Posts Tagged ‘pumpkin’
By MEREDITH KIRTON
Nothing symbolizes that garden harvest feel more than a pumpkin. For those in North America, the tradition of eating pumpkins for Thanksgiving is still as strong as it was for the original Pilgrims when they celebrated the harvest. However, for those of us in Australia we have our own traditions, like the annual pumpkin rolling competition held in Goomeri in Queensland that decorates, smashes and dresses up each year in honour of the pumpkin! Whether it be the gigantic types you see at the Agricultural Shows or a Queensland Blue or butternut ready for soup, they are fabulously easy to grow – all you need is the space for this sprawling vine to grow, the sunshine and water and nutrient to feed it with.
To grow successfully, wait until all chance of frosts have finished, then plant pumpkin seeds in a mound that has added manure dug through it. Put about 4 seeds onto a handful of soil at the top of this mound, sprinkle over some more soil and give the whole lot a good long drink. Once the seedlings have germinated, remove all but the 2 strongest plants. Water the vine every 2 weeks or so with liquid manure and encourage bees to come and pollinate your flowers by growing them with other flowering plants like nasturtiums, borage or basil.
To harvest your pumpkins, wait till the skins have a uniform colour and a hard rind. A light frost will help sweeten them, but always have them picked before any really cold weather strikes as this can damage them. Cut the fruit from the vine using secateurs leaving a short “handle” which leaves your pumpkin less susceptible to rot. Leave them on the shed roof to cure for 10 days then store in a dry, airy place or use immediately.
Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICSTags: companion planting, planting, pumpkin, vegetables
Posted under grow
By MANDY SINCLAIR
Pumpkin or squash come in all shapes, sizes and colours. They can be large or small, smooth skinned or ridged, round or long. Generally speaking they all have a similar flavour. Depending on the variety, some will be a little sweeter than others and water content will also vary.
Whole pumpkin will store well for up to 2 months after being picked. Store in a cool well ventilated place with the stalk attached. This will help protect the inside from damp.
Once cut, pumpkin needs to be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for 3-5 days.
What to do with glut
Peel and chop pumpkin. Blanch in a large saucepan of boiling water for 3 mins. Drain and refresh under cold water. Drain again. Pat dry with kitchen paper or a clean tea towel. Pack into freezer bags or plastic containers and freeze. Store frozen for up to 6 months. Thaw and use as you would normally for baking, mash, in casseroles, soups or curries.
Alternatively, cook pumpkin until soft, drain and mash until smooth. Freeze in ice cube trays to use as baby food or in plastic containers. Use for pumpkin tarts, as a topping for pies or in vegetable lasagne.
Boil 1.5kg peeled and chopped pumpkin with ½ cup of water, until very soft. Drain and mash until smooth. Return to pan with 1.5kg caster sugar and rind and juice of 2 lemons. Simmer, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and boil for 20 mins, until thick. Pour into sterilized jars and seal.
Remove seeds from 1 whole pumpkin and place in a bowl of cold water. Rub seeds between hands to remove any sinew. Drain well. Bring 2 cups of water and 2 tbsp sea salt to boil in a saucepan, until salt dissolves. Add pumpkin seeds, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 mins. Drain and pat dry with kitchen paper. Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. Lay seeds in a single layer on a baking tray. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and bake for 30-35mins, tossing every 10 mins, until seeds are crisp and golden.
When completely cool, store in an airtight container.
Note – Different varieties of pumpkin seeds have different textures and flavours. Seeds in the image are from the Jap and Queensland blue pumpkin. Experiment to see which is your favourite!
Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICSTags: drying, freezing, jam, preserves, pumpkin, seeds, vegetables
Posted under harvest
By MANDY SINCLAIR
Warm pumpkin, walnut & blue cheese salad
1kg jap pumpkin, cut into thin wedges, skin on
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup walnuts
200g seedless red grapes
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
baby spinach leaves
50g soft blue cheese, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 200C or 180C fan. Lay pumpkin wedges on a baking tray and drizzle with oil. Bake for 30 mins, until golden and tender.
2. Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan on high. Toast walnuts for 1-2mins, until golden. Remove from pan. Cook grapes in same pan for 1-2mins, until just beginning to soften. Add balsamic and simmer for 1 min, until vinegar has evaporated.
3. Combine spinach, pumpkin, walnuts and grapes on a large serving platter. Place cheese in same frying pan and melt on low heat. Pour over salad and serve immediately.
Jap pumpkin has a moist flesh that, when baked, caramelizes beautifully. Don’t hesitate to experiment with your favourite variety of pumpkin if you prefer.
try this ….
Spinach filled pumpkins
Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. Halve and remove seeds from 2 small golden nugget pumpkins. Place in shallow baking dish. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan on medium. Cook 1 chopped onion and 2 chopped garlic cloves for 5 mins, until soft. Trim, wash and shred 1 bunch silverbeet. Add to onion and cook for 5 mins, until wilted. Add ½ cup of cream and season well. Spoon into pumpkin and top with grated parmesan cheese. Bake for 40mins, until pumpkin is tender.
Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICSTags: pumpkin, recipe, salads, vegetables
Posted under cook