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Pumpkins and squashes


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My terrace has a couple of lovely orange squashes and there are a few at the bottom of the garden , not the big pumpkiny ones, the smaller ones.

They look very appealing, but when are they ripe, svp? Will this hot weather have made any difference to their growth, weight etc. They seem heavy enough.
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We always leave squash and pumpkins on the vine until at least a substantial part of the foliage has died back. This ensures that the skin has toughened up and the fruits will store well.

Round here we have fields full of orange "footballs" up to around 2 weeks before Halloween.

If frost is predicted then harvest before the frost - it usually ruins the fruits.

As for this years crop - depends on how much water they have been able to take up. Less rain generally means smaller fruit.
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I think plants like pumpkins etc as a food are very over-rated.The best thing about them in my view is that they grow fast and stop weeds coming through. And they look pretty.
One year we had a lot of the big orange ones. Stored them in the barn and they started to rot, dripped all over. If you use them for soup the outside 'skin' is so tough you almost need a chainsaw to cut it.
As for courgettes - unless you're prepared to collect and use them every day you end up with piles of huge marrows. Only fit for the hens.

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I have never used the skins for exactly the reason you give.

Spaghetti Courge is a wonderful replacement for spaghetti. Make your bolognaise sauce. Cut the courge in half and scoop out the seeds. Fill with the sauce and bake in the oven. Fewer calories than spag bol and just as tasty and filling.

Courgette fritters - grate the courgette and sprinkle with salt. Leave in a colander to allow the water to drain out for an hour. Squeeze more water out of the grated mass and then mix in an egg, some flour and feta cheese. Make into patties and fry in oil. Serve with a chilli sauce. You can also add chillies to the courgette mix if you like more oomph.

Pumpkin makes wonderful filling for both sweet and savoury pies. But I agree that pumpkins do keep less well than things like butternut squash or spaghetti courge - we had our last one from last year only 4 weeks or so ago and it was still good.

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My favourite recipe for butternut squash (except for soups which they are brilliant in) is:

Peel and cut into roughly 2cm cubes. Put on a baking dish and drizzle (olive) oil over them. Put in an oven at 200C and bake until soft - turning every 10 minutes or so.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with broken up Feta cheese ( or similar brebis type) and then drizzle with pomegranate molasses - which despite the name is rather sour tasting. Serve hot.

Amazon can supply the pomegranate molasses if you cannot find it here (I can't).
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We never tried growing butternut, or spaghetti, though a neighbour gave me a butternut once and it was easier to cut up and cook. And I used to buy the sliced orange ones for soup.

I cooked courgettes often, usually just in ratatouille. Tried the fritters too.
Another recipe is courgette 'cake'.

Make a batter with 2 tbs flour and 2 eggs s&p. Add a finely chopped onion. Then grated courgettes, about a pound, squeeze the fluid out. Bake in loaf tins in a hot oven.
You can also add grated carrots or a few potatoes. But drain off water first.
I agree the cucurbits are a wonderful plant family. Include melons too, with which we didn't have much success. Watermelons did well.

I doubt they would thrive here in NE England, as they did in SW France.

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  • 2 months later...
A friend gave me a couple of plant-lets from her compost heap earlier this year...

After a few tense weeks (will they, won't they grow?) they spread across the garden like triffids.


We have 4 cats here... Do cats eat pumpkin?
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