When the days get shorter and the cold slowly stretches out its icy claws, healthy, flavorful and delicious pumpkins come back into season.
There are approximately 850 varieties of pumpkins. Their tastes, colors, textures and shapes can all be very different. From the smallest decorative gourds of 50 g to the 500 g heavyweights, pumpkins come in all sorts of sizes.
Originally the pumpkin was from South America and is one of the oldest cultivated plants. Today you can find these berries (pumpkins technically berries and are closely related to cucumbers and melons) all around the world.
Although not all of the hundreds of types of pumpkins are edible, they have many uses in the kitchen. Pumpkins can be:
filled and baked
Pumpkins go well with both meat and vegetables, spices, herbs and even sweets. The secret is that the pumpkin quickly takes the flavor of other ingredients and therefore practically goes with everything. There are also varieties that can be eaten raw.
The best-known varieties
Four of the most common types of pumpkins are:
Hokkaido pumpkins: classic soup pumpkins. This orange pumpkin has a slightly nutty flavor and does not have fibrous, firm flesh. It does not have to be peeled.
Muskat pumpkin: This pumpkin can also be enjoyed raw. It has a nutty flavor.
Butternut squash: The flesh of this pear-shaped pumpkin breaks down very easily, making it suitable for soups and cakes. It tastes sweet and slightly nutty.
Spaghetti squash: The name comes from the pulp. When cooked, it disintegrates into thin long fibers. This squash is pale yellow and comes from Japan.
Storage and quality characteristics
Pumpkins can be stored at 12 to 15 degrees Celsius for several months, if their quality is good. Use a tapping test to determine their quality. If the pumpkin sounds slightly hollow, it is ripe. This is a good sign. The shell and stem should feel hard to the touch. Always buy pumpkins with stems, otherwise bacteria can cause the fruit to rot. Carefully wrapped pumpkins keep around two days in the refrigerator. The pulp can also be frozen easily.
Recipe: Pumpkin Soup
ingredients for 4 portions:
6oo g pumpkin flesh
3/4 lt. beef broth
1/4 lt. cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/16 lt. Welschrießling wine
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
Styrian pumpkin seed oil
a little butter
Clean the pumpkin pulp and cut it into small cubes. Remove strings and seeds. Cut the onion into small cubes and slightly toast it in butter. Then add the pumpkin cubes and roast for a few minutes.
Dust everything with flour, stir well and then add the white wine. Add the beef soup stock and cream, then add salt and pepper to taste and let cook for about 30 minutes.
When the pumpkin is soft, press it through a sieve or puree with a hand blender. Heat the soup slowly, add nutmeg and simmer the soup until it is smooth.
In the meantime, roast the pumpkin seeds slowly in some butter.
Garnish the finished soup with the roasted pumpkin seeds and a few drops of pumpkin seed oil.