Wednesday, April 11, 2012

bits of pumpkin info

Hair washing last night was not quite the usual trial.  Esme is getting ready for school and is very happy about it this morning.  I found a 'Sweet Dumpling' squash at the market last night and was very surprised - I had to buy it, at least for the seed!  I baked it at 350 for about an hour - maybe should have put some water on top of it halfway through.  It was very good, sweet but a little dry because of that.  The best way to cut them is to cut out the stem first, jack o' lantern style,  then saw them in half.  I did save some seed for planting. 

I truly have become a squash fanatic.  I tell Mark it is because of the seeds - the nutty taste really tunes into some natural craving I have.  I'm not sure what oil or mineral it is in the pumpkin seeds, but it is something I need in my diet.  In the garden this year there will be two or three types of zucchini, two other summer squashes, common pumpkins, Jarrahdale pumpkins, Red hubbard squash, Table Queen acorn squash, green cushaw, butternut squashes and perhaps this new Dumpling squash as well.  That is a lot of squash!  I am hoping the butternut and perhaps another one will have better resistance to the squash bugs.  Butternut Squash is a 'moschata' type, and the cushaw is a 'mixta' type.  Both of those are supposed to be more insect resistant than the maxima and pepo types.  The common pumpkin is a pepo variety in most cases, as is zucchini - which means they can interbreed if saved for seeds and produce new varieties!

Pumpkin Seeds:
To use the seeds I rinse them really well with water, boil them in a pot with some salt for 10 minutes or more, dry them off, then mix them with a very small amount of olive oil and roast them at 250 for about 10 minutes or less while stirring.  When they have become drier and white on the surface, but not burnt - they are ready for cooling and then for cracking and eating.  Find a small space at the top or bottom of the seed and crack the two outer layers of the seed apart - then pull out the 'meat' in the middle and eat it.  Some seeds will be 'sweet' while others will be nutty or oily.  Different varieties of squash and pumpkins have different seeds.  Some pumpkins are bred to have no hard outer later at all on their seeds - these varieties, like Kakai, are called stygian or naked seed pumpkins.  I have not yet grown this variety, because it is not as strong against the squash bugs which ate my plants last year!

It is a laborious task for whatever that small amount of green oily pumpkin seed oil is giving to me - but it has become well worth the work for me.  I tend to be drawn to 'tedious' things sometimes, anyway -- remember I hand bound that quilt last year and it didn't bother me one bit.  I am not bored easily by repetitive tasks I find productive - which perhaps is the mark of a good gardener and a good seamstress.

1 comment:

ElizabethEK said...

I have the same feeling about certain tedious tasks that I think are useful -- weeding, for example, or some cleaning tasks around the house.