Pumpkins and Squash and Gourds, Oh My!

In Blog, Fall, Feature, Inspiration, Tonkadale Greenhouse, Vegetablesby Megan Nichols1 Comment

Pumpkin spice season wouldn’t even exist without the delicious, sweet cucurbits that grow throughout summer and are just hitting their prime right now. This produce is perfect for hearty soups and other dishes to warm your bones as the days take on a chill.

All our fall produce items come from local growers and farmers who deliver fresh produce every week for the first few weeks of fall. Using the edible produce for decoration before cooking is fine. Just don’t allow them to go through a frost as this will damage the skin and ruin the fruit for consumption.
Though there are several that are great for consumption, some are only nice to look at. Decorative or delicious, how do you know? Read on!

Triamble Squash
Just as the name implies, this squash is somewhat triangular. Although attractive and interesting, the shape and thick skin make peeling this cucurbit a challenge. If you’re up for the hard work the flavor is superb – rich and sweet. No shame in using this Australian heirloom for purely decorative purposes, though, as it’s bluish hue pairs well with all the colors of fall.

Sweet Dumpling Squash
These cute green and white one-pound squash have a deliciously sweet flavor and are perfect for one or two servings. Just roast and add butter. 

Winter Sweet Squash
This hybrid Kabocha (Japanese for squash) is very sweet when ripe, which doesn’t fully happen until true winter – think December, January even. Though it can be consumed right after picking in September or October, its flavor improves, becoming deeper and sweeter, if given a couple months to ripen further. The very cool charcoal coloring ups its game in the decorative department, too.    

Sunshine Squash
Another Kabocha (Japanese) squash, this one is deep orange in color. With thin flesh and excellent taste right from the vine, it’s perfect for baking, pies, or mashed.

Musquee De Provence
This gorgeous, dusky orange squash is an heirloom variety from France. A type known as a cheese pumpkin, not for its flavor, but because it resembles a big wheel of cheese, its deeply ribbed  and turns brownish or terra cotta colored when fully mature, making it quite the decorative statement. Its most loved for its flavor, though. Delicious enough to eat raw, its often roasted, grilled, or sautéed.

Jarrahdale Pumpkin
This Australian variety has beautiful grayish green skin and is excellent for decoration or cooking. Full of flavor and best in savory (rather than sweet) dishes, it’s perfect for enjoying any time of the year as it can keep for up to twelve months when stored in a cool place.

Kakai Pumpkin
This Japanese variety has the best roasting seeds of any pumpkin! No hulls, a nutty flavor, and filled with healthy oils, the seeds make a tasty snack that is hard to put down. Orange flesh with green and black speckles makes for seriously fun decorating, too.

Knucklehead Warted
This hybrid variety looks just how it sounds – super bumpy! It’s green and orange flesh add to the fun, making this a great decorative pumpkin. Carve a face into it and it’s even better. It’s edible, too! Mildy sweet and tender when cooked, it’s good for mashing, pies, and many other dishes.  

Casperita Pumpkin
This cute white pumpkin is still a mini, but is a little larger than most. Not only is it highly decorative and beautiful on its own or painted, it’s also great for a single serving size squash. Mild and sweet when baked, it is reminiscent of an acorn squash.

Moonshine Pumpkin
These large white pumpkins (8-12 pounds each!) are beautiful when carved and their smooth flesh is perfect for painting. Pair with a variety of other decorative pumpkins for a striking Fall look.

Red October Pumpkin
The deep orange flesh is highly ornamental, but this pumpkin is also a delicious edible. The flesh is sweet when baked and can be used in any dish calling for squash or pumpkin.

Sanchez Pumpkin
This cute, squat pumpkin is just 3-6 pounds, bright orange and warty, and just perfect for Fall and Halloween decorating.

Spookie Pie Pumpkin
This cross between Jack O’ Lantern and Sugar Pie was created in 1966 and is perfect for carving and in baking. The texture and sweet flavor make excellent pies.

Carnival Squash
Yellow, orange, and green in a striped and speckled pattern on the flesh make this variety a pretty decorative option, but it’s also delicious. A cross between acorn and sweet dumpling squash, it doesn’t need much to showcase its sweet, nutty flavor. Add salt, pepper, and butter, or brown sugar after roasting, just like you would an acorn squash.


Marina di Chioggia
This is one cool squash with an interesting history. Blue-green and warty-bumpy on every inch of its flesh, it’s also known for being incredibly delicious when made into pasta. It originates from an Italian fishing village called Chioggia where it is still grown and served today, as well as on the canals of Venice. Grill it, fill it with soup, roast it, make it into pasta, its superb savory and sweet flavor will not disappoint.

The purely decorative varieties are generally those that are small and may be multi-colored and bumpy, but can also be solid colored and smooth, too. Fun varieties include Daisy mix, Warted mix, Pattison Strie Melange, Goonies gourds, Jack Be Little and Baby Boo which are miniature orange and white pumpkins, and Blaze Pumpkin, which is highly ornamental with its bright orange and yellow flesh.   

Whether you wish to decorate, cook, or both, there is a wide variety of gorgeous gourds and pretty pumpkins to choose from.

Comments

  1. WOW! You’ve shared a wagon load of information! Impressive! I’m a fan of eating Carnival squash.

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