Now Sowing: Pumpkins (April-July)

Pumpkin seeds in the catalog:opens a new window

Common Name: Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo)

Seed Saving Level: Advanced

Planting: Pumpkins are a type of squash, and the plants take up lots of space. Make sure you have enough room. Soak seeds for a few hours. Plant in direct sun, protected from wind. They don’t transplant well. Only water the roots, and try to avoid getting foliage wet.

Harvesting: Pumpkins are ready to harvest when skin hardens. Press your fingernail  through the flesh. If you have to work at it, the squash is ripe. If it’s very easy to pierce, it’s immature.  Skin should be full (nonglossy), firm and rich in color. Stem should be dry and firm.

Seed Saving: Leaves and stems are prickly when mature. Let the fruit mature until the skin cannot be dented with a fingernail. Keep indoors to mature for 3 weeks, then scoop out the pulp and seeds. Wash, separating the seeds from pulp, then dry the seeds on a labeled plate for a few weeks.

Sources: Seedswap (2013) by Josie Jeffery, Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners (2002) by Suzanne Ashworth, Almanac.com.

Books and ebooks:

Winter Squash & Pumpkins The Resilient Gardener Pumpkin The Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookbook



Links:

Pumpkin, SNAP-Ed Connection, U.S, Department of Agricultureopens a new window

All About Pumpkins, University of Arizona Cooperative Extensionopens a new window

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Wet Ingredients

1 cup pitted dates

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 1/2 cups cooked pumpkin puree

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup almond butter

2/3 cup grated peeled apple or applesauce

Dry Ingredients

1/2 cup brown teff flour

1/2 cup chickpea flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1/4 cup potato starch

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp baking powder

1tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground allspice

Instructions

These muffins, full of my favorite  warming spices, were a hit from the very beginning. The high-protein combination of flours used makes them a nutritious breakfast snack, and an extremely popular lunch box treat. Preheat oven to 350̊F and prepare mini-muffin tins with oil or paper muffin cups. Place dates in food processor and mince. Add remaining wet ingredients and process to combine. Place all dry ingredients in separate bowl, and whisk to combine. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix   briefly to combine. Immediately scoop batter by the tablespoonful into muffin tins. Distribute batter evenly. Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and set on rack to cool.

Source: Clean Start: Inspiring You to Eat Clean and Live Well (2010) by Terry Walters.