Finally pumpkin time again! Autumn brings the bulging balls back to our menu. With a little pumpkin know-how, they taste twice as good!
Bishop’s hat, butternut, nutmeg, patisson, baby bear, Hokkaido, red & yellow hundredweight: regardless of whether the pumpkin is used for culinary or decorative purposes, there is the right variety for everyone. And especially in vegetarian and vegan cuisine, the pumpkin is used a lot today. It has a sweet, nutty taste and few calories – so it is ideal for a diet. As if that weren’t enough, it provides our body with important nutrients such as carotenoids, minerals, vitamins and fiber.
When is the pumpkin season?
The aromatic fruits are grown from the end of April to mid-May. Although the first pumpkins are harvested at the end of July or the beginning of August (in most cases, zucchini-like summer pumpkins), the real pumpkin season does not begin until the end of late summer. Then we can look forward to local pumpkins from regional outdoor cultivation.
The peak of the pumpkin season is in September and October. The last specimens should be harvested before the first frost, usually around mid-November. If stored carefully, they can be kept for a few more months. However, there are differences in the harvest time of the varieties. In August, for example, we get the relatively tasteless patisson/custard white. September is the blooming time of the aromatic fruits. The oval-round spaghetti squash and the ribbed nutmeg squash are in season here. But the best known is probably the orange-red Hokkaido pumpkin with its nutty taste that does not have to be peeled. From mid-September, we can enjoy the yellowish pear pumpkin. It has a lot of pulp and delights with its delicate butter aroma.
How do I know if the pumpkin is ripe?
In addition to an intense fruit color (easy to recognize in orange-red varieties such as Hokkaido), the pumpkin should have a lignified and dry stem. If you cannot scratch the peel with your fingernail, this is another indication of the ripeness of the fruit. The knock test should produce a hollow sound (does not apply to all types). If these conditions are met, the pumpkin can be harvested. If there is no damage, it can still ripen and be stored longer.
What is the best way to store the pumpkin?
Unfortunately, the pumpkin season is only three months long. It would be useful to store a few copies. For this it would make sense to let the pumpkin ripen for another three weeks at 20 degrees in a bright place and to turn it regularly. As a result, the stem dries up and the fruit is better protected against infections. In addition, the taste improves.
After these three weeks you can then store the pumpkin. If stored correctly, it can even be kept for up to six months! A dry, dark room with a room temperature of around 12 to 15 degrees is best. Lower temperatures make the pumpkin rot faster and at higher temperatures we have to compromise on taste. In addition, the humidity should not be too high. It is best to put the fruits in a net or a wooden box.
Further storage options
By freezing you can also take out smaller portions and you don’t have to process a whole pumpkin right away. The fruit can be kept in the freezer for four to six months. You can freeze raw pieces, but you can also freeze the pumpkin pureed to make soup later . Another option would be to boil down the autumn fruit. The pumpkin can be kept for several years in preserving jars. If you want it to go faster, you can just insert it, but you cannot store the pumpkin for that long.
The autumn months can be pretty gloomy at times. Good food can cheer us up quickly. How about, for example, a pumpkin tarte flambée with feta and walnuts?
PUMPKIN TARTE FLAMBÉE: INGREDIENTS FOR A TRAY (4 PEOPLE)
250 g wheat flour
150 ml of lukewarm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry yeast
250-300 g Hokkaido pumpkin (half a small pumpkin)
100 g crème fraîche
30 g chopped walnuts
75-100 g feta
1 sprig of rosemary
1 tbsp olive oil
Mix the flour and dry yeast in a mixing bowl.
Gradually add salt and lukewarm water and knead the mixture to form a dough.
Cover the bowl with the kneaded dough with a dry tea towel and let rise for an hour so that the volume doubles.
Preheat the oven to 225 degrees top / bottom heat.
Halve the pumpkin, remove the seeds from one half and cut half into wedges (approx. 3-5 mm wide).
Pluck the rosemary needles from a branch and mix with a tablespoon of olive oil in a glass.
After the hour, roll out the yeast dough on a floured work surface until it is approx. 28 to 30 cm wide and 36 cm long.
Place the dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
The sour cream spread on the rolled dough and add to taste salt and pepper.
Also distribute the pumpkin wedges on the tarte flambée batter.
Bake the pumpkin tarte flambée for 18 minutes.
In the meantime, roughly chop the walnuts and crumble the feta.
Take the tarte flambée out of the oven and spread the pickled rosemary needles as well as the chopped walnuts and the crumbled feta on top.
Finally, also dribble the remaining oil from the pickled rosemary needles onto the tarte flambée – and you’re done!
We also wrote about some interesting recipes, make sure you take a look!