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Pumpkins & Squash

Fruit & Veg

Name:

Pumpkins & Squash

Variety:

 Fact Sheet

Family

Fruits

Availability:

Autumn

Character:

The terms pumpkin and squash are often used interchangeably. Pumpkin generally describes winter squash which are hard skinned, hard fleshed mature fruit. By contrast summer squash are soft skinned and include marrow, courgette (or zucchini) and scallopini.

BUTTERCUP SQUASH:
They have dark rich green hard skin with speckles and stripes and a round flat shape. Generally 15 - 20 cm in diameter and about 1.5kg, they have a fine textured orange to dark yellow flesh with a slightly sweet flavour. Immature buttercups will have a paler flesh. The skin is softer than other pumpkin or squash types and hence they have a shorter shelf life.

BUTTERNUT:
They have a creamy beige skin and have an elongated cylindrical shape. They have orange flesh and a sweet flavour. Flavour varies with variety, growing conditions and season.

CROWN or GREY:
They have a hard blue / grey skin, with a rich orange flesh. Crown pumpkins are generally 30 cm in diameter, 10 cm deep, and about 4 kg.
 

SPAGHETTI SQUASH:
Pale yellow skin about 20 - 30 cm long with a light yellow flesh. Either bake whole or cut into quarters and steam. Once cooked, spaghetti squash can be scooped out and incorporated into recipes and used like pasta. Spaghetti squash have limited availability.

KUMI KUMI:
Kumi kumi are stocky in shape with heavy ribbing. Immature kumi kumi are about the size of a tennis ball, have a nutty flavour, a speckled green soft skin with white-green flesh and are used like courgettes. Mature kumi kumi have a speckled green hard skin, are about the size of a netball, have a deep white flesh and are used like buttercup squash.

HALLOWEEN:
These pumpkins are bright orange skinned which is very hard and knobby. The flesh is very dense and is deep orange in colour. The most common variety is Red Warren.

MINI SQUASH or YUMPKINS:
These are small and can have green, yellow or orange skins. There are many varieties of small squash which are increasing in popularity. Each has slightly different characteristics and flavour. Varieties include sun drop, orange minikin, red hub, sunset squash, sweet mischief, and white acorn. Mini squash have also become popular for decorative purposes coated with polyurethane, they will last a long time in an arrangement.

Use:

Traditionally roasted, pumpkins can also be used in soups, flans, pies, be baked and stuffed, and made into moist cakes and breads.

Quality Points:

Choose firm pumpkins and squash that have undamaged skin and feel heavy for their size. It is important to select pumpkin and squash which are mature. A mature pumpkin or squash will be shiny or slightly slippery to feel, whilst an immature one will be slightly sticky. Another indication is brown flecks (or corking) on the stem - the more flecks the more mature.

Storage:

Store in a cool, dark, dry place. Once cut, remove the seeds, wrap in plastic film and refrigerate.

Preparation:

Pumpkin and squash are interchangeable and can be used in the same recipes. Some varieties have very tough skins which are difficult to cut. Often it is easier to cook the pumpkin with the skin on and then remove the flesh, this is easy in the microwave. If they are whole pierce the skin well before you cook them, otherwise they'll explode. Alternatively, roughly chop and boil or microwave the pieces until tender

Cooking Method:

Baked, steamed, sauteed, steamed or mashed, they make a delicious side vegetable and are particularly enhanced by nutmeg. Cooked and cooled they are also good in a salad

History:

Thought to have originated in South America, pumpkins have been enjoyed for centuries.

Nutrition:

Some vitamin C, potassium and fibre are also supplied in useful amounts. Pumpkin is surprisingly low in calories, containing less than vegetables of similar texture like kumara, parsnip and potatoes.

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