This post related to both cooking and gardening – two of my favorite things!
Back a few months ago, my grandmother gave me a pumpkin she had grown. She has the most AMAZING green thumb – she can grow absolutely anything! I’m so thankful she shares so many things with me. She is my biggest resource when it comes to baking and gardening questions! Love you, Tezzie! :)
Anyway, it took me forever to get around to doing anything with the pumpkin since things have been so busy around here. I kept periodically knocking on it, and it kept on sounding hollow, so I knew it was still good and could wait a little longer.
A few days ago, I saw on Native Nursery’s Facebook Page a picture of this exact pumpkin! They called it a Seminole Pumpkin (aka cucurbita muschata), and I was instantly intrigued. I began researching, and the first page I ran across was this blog post on Eat The Weeds on Seminole Pumpkins. Apparently the pumpkin is a native variety and is super resistant to bugs and mildews. The Seminole Indians used to grow them on girdled trees in oak hammocks and the pumpkin vines would run up the trees! They would wait for pumpkins to drop down to the ground, or send young boys to climb up the trees to get them! I have been extremely interested in the Seminole “hanging pumpkins” ever since!
I already had plans to bake it for pies according to my other grandmother’s recipe. But apparently a ripe Seminole Pumpkin will keep at room temperature for up to a year!
Simply preheat your oven to 325 degrees, wash the pumpkin and slice it in half. Scrape out the strings and seeds from the center. Place it cut side down (or “shell” side up, as my grandmother’s recipe says) on a jelly roll pan or baking sheet. Bake at 325 for an hour, remove, and let it cool.
I let the baked pumpkin cool for a few hours, and it was still a little warm, so be sure to let it cool for plenty of time! I simply sliced it up, peeled it with a paring knife, put the flesh in a big bowl and mashed it with a spatula. It is really soft and this part (peeling and mashing) is really easy! You’ll need two cups of cooked pumpkin for a pie (recipe coming!), so I put mine in jars in two cup increments. This pumpkin gave me FIVE jars (two cups each)! And the cooked pumpkin is SO GOOD. It tastes like a sweeter butternut squash, with the texture of a pumpkin, and the flesh is a vivid orange. It’s so much better than regular pie pumpkin!
This pumpkin is going to make some gorgeous pies! I froze all the jars to save for pumpkin pies later on in the year, but I might have to make one just to blog about it closer to this post. We’ll see. I normally have a hard time getting motivated to make pumpkin pie until fall and Thanksgiving! AKA until Starbucks releases the PSL.
Side note on freezing the pumpkin: make sure not to screw the lids all the way down to prevent freezer explosions! Or just freeze in a plastic container instead. I just always have lots of mason jars on hand, so that’s what I usually use.
I saved all the seeds from this pumpkin (and composted the shell and goopy strings).
I’m going to try planting a couple – I’d love to have pumpkins all year round! I’ve read the vines are prolific… so this could get crazy. I’ve got to find somewhere in our yard to plant them. I think
we I might need a bigger yard.
Have you heard of Seminole Pumpkins? Have you grown them before? Any words to the wise? I’d love to hear from anyone with experience with them!
Update: I spoke with Tezzie, and for Northwest Florida/Southwest Georgia, she says to plant your Seminole Pumpkins now (May) and give them plenty of room to spread out. I’ve already got plans for a pumpkin patch! :)