Pumpkins: For Eating, Carving And For Fancy

Oh Friends. I did it again. I went off the deep end with fresh produce.

Every year we visit a local farm to choose our Halloween pumpkins and some gourds. But this year our pumpkin farmer stepped it up. They raised the pumpkin farming bar, a whole lot. They had a pumpkin gallery, a museum of pumpkin varieties. Best. Idea. Ever.

(FYI- Our pumpkin farmer is Hutchinson Farm, they are also our strawberry, raspberry, tomato and hot pepper farmer, good people doing good work)

They grew nearly 3 dozen pumpkin varieties. Each variety had a sample pumpkin, a card with a picture and where the variety originated, what the pumpkin was best suited for and other historical tidbits. If if wasn’t for the hay, which I am allergic to, I would of moved right into that greenhouse.

Of course I had to have one of each. I did my best to restrain myself.

Here’s what we brought home.

pumpkins

 

For carving.

pumpkins and gourds

 

For decorating.

 

Australian pumpkins

For eating.

The long overgrown banana one is called Sibley and the round one is called an Australian Blue. By all accounts the best eating pumpkins going. They are both Australian varieties and being that harvest time doesn’t fall at Halloween in Australia they only grown pumpkins for eating. Seems like good sense to take their word for it.

Having read about trying to drive a knife into an Australian Blue pumpkin and it requiring much swearing and stitches I had the presence of mind to ask the farmer how I might best cook these solid as a rock but very delicious vegetables. I’ll tell you what she told me. Wash, throw on a baking sheet and bake at 350 until you can stick a knife the whole way through.

Then I let them cool. I learned that lesson with the caramel apples.

When cooled I sliced them in half, scooped out the seeds and pulled away the flesh from the skin. And then tasted them.  Good stuff.

Ken and I both liked the Sibley best. I mashed up the Australian Blue and made Martha’s pumpkin chocolate chip squares. With the Sibley- soup for dinner. Good, good soup.

Superb Pumpkin Soup

Heat a large sauce pan with a glug of olive oil. Add 2 medium onions, chopped. 2 carrots, chopped, 2 stalks of celery, chopped. Cook until veggies are soft (er). Add ginger, I had a lot in there because I love it.

Peel and coarsely chop 3 apples. If your vegetable peeler happens to be in the dishwasher and you have to peel the apples with your cheese slicer, use caution. Add chopped apples to the pan. Stir. Cook until apples are warmed.

Add your cooked pumpkin (there’s some applesauce in there with the pumpkin, I had a bit leftover that I threw in) Let’s say I had about 3 cups of cooked pumpkin. Add some cumin and cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste.

Then add 1 L (4 cups) of veggie stock. Cook until all vegetables are soft and the soup is boiling.

Blend. This gets a little messy. Best if you can let the soup cool before blending and best if you have an immersion blender, but a regular blender with do.

Reheat on the stove and enjoy.

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