November 24, 2009

This year's pumpkin and squash lineup

My squash and pumpkin pile is growing significantly smaller and soon the rest will get stored out of sight to make room for Christmas decorations. (I'm itching to start playing Christmas music and making gingerbread!) Inspired by this post on the blog Popcorn Homestead, I took a quick shot of the varieties I grew this year to post my thoughts on each.

Long Island Cheese, I fell in love with this variety during the years I lived without enough space to grow pumpkins. A farm stand down the road sold them and I loved their flavor and deep orange-colored flesh. It performed moderately well this year but I only got one really big one. Musque de Provence, I bought this variety because I liked the look of the deep ribs, very Cinderella's carriage I thought. Though they didn't ripen to the tan color expected (probably due to my late start) they produced quite a few exceptionally large pumpkins. It was easily the most prolific pumpkin in the garden this year, pound for pound. When I first picked them after frost killed the plants, the flesh was pale and not terribly flavorful. However, after a few weeks of curing the flesh is now a gorgeous color (the top photo is a cut Musque de Provence) and very tasty. A batch of roasted puree from one of these monsters is waiting in the fridge for Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. I'll be planting these again and I can see them replacing the Long Island Cheese in my garden.
Marina di Chioggia, these didn't do well. I only was able to harvest two usable pumpkins and I thought the flesh seemed overly starchy. Plus, mine didn't get the interesting bubbled look.
Bliss, the "frog skin" description coerced me into trying this pumpkin. It produced lots of small fruit but many of them were not mature inside. They did make attractive decorations stacked on top of each other. The less sweet flavor of the flesh has me struggling to find a recipe to make with them that my whole family will like. This Quick Asian-Spiced Kabocha (Winter Squash) from One Frugal Foodie is a recipe I plan on trying.
Waltham Butternut Squash, with all the pumpkin seeds I purchased I hadn't planned on growing squash as well, but my husband surprised me with a heirloom seed collection that included this butternut squash. Well I'm very glad I planted it, the plants produced a ton of squash! A few were large but many of them are the perfect size just for a single meal.

*With my substantial harvest, I've gone through many recipes for soup, muffins, roasted, and bread with squash and pumpkins. Of those I've tried so far this year these two are my favorites:

Pumpkin Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls, I made these with maple frosting and soy milk and margarine in place of the milk and butter.

Paula Deen's Pumpkin Bars, A Paula Dean recipe without a pound of butter! These bars are very moist and plenty sweet and rich enough without the frosting. I topped mine with a little powdered sugar instead. I liked them best with two of the eggs swapped out for flaxseed meal and I bet they would be good made vegan with all flax.

**For next year I'd like to add these to my garden:

American Tondo, I saw these at the farmer's market and love the look of them.

Table Gold Acorn Squash, I grew these many years ago and liked them cooked young like patty pan squash as well as mature. I missed having acorn squash to serve stuffed this year.