing ‘Friulana Rugosa,’ AND that you will love them!

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