Saturday, October 30, 2010

Squash & Pumpkin Extravaganza


This year we collected pumpkins and squash from many different sources and even grew some of our own.  Most are for baking or cooking with as they are one of my favorite baking ingredients.  You can cook pumpkin into savory dishes like stir fry vegetables and stews or bake them into tasty treats like cookies, breads and don’t forget the pie.  We all know that it is the season for treats!

IMG_2578 This little morsel has to be my favorite find this year.  It hasn’t been cut open as of yet, but is said to be a tasty baking pumpkin so it will be making an appearance in some breads and pies coming from my kitchen soon.  The name is one I will never remember or be able to pronounce, but I have recorded it and am going to grow it in my own garden next year.  This one was grown by George Winter who owns the nursery I am working at.  Okay the name of this beauty is Brode Galeux D'Eysines.  My good friend says it looks like it has starfish on it.  It is actually a webbing and it looks different on each pumpkin…beautiful!IMG_2583

The pumpkin in the center is actually a squash and is called Australian Butter Squash.  It was the first to be cut and baked.  I made a batch of cookies with molasses and dried black tartarian cherries in them.  They were delicious.  Then I also made a pumpkin pie with puff pastry crust.  It was good, but next time I will make a pie crust.  The puff pastry is great with fruit, but I was craving a plain old pumpkin pie so it was a little too much for me.

IMG_2584 These little treasures we grew ourselves with seeds we got from Bakers Creek Seeds.  It is called Black Futsu.  It is a little Japanese morsel and starts out black (or dark green) then changes to a rusty orange color.  We baked one and it was tasty with some butter and maple syrup.  Our only complaint was that there wasn’t enough.  It is a little thin walled, about 1/2 inch thick, but tasty!IMG_2585

  These are just plain old round zucchini that I left on the vine when I got tired of eating them this summer.  They are Ronde de Niece…similar to Eight Ball Squash.  They actually still taste good, but are full of seeds.  They do make cute little pumpkins.

IMG_2586 Some pumpkins are strictly ornamental and then there are some that are actually grown for roasting their seeds.  The striped pumpkin in this picture is Kakai and it has hull less seeds that are great for roasting.  When you are roasting pumpkin seeds for a snack you can choose to just add salt or get creative and add some spices some people like them spicy and some like them sweet.  I found a few different recipes and methods for roasting when I googled it.  I also talked to some friends and got their opinions some people say to wash the seeds and others say to leave the stringy stuff on for flavor.  Some say to boil in salt water then bake on a cookie sheet with olive oil and spices and some skip the salt water part and go right to the oven with them.  Well, I am going to try a few methods with these seeds and see which one I like then try to remember to post back.  Here is a link to a simple recipe which I am going to try first: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.  The uses for the roasted seeds vary as much as the recipes, they can be used as just a snack all on their own, mixed into a trail mix with dried fruit, sprinkled on a salad and most anything you would do with nuts or sunflower seeds.

IMG_2587Zucca Rotondo is a strictly ornamental variety.  It seems to be a long keeper and should carry us through to Thanksgiving for a little holiday eye candy.

IMG_2588 Two of my old time favorites for baking are the Long Island Cheese and Jarrahdale.  Jarrahdale  is the blue-green one in the center of this picture and though you can’t tell from the picture the flesh is the deepest orange and very sweet.  This makes really tasty baked goods and is great cubed and cooked with other vegetables in lots of dishes.

Long Island Cheese is much like Jarrahdale in size and flavor IMG_2589 though the outside color is totally different.  This is actually not a pumpkin at all but a moschata squash.  It is not stringy at all and cooks up really nice, it is said to be higher in nutrients than some squash so that is one added benefit.  Taste a pie made from this and you won’t even be thinking about the nutrients just about having another piece.

Well, the conclusion we have made after collecting all these beauties is that next year we will be growing one great big pumpkin patch of our own!

Enjoy your winter holidays and cook up something orange and tasty, then share with friends and family or keep it all for yourself!



Linda said...

Hi Ferne! Love all your pumpkins! Would be pretty on my table topper! LOL!

Candace said...

Wow - what a treat, Ferne! Thanks so much for all the great photos and descriptions! I see a couple that I may add to next years list, too!

Melody said...

Great compilation of posts here at your blog! I have only recently discovered it, but I plan to be re-visiting it for more!