All About Pumpkins!

My favorite new discovery at our local farmer’s market is the magnificent collection of winter squashes and pumpkins grown by Anne and her husband, Chris of C & A Organic Farms, here in Mendocino County in Northern California. Anne has a deep passion for these varieties and is a wealth of information, which she most generously passed along to me, and thus to all of you. This two-part post will undoubtedly serve as a resource to many who have an interest in adding more pumpkins and squashes to their gardens next year! This foray into her world has certainly educated me and I am most grateful!


Organic Baby Pam Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo)

These organic Baby Pam Pumpkins are the ones we reach for at this time of year to make our delicious pumpkin pies. Its stringless flesh cooks down to a smooth filling and its sugary flavor makes it the preferred choice. I think most folks would have access to these in your local farmer’s markets and health food stores, and possibly even in your local supermarkets (though maybe not organic–always better).


Organic Jack Be Little Pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo)

Organic Jack Be Little Pumpkins (also called Little Jacks) are the small pumpkins we buy for decorating. Children find them especially endearing. They are about 2″ high and only 3″ wide. You see them in all the markets in October, I’m sure and are one of everybody’s favorite for decorations.


Organic Cinderella Pumpkin

The organic Cinderella Pumpkin is a French heirloom variety, known in French as “Rouge vif D’Etampes”. It is hard not to notice that their beautiful shape does, in fact, resemble the carriage Cinderella’s fairygodmother created from a pumpkin! Best of all, this pumpkin is recorded as having been the variety cultivated by the Pilgrims and served at the second Thanksgiving dinner. (I love this!) These flattened fruits weigh an average of 15-20 pounds. Their deep orange flesh and strong sweet flavor lends to using in winter soups to brighten and enrich cold winter days.


Organic New England Pie Pumpkin (Curcubita pepo)

This heirloom organic New England Pie Pumpkin variety remains the favored pie pumpkin in many homes. Its stringless flesh cooks down into a thicker pumpkin filling, making it very desirable for pies. Pumpkins are usually 4-6 pounds.


Organic Crown Pumpkin (Curcubita maxima)

While these hard-skinned blue-grey are called organic Crown Pumpkins, they are, in fact a delicious eating winter squash. I include here due to their name. Reputedly Organic Crown Pumpkins were part of the Koanga Gardens collection in New Zealand, and they do continue to make these seeds available. It’s known as an excellent keeper, and Anne shares it’s one of her favorites this year. I made a soup from one of these and it was delicious, so I’d have to say it’s one of my faves this year, too. And as someone who has searched for the “perfect pumpkin soup recipe” for years, I’ve come to realize that the secret is in your pumpkin choice, not the recipe itself. Who knew?


Organic Black Futsu (Cucurbita moschata)

The Japanese organic Black Futsu is an heirloom variety. These small pumpkins have heavy ribs, a warty texture and average 4-6 lbs. The outer skin remains dark green or black until ripe and then become a muted chestnut color with a powdery appearance in storage. Texture is firm and flavor is nutty and fresh. Each plant will produce 3-5 pumpkins. This is a pumpkin you can grow in large containers, making it a good choice for those with limited space!

Anne has kindly sent along this simple recipe:

Black Futsu

Cut pumpkin in half, place face down in baking dish. Add a bit of water and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Add seasonings to taste. Delicious!


Organic Kakai Hull-less Pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo)

Yes, hull-less seeds. The organic Kakai Pumpkin produces hull-less seeds, perfect for snacking! Kakai seeds are highly nutritious and yield a valuable oil that is used to promote prostate health in men. This Japanese pumpkin bears orange and green striped markings and large raised ribs. Medium sized fruits average 5-8 lbs. Plants yield 2-3 fruits per plant, even in poor conditions. It’s a beauty!

lovely market display

Dearest readers, I hope this post has inspired you to try more varieties of pumpkins this year–to seek them out and use them and learn which ones you prefer and for what. There’s a vast array and exploring these delicious nutritious gifts is a treasure! I’m grateful to Anne for expanding my knowledge.

Last word! Don’t forget that our dogs adore fresh cooked pumpkins! I have a big bowl set aside in the frig and my Border Collies really appreciate my adding it to their morning rice and protein breakfasts!

Love and season blessings,
Kathryn xoxox

Book News: Please visit my FaceBook Fan Page for a fairly comprehensive view of bookstores carrying Plant Whatever Brings You Joy! I’m adding new photos–and new stores–daily! ~ I would also like to welcome and thank a number of new subscribers! I hope you enjoy the posts at Plant Whatever Brings You Joy! :)

12 Responses to “All About Pumpkins!”

  1. Lovely! What a wonderful pumpkin post, mom! Great pics, too. I’m particularly fond of the Cinderella pumpkin and its fun shape. :-)

    Love,
    Antonia

  2. Good morning, Antonia! Thank you! Yes, the Cinderella truly has a beauty all its own. There is something wonderfully magical about pumpkins! Love, Mom xoxo

  3. Thank you Kathryn for this wonderful article. I love your photos and the writing.
    Truly a wonderful experience for us!
    Kind Regards,
    Anne

  4. Hi, Anne, It was my pleasure and I will always be grateful to you for your time and sharing. I’m guessing this post might encourage others to get curious about the pumpkins available to us beyond what we see in the supermarkets in October! Of all the vegetables and fruits, pumpkins truly are for me the most magical! They light me up! Thanks for being one of their champions! Kathryn xoox

  5. Love the pumpkins. For about a decade, the Cinderella pumpkin was our “go to” pumpkin for pies in the winter. One of the farmers at the Worthington Farmers Market would grow some just for me. He doesn’t come any more so I have to take what others offer. The last two years we have been enjoying something called a “Long Island Cheese” pumpkin which is paler in color, looking something like a round of cheese. These also make wonderful pies and were the base of our pumpkin and brown rice mix that we made for our dear dog Charlie while he was still with us. I buy a big wheeled basket full in the fall and store in the garage until I get around to cooking them in the oven to use in many ways. Thanks again for sharing. Cousin Julie

  6. Hi, Julie, Yes, I wholeheartedly agree that buying a bunch of pumpkins and storing them in a cool dark place is a wonderful idea! Just knowing they are there is a comfort, I think. Winter’s blessing. Anne does sell Long Island Cheese as well. So many fabulous choices! Love, Kathryn xoxo

  7. What a fun post! Your photos are gorgeous as always. Thanks for the tip about dogs loving cooked pumpkin, I’ll try that.

    Love,
    Kathlene

  8. Hi, Kathlene! Thank you! I’m glad you enjoy the pics. :) Let me know if your doggie likes the pumpkin! Love, Kathryn xoxo

  9. I was going to try pumpkins this year – I planted 5 different varieties and got ….none! Not a single, solitary, lonesome one!!!
    I’ve had to live vicariously through your blog post instead! :-) xx

  10. Hi, Liz, I know you’ve had a very wet summer in the UK, and that it wasn’t only pumpkins that did not thrive in your garden this year. :( Yes, pumpkins truly need lots of sun and hot weather. There’s an abundance of that here. We are still in triple digits (F) and it’s October 1 tomorrow! Glad I can lend you the visuals at least. ;) Hugs! Kathryn xoxo

  11. Wow! So beautiful. Thanks a lot for the fun post. Brilliant!

    Shyra

  12. Hi, Shyra, Many thanks! Glad you enjoyed! Kathryn xoxo

Leave a Reply

© 2008 - 2014 Kathryn Hall. All rights reserved.
For optimal viewing Mac users using IE should access via Safari.
Pixel Surgery by Site Mechanix