Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Pumpkin Season - Have a Bite of This Cucurbita Pie!

Trader Joe had a big beautiful display of exotic pumpkins and another of the traditional bright orange babies.  The exotics entranced me due to their varied colors - a big bronze one, little baby white ones .. dark green ones (!)

Which inspired me to look up pumpkins.  A very good source is for your further perusal.  Until you can get around to it, here are some tidbits.

Types of pumpkins - the Cinderella, so named for Cinderella's coach.  It said to have a good flavor.

Baby Boo which are tiny whites to keep in a shaded spot else they will turn yellow in the sunlight.

The Amish "looks like an apple" and is a creamy yellow.

The Fairy Tale which goes from dark green to a mahogany finish.  This one originated in France and there is called "Musque de Provence." 

How the hell did an American pumpkin wind up in France?  Christopher Columbus is said to have brought the seeds in to Europe and in France, they were grown to feed the pigs.

The Latin for "pumpkin" is "cucurbita" but they are called "pepon" in Greek.  Originally, pumpkins more closely resembled long-necked squash.  Today, growers refer to squash, corn and beans growing together as the "Three Sisters" - something complicated about the bean in-ground chemicals nourish the squash which protects the corn stalks, all very confusing and in the end, good for them, but not very interesting to those without a garden. 

Good qualities for a pumpkin that will last longest for display purposes - a hard skin and "handles" (assuming this refers to a stout stem.)  

When letting little kids play with the small ones, wash them thoroughly because they will gnaw on them. 

A common Thanksgiving  illustration shows a woman in a black dress with a white apron proffering a pumpkin pie - crust and filling.

But this is not what was actually eaten all those long years ago.  The following was the featured dessert at the second Pilgrim's Thanksgiving:

PILGRIM PUMPKIN PIE  Get a medium-size, firm fleshed pumpkin and cut off the top and set it aside - it's going to be the pie lid.  Then scoop out the seed and strings and fill with a beaten together mixture of cream, honey, egg and spices (sounds like egg nog, no?)

Here's the hard part for most of us - bury the pumpkin in the ashes in the back of the kitchen fireplace and cook until the shell is tender.    The great barbecue artistes that live among us could probably duplicate fireplace ashes so all is not lost.  This year amaze your dinner guests - the presentation alone could be worth an admittance fee to the feast...hmmm...

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