JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pumpkins to grow and eat

These are the results of Sarah Raven's pumpkin trial, conducted this summer in the terrible conditions we had for squash. It was published in the Telegraph a few Saturdays ago - irritating, because who buys their seed now? But if I don't blog the results, the paper will float about the house for months, and I won't be able to find it when I need it. This post is all about striking a blow for tidiness.

I've grown some of these pumpkins, and completely agree with Sarah's findings, which is why I'm keen to keep hold of all this information for the moment when it's actually needed. And because not all of you may have a husband who is addicted to the Telegraph. The looks/longevity is for the florist in you; taste for your inner cook.

Crown of Thorns
Ornamental; stringy
Looks/longevity: 7/10
Taste: 2/10

Crown Prince
The blue one. Good taste; excellent storer. Seeds "horrid"
Looks/longevity: 10/10
Taste: 9/10

Giant Pink Banana
Huge. Good for soup. Flavour ok (not outstanding). Seeds "like cardboard"
Looks/longevity: 6/10
Taste: 7/10

Good producer. Watery/bland. Only good for lanterns
Looks/longevity: 6/10
Taste: 0/10

Zucca de Marmellata
Size varies wildly. Used in Italy for jams and chutneys. Seeds ok. Favourite of whole trial
Looks/longevity: 8/10
Taste: 9/10

Chestnutty flavour. Lovely tiny seeds. Ideal climbing plant over willow teepees
Looks/longevity: 10/10
Taste: 8/10

Potiron Tristar Triamble
Heavily rippled blue-green skin. Biggest producer. Not much flavour. Seeds good but tough
Looks/longevity: 10/10
Taste: 8/10

Queensland Blue
Similar to Crown Prince. Good producer, excellent storer. Seeds ok
Looks/longevity: 10/10
Taste: 9/10

Red Kuri
aka Uchikiri, aka red onion squash. Lovely sweet taste; skin soft enough to eat. In the top three
Looks/longevity: 9/10
Taste: 10/10

Rouge Vif d'Etampes
Huge, beautiful, poor producer. Sweet taste. Seeds okay
Looks/longevity: 10/10
Eating: 9/10

Creamy green skin, creamy coloured flesh which is bright green at the seeds. Light cropping. Delicious, nutty flavour. Large tasty seeds. Will grow again
Looks/longevity: 8/10
Taste: 8/10

Sweet Dumpling
V dense dry flesh. Parsnip-like flavour. Good producer. Tiny tasty seeds. Good in small garden, can be trained up fence/trellis
Looks/longevity: 8/10
Taste: 7/10

Turk's Turban
Beautiful, ornamental only as stringy/watery/bland. Large tough tasty seeds. Only grow for ornament
Looks/longevity: 9/10
Taste: 2/10

As I typed out these findings, I realised that the marks are not entirely consistent with the remarks - but this information is a good starting point for seed-buying decisions in the spring. I've grown three of these, and regularly eat two more, and agree with every word. Now I'm looking forward to growing Queensland Blue and Zucca de Marmellata. Any comments from any of you who have grown some of these? Or further recommendations?

Related posts

Pumpkin in chilli oil
Butternut squash with parsley and mint softly spiced with cinnamon, a really good addition to a vegetarian dinner
Stuffed butternut squash - this is one of my most-visited posts, and a good cheap supper dish
Roast squash bites with pumpkin seed pesto - fabulous finger food, full of goodness
Pumpkin risotto


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TopVeg said...

What an exciting list of pumpkins - I have linked to it so that I can remember too!
Have you any tips for roasting the seeds?

Cabbage Tree Farm said...

Hi Joanna
I grew the pink banana last season, they were enormous, fun for a once off but I found them a bit unwieldy to deal with (plus not very tasty) so wouldn't bother growing them again.
This year I'm just sticking with Crown pumpkins as they keep very well.