Friday, April 23, 2010

Pumpkin Season

We had our first frost last week, which hit our pumpkin vine pretty hard - although it has sprouted new leaves near one of the less ripe pumpkins, so I've decided to leave that one on the vine, in the hope that it will continue to ripen for a little while longer.

I have read over at the Pumpkin Nook that pumpkins can be ripened off the vine by placing them in warm sunshine for a period of days, or even weeks. But as with tomatoes (and just about any other fruit you could mention), it seems logical that ripening on the plant will give by far the best result.

This year's pumpkin vine is a Queensland Blue that sprang out of the old compost heap. The vine only produced 4 mature pumpkins, but from an investment of 1 little pumpkin seed, and no water except what fell from the sky, I'm delighted with the outcome. Here I am with my first pumpkin of the season (the label "Pumpkin Bumpkin" springs to mind) ...

Given that each pumpkin is about the size of a slightly deflated basketball, they can do a remarkably good job of hiding. I knew there was a fourth pumpkin in there somewhere, but it took me a while to find it ...

The flavour and texture of this pumpkin was lovely, but it wasn't as sweet as it might have been. I guess that's my punishment for allowing it to be so severely overgrown and shaded from the sun during its ripening phase.

This pumpkin weighed in at just over 4kg. A few hundred grams of it went into making some fresh pumpkin gnocchi (yum!). The next half-kilo or so will go into a pumpkin pie (because I have a special talent for turning perfectly wholesome vegetables into sweet and heavenly comfort food).

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