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Zuccuri evokes the texture of 'kuri' (chestnuts), with a bite that crumbles, then melts.

Cucurbita maxima

Hearty, tender and bursting with natural sweetness, kabocha squash is a core element of Washoku. Zuccuri is a specific variety of kabocha which is likened to a chestnut (kuri) in its sweetness and texture. This versatile squash is packed with flavor and nutrition, from its vibrant orange interior to its edible dark green skin. Its soft consistency first crumbles and then melts in the mouth, a unique characteristic that comes from its starch content.

Kabocha squashes like Zuccuri are a winter staple in Japan and a reliable source of vitamins when vitamin- and carotene-rich vegetables are scarce, as they can be stored for upwards of three months in a cool, dry place. Traditionally enjoyed on winter solstice in Japan, Zuccuri is often prepared in a sweet soup with adzuki beans in the wintertime, as it is believed to help boost the immune system and prevent colds.

Cooking with Zuccurì

Enjoy Zuccuri simmered, sautéed, dipped in tempura batter and fried, or roasted for a saccharine, melt-in-your-mouth sensory experience. This sweet kabocha squash pairs well with warming spices like nutmeg, clove and sage, as well as pears, cilantro, spinach, and parsley.

Zuccuri holds its form well when cooked and can be added in cubes to soups, stews, curries and casseroles. For a very simple and fast preparation, try microwaving one-fourth of the Zuccuri (500g approx.) for six minutes.

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Growing Details

  • Suitable temperature for germination: 75-85℉
  • Suitable temperature for growing: around 70℉
  • Soil pH: 6.0-7.5
  • Days to maturity: 110 days


  • Direct sowing: sow 1-2 seeds 1/2" deep with 18" between plants (in rows) and 36" between rows. Cover and tamp down soil gently.
  • Transplanting: sow 1-2 seeds per cell, 1/2" deep into a 50- or 72- cell tray. Once established, thin to one plant per cell.
  • Maintain moisture through germination without overwatering (do not soak).
  • Keep 75-85℉ to encourage the germination.


  • Check for readiness 21-24 days after germination by gently pulling on the base of the stem to see if the soil block stays together.
  • Transplant to 18" spacing, with 40" between rows.


  • Cultivate soil to prevent weed competition and sitting water, which can harbor mildew.
  • Use of light row cover can maintain heat and prevent pest damage. Remove at flowering.
  • Remove early fruits if leaf size is less than 12".


  • Harvest when stems turn from green to woody by cutting the fruit stem away from the vine.
  • Cure for ripeness by leaving fruits in a protected area away from sunlight. Curing time: Zuccuri 7: 14 days, 819: 30 days


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