|pumpkins on the vine|
A feral upstart from amidst the compost in the perennial food forest become one of the most giving and bounteous harvests of the year. A gift of serendipity that needed little care or consideration and yet still gave most effortlessly to our Autumn and Winter table. When growing pumpkin on purpose it is still a very easy task. In a well drained position with well turned soil incorporating a lot of organic composted material simply sow the seed to a depth 3 times the length of the seed itself. A plant spacing of 1m is a good guide and a good place to have them sprawling is from within a stand of corn. Our feral pumpkin had no special consideration other than a mulch of sugar cane and an occasion top dress of bunny poo as well as a good watering in the evening if the leaves appeared droopy during a hot day.
Generally a single plant will support up to 8-12 pumpkins.
Now it is time to be impressed with those swelling fruits and avail yourself of another crop little known or appreciated! Pumpkin leaves!
A moment of sheer joy it was when I found out that my hairy plate sized pumpkin leaves were not just nutritious, but entirely delicious and known in Zimbabwe as muboora. The only trick is to pick them bright green, young, tender and about the size of a bread and butter plate. Little preparation is required other than a good rinse to remove anything from the protective hairs.
I might even be so bold as to suggest we eat the male flowers once we have used them sexually and I will share a few of my favourite recipes for you to do so.
Tempura Squash FlowersIngredients
|Tempura squash flowers|
- 8 x squash (pumpkin or zucchini) flowers
- 200 g soft goat cheese
- 1/2 x lemon rind finely grated
- 5 x sage leaves finely shredded
- 2 pinches salt
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 1/4 cup pear cider
- 8 x sage flowers
- 1 pinch salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
In a bowl mash the goat cheese and mix in the shredded sage, lemon rind a pinch of salt
Gently place an 1/8th of the mixture into the inside of each of the zucchini flowers and gently press the flower into shape and place into the fridge to set.
Heat your oil so that a crumb of bread sizzles the instant it hits the oil.
Whisk the pear cider into the rice flour and season with the other pinch of salt. Retrieve the flowers from the fridge and one by one coat them with the batter and plunge into the hot oil. Allow to sizzle for a minute and flip over for even colour and remove using a slotted spoon to a plate covered with a paper towel to drain excess oil. Quickly dip each of the sage flowers into the batter and deep fry and drain.
Serve each zucchini flower with a sage flower and gently seasoned as a side or as a delicious entrée.
- 10 x pumpkin leaves, tender young no bigger than a entree plate
- 6 sprigs basil
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seed kernels, lightly toasted
- 2 pinches salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/3 cup olive oil, cold pressed
- 1 x lemon, juiced
- 1 clove garlic
I made a batch into pesto mini pasties with a wholemeal spelt sourdough pastry as an entree.
- 2 cups pumpkin chunks
- 4 x celery stalks
- 1 tspn vegetable stock powder
- 3 cloves garlic - finely diced
- 2 x onions, finely sliced
- 2 x bacon rashers, finely sliced
- 2 x chilli, mild green finely diced
- 2 tspn extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbls butter
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 2 cups pumpkin flesh, cubed and roasted for 20mins
- 1 cup pumpkin flesh, cubed
- 1 cup fennel, finely sliced
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 x pumpkin leaves, tender young no bigger than a entree plate, shredded
- 5 sprigs basil, finely shredded
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 pinch salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Process the pumpkin chunks and celery through a juicer and make the resulting juice up to 500ml with water and add the stock powder and stir.
Boil the cup each of pumpkin flesh and fennel in 1/2 cup water until tender and the stock reduced. Allow to cool and blend until smooth. Set aside.
Sweat the garlic, onion and chilli gently in the oil and butter with the bacon and gently cook out the bacon fat.
Add the rice and gently cook stirring until the rice becomes translucent.
Slowly introduce the juice stock and stir until completely absorbed, this should take 20 minutes to complete. Add the puree and allow that to be absorbed while stirring. Add the roasted pumpkin and allow the risotto to begin to slightly catch to the bottom of the pan.
Add the finely shredded greens and parmesan and stir off the heat, season and serve.
Garnish with shreds of parmesan and garden fresh herbs.
- 4 golden nugget pumpkin (one each serve)
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked to instructions
- 6 pumpkin leaves, finely shredded
- 4 baby fennel finely sliced
- 2 sprigs oregano
- 2 tspn vegetable stock powder
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 tbsp butter
Remove a neat cap from the top of each pumpkin and open them to the seed center reserving any tender flesh and the cap. Scoop out the seeds and seed baring pulp.
mix all other ingredients and fill each pumpkin cavity tightly.
place the cap back over the pumpkin and place them all in a deep dish with 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the pan.
Bake in a moderate oven for 40 minutes or until a skewer can pass easily through the center of the pumpkin.
Serve as a side
As a fruit that can be known as the largest in the world you can tell by its bright colour that it’s going to be going to be good for you. Not only is pumpkin loaded with vitamin A and antioxidant carotenoids, particularly alpha and beta-carotenes, it’s a good source of vitamins C, K, and E, and lots of minerals, including magnesium, potassium, and iron.
Vitamin B-6 5%
Antioxidants: carotenoids, particularly alpha and beta-carotenes
B-complex: Folates, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Pyridoxine, Riboflavin & Thiamin
Minerals: copper, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, selenium & zinc
Poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds: α, ß carotenes, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zea-xanthin. Carotenes convert into vitamin A inside the body.
Pumpkin LeavesNutrient RDI/100gm
Vitamin B-6 4%
B-complex: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate
Minerals: Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.
Amino-acids: Arginine, Cystine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Tyrosine & Valine
Pumpkin FlowersNutrient RDI/100gm
Vitamin B-6 3%
B-complex: Vitamin B6 & Folate
Minerals: Calcium, Phosphorus and Potassium, Iron, Magnesium and Copper.
Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas)Nutrient RDI/33gm
B-complex: Vitamin B6
Antioxidents: alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol, alpha-tocomonoenol, gamma-tocomonoenol, phenolic acids hydroxybenzoic, caffeic, coumaric, ferulic, sinapic, protocatechuic, vanillic, and syringic acid; and the lignans pinoresinol, medioresinol, and lariciresinol
Minerals: phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and copper..
Cultural SignificanceA pumpkin pie might very well be perfect Samhain fare and we have long been acquainted with the carving of squashes and gourds to celebrate harvest and bounty as harkens back to ancient Celtic tradition.
Traditionally, pumpkin was used for treating type 2 diabetes in Mexico where the traditional healers administered crude extract of the pumpkin fruit to the patients.
There is some evidence that diets high in pumpkin seeds showed lower risk of gastric, breast, lung and colorectal cancers as well as prostate cancer and benign tumours.
Use of pumpkin seed for treatment of tapeworms and other intestinal parasite date back many years and in China pumpkin seeds were used to be treat people with acute schistosomiasis, a severe parasitic disease that is transmitted through snails. Proteins and oil extracted from pumpkin seeds inhibit growth of wide range of bacteria, fungi and yeast.
Furthermore pumpkin seeds have positive influence in cases of depression, kidney stones, inflammatory disease and bacterial infection.
|pumpkin and fennel soup|
Tarot and divination practices may draw on the energies of the pumpkin placed nearby to reveal the unknown and will lend potency to the tools of reading
Pumpkin scented sachets would welcome warm energies into the home and drive away any harmful energies.
Pumpkins are linked to the mysterious, the unknown, the dark, and all kinds of magick.
Be open and aware of the resonance of a pumpkin. Adding a pumpkin drum to a drumming circle may create emotive and magickal effects, bringing to the circle a warming energy, revealing the unknown.