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Harvest Home: Pumpkins! August 28, 2009

Posted by ourfriendben in chickens, gardening, homesteading, recipes, wit and wisdom.
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Our friend Ben was thrilled to see that this year’s compost squash vine has actually borne a monster crop of adorable orange pumpkins. Readers with far better memories than our friend Ben’s may recall that last year, an enormous mystery squash vine sprouted from one of our compost bins and turned out to produce an absolute boatload of beautiful Butternut squash. So when another huge squash vine materialized this year from the same bin, I stupidly assumed it was another Butternut.

Wrong! This morning I saw that the leaves had become mottled with tiny yellow dots, even though the plant was still blooming. Concerned, I went over to inspect the giant vine, only to see, nestled in the high grass that’s grown up around it as we skirted it with the mower, at least eight perfect orange pumpkins! Each pumpkin is about six inches tall and wide, and they are beautiful!

Every year, Silence Dogood and I try to assemble a colorful display of red, orange, yellow, pinkish-beige, and white pumpkins for the festive season that runs from Hallowe’en through Thanksgiving. We think of this season as Harvest Home, harking back to the old English harvest festivals. Silence makes beautiful piles of the pumpkins at each side of our front door, supplementing them with blue, grey, and green Hubbard squash and an assortment of colorful gourds. Then she hangs multicolored corn on the door and we enjoy the display for several months.

Since we typically buy pumpkins from farmers’ markets and farm stands throughout the area—our veggie bed space is limited and pumpkin vines take a tremendous amount of space—I’m afraid I have no idea what variety this year’s mystery pumpkin could be. But they sure are cute!

I’m trying to goad Silence into using at least one to make her famous Curried Pumpkin Soup (search for it in our search bar, it’s one of my favorites), rather than using canned pumpkin. But she points out that canned pumpkin is really winter squash, and that its flavor and texture is superior to that of actual pumpkins, so I have a feeling we’ll be enjoying these as decorations and then feeding them to the chickens. For a recipe that really does use homegrown pumpkin, check out Kim’s recipe for Chilled Pumpkin Pie Soup on her blog, The Inadvertent Farmer (http://sweetgrace.typepad.com/the_inadvertent_farmer/).

Meanwhile, of course, our friend Ben is already speculating about whether next year will produce a third mystery squash vine from our compost bin. If it does, I wonder what it will be? Some red, white or yellow pumpkins would certainly be nice…



1. Joy - August 28, 2009

I can’t wait to read about the pumpkin adventures : )
You know I am a Halloween NUT so …. BRING on the pumpkins as soon as possible please ? LOL
I am also very interested in this pumpkin curry soup too .. I might even attempt it when I get hold of that recipe ? LOL
The most delightful season for me is beginning to unfold : )
BIG sigh of happy satisfaction !

I thought of you as soon as I saw those pumpkins, Joy! I’ll e-mail you the recipe. I think you’ll love it, and it will definitely put you in the Hallowe’en mood!

2. Daphne Gould - August 28, 2009

I hope you get at least one of the pumpkins to eat. I so love pumpkin pie made from real pumpkins. I love it from anything else too, but real pumpkins are so much more nostalgic.

Maybe we’ll try it, Daphne! Since they’re small they’d be easy to bake whole or halved. One of my favorite eat-out meals, on the few occasions I’ve been lucky enough to find it, is ravioli stuffed with pumpkin and served with a sage-brown butter sauce. I’ve never tried to make ravioli, but it might be worth giving it a shot! And I could always make pumpkin biscuits with the rest of the pumpkin. Frankly, I’m also curious about the pumpkin seeds. We love pepitos, but as I understand it, if you roast your own you have to shell them too unless you get a variety that has “naked” seeds. The thought of peeling off those tight-fitting hulls has never appealed to me, but maybe I’ll try roasting some of these and see what happens. If we can’t eat them, the chickens certainly can!

3. deb - August 28, 2009

I had a couple of pumpkin vines come up again this year. Last year they took over the garden. This year the squash bugs got them. Durn.

I remember those scary pumpkin vines you had last year, Deb! But maybe your CSA will have pumpkins come October. We’re so isolated here (horticulturally speaking, anyway) that we haven’t had problems with squash bugs, bean beetles, potato beetles, and other garden nasties. Not even (shudder) slugs! (We do get tomato hornworms, but the braconid wasps invariably get them and they don’t do much harm.)

4. inadvertentfarmer - August 29, 2009

Thanks for the link…I LOVE curry and I love soup AND of course I love pumpkins so I will have to take a peek at your recipe. I have so many little decorative pumpkins I think they are gonna take over…I wonder if you can eat the little ones? Don’t see why not I guess. Kim

Most welcome, Kim, your recipe looks delicious! I think you’ll love the curried pumpkin soup as well!

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