Seminole Pumpkin

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.

seminole pumpkin 1A 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!

seminole pumpkin 2

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!

seminole pumpkin 4To bake for pies:

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.

seminole pumpkin 3I 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!

seminole pumpkin 5This 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).

seminole pumpkin seeds

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! :)


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8 thoughts on “Seminole Pumpkin

  1. Janice

    I love your article. I bought a whole Seminole Pumpkin at my local South Seminole Farm & Nursery. I left it too long and it started to rot, but when I cut it open I found seeds starting to sprout. I planted one in my small zero-lot line yard and the vine took off. It has climbed my Key Lime and rose bushes and is now coming up on my deck. It has the most beautiful yellow flowers. All summer the fruit kept rotting when it would get to the size of a golf ball and I thought about ripping it out. But now, August, I have found and harvested three pumpkins. I need a bigger yard too!

    1. oystersandpearls Post author

      Hi Janice! I’m so glad you’ve had success, but I’m surprised your pumpkin began to rot! If kept in a dry location, they should last at least a year without any cuts or bruises. I actually just baked one last night that was a year old. I planted 3 pumpkins back in May (not in my yard!), and just harvested 10 pumpkins with more on the way. :) I’m working on an update post, so stay tuned. Seminole pumpkins are the best!

  2. Pam

    I am amazed at just how prolific this squash/pumpkin is!!! I grow heirloom tomatoes and supply several local restaurants. (I am retired and needed something to keep busy) Well a fellow heirloom grower gave me two pots with 2-3 seeds sprouting in each pot. She said they were some kind of heirloom squash. I went home and planted them in a far corner of one of my tomato patches thinking it was a squash plant and it would fill in that far corner. Well…. after it got going, I realized it was a vine plant. When it had wandered its way through my tomato garden, into my pepper section and well on its way to about 50′ of vine…I knew I was in trouble. One of my neighbors said it looked like some magical garden. They grew over the fence and into our horse pasture. It was a runaway vine. I called my friend and asked if she could tell me specifically what the plant was. She then said Seminole squash. I was already harvesting the most magnificent squash blooms and taking them to my chefs. I advised them that come fall it appeared I would have an abundance of seminal squash.From the two plant hills, I probably harvested over 175 squash some as big as 5lb. I am an organic grower and had no problem with pests. True to my world, I supplied a few restaurants and they loved them. Several made soup and ran specials. I still have quite a stock pile and it is December. Truly… I will plant them again (yes I saved seeds) and will try to trellis them and keep them out of my tomato vineyard. I am know in my neck of the woods as the Tomato Lady but perhaps my new AKA will be Squash Lady!

    1. oystersandpearls Post author

      That’s amazing! I have had terrific luck with them as well. Out of two plants I have harvested more pumpkins/squash than I know what to do with! And from teeny tiny ones to 5 pounders, too! They are so much fun (and so easy) to grow. I’m glad to hear from you! I hope we both have such great luck with them again next year. :) Thank you so much for stopping by!!

  3. Leah Brooks

    I’ve been growing these for 3 years now and just love them! I plant in March in my Tower Garden and when they reach the ground they will root again in the ground. When they do that I cut them off from my Tower Garden. (I like to start in the Tower Garden because they need a lot of water when they first get going). Once established, they require no watering and no feeding. 80 ft. long plants yield 50-80 pumpkins!

    The above post who complained about the small pumpkins rotting — they are not getting pollinated. Try hand pollinating. Or let them grow directly on the ground and ants will help with pollination.
    Leah Brooks recently posted…Ready, Set, Grow: Gardening with ChildrenMy Profile


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