Archives for posts with tag: Pumpkin

Small pumpkin pies for the farm market at Kromsta tomorrow.

Made with hokkori pumpkin!

Freezing nights in spring are not abnormal, but the last few years we have gotten used to warmer weather. This year it’s back to normal with freezing nights in the beginning of June. We got a cold one last night, and I covered the newly planted cucurbits in the pumpkin patch and beds of sensitives in the other crop circles.  It didn’t quite freeze, but I’m not taking any chances. 


I’m leaving it on, because it’s supposed to get cold again tonight. 

  

We are home again at Timogarden after a fantastic three weeks in Japan. The weather here is warm, spring-like and the garden looks great. I’m really inspired to get into it again. Inspite of the jet lag, I’ve been weeding winter weeds and spreading compost.

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In Japan I got lots of seeds – mostly different kinds of pumpkins, but also sweet corn, turnips, black soybeans, red shiso, burdock and more.

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I found plenty of seeds but not the exact ones I wanted and not in large packages which would have been cheaper and more convenient. My skills in Japanese were just too meager. I’ll have to study more diligently the next few years until we go again. And I’m sure there will be a next time. Japan is just toooo nice not to.

We didn’t get everything done that we wanted to do on this trip – like get to an ecological farm or a miso factory (language skills not good enough and too little time), so there is still much to look forward to, and It will have to be for two months at least next time.

The pumpkin head latern from All Hallows Eve weekend has lighted the door step for the last three weeks.

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But it’s getting soft and mushy and seen it’s last night, so now it has moved to the compost where it can rot away in delight.

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All the pumpkins are planted out into this years pumpkin patch, except for some acorn squash that didn’t germinate earlier, so I had to resow them. I’ve also started to put out the sweet corn around the edges. And a few sunflowers are scattered here and there.

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Everything is standing quite perky, because the weather has been cooperating better this year. I’ve also started a new labeling system. Long laths that stick up about 80 cm. so that they will remain above the sea of leaves when the pumpkins get growing. The birds and animals won’t be able to pick and toss them around either.

It has been very windy and dry weather the last few weeks. I try to avoid it, but I’ve had to water almost every evening. Now it has rained 9 millimeters anyway, so I’ve taken a break from painting the house, tilled the pumpkin patch and started to plant out the various pumpkins, squashes and maize.

Many vegetables have a slightly longer growing season than these northern climes allow. We start the plants indoors, some as early as the last week of April and others as late as mid May and take outside when weather permits.

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When the risk of frost is over, we plant them out in a new tilled field.

Here is our procedure for kabotcha, Japanese pumpkins:
First we dig holes starting from the center of the crop circle spiraling outwards. We space them about one meter from each other and dig about one spade deep and wide. We put a spadefull of compost or old manure in each hole, fill with water, cover with dirt, claw out a hole and put a pumpkin plant in. A little more water is good, as well as packing with some more dirt to keep the plant from blowing around too much in the wind, which is a constant problem around here.

If you have only a few plants, putting them directly on the compost works great.

It’s the time of year for starting out the curbits. Various kinds of pumpkin, squash, sunflowers and many other flowers need to be started out earlier than the weather and short growing season of this part of Sweden permit. The seeds are sown in flats that can be kept indoors and can thus get going a few weeks ahead of time for later planting out after frost risk is over in the beginning of june.

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Two flats of hokkari kabocha a Japanese pumpkin, also known as the hokkaido pumpkin.

It has an exceptionally delicious flavor with a thick orange meat – my favorite. Even tho it’s a hybrid variety, I have to have it, and so do my Japanese customers. I get the seeds directly from Japan by way of Japanese friends who go back and forth often. Next year we are planning on going ourselves.

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We spent another Saturday morning at Fyris Market in Uppsala. I’m quite surprised at what sells. This time it was miso (a 2 year rice miso) along with japanese hokkari pumpkins in conjunction with an explanation on how to make pumpkin miso soup. Sauerkraut went well too.

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Uchiki kuri pumpkins

I’ve never been able to understand the difference between pumpkins and winter squash. Whatever they are, these are excellent for storage and cooking. They are also called red kuri and are considered a baby hubbard with a sweet nutty flavor.

These, along with the rest of the pumpkins, are mainly stored in the cool food storage room in the basement.

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Others are stored with the rest of the stuff where ever there is extra space in the house. Here they make a colorful addition to the ‘interior design’ and are available to the kitchen.

We use uchiki kuri pumpkins in many ways. The easiest is baking. Just cut into slices, brush with oil and bake until soft (the skin is delicious too). They also make great sauces, pure’e, casseroles, soups and pumpkin pie. Deep frying cubes in a japanese tempura batter is my favorite. These cooking ideas go for all the different kinds of pumpkins we grow.

The most frequent favorite is pumpkin miso soup.

Ingredients:
– pumpkin
– onion
– roasted sesame oil (or other oil)
– water
– miso

Do it:
– clean pumpkin and cut off skin
– cut into cubes
– cut onion into slices
– warm oil in soup pot
– saute’ onions first
– add cubes and saute’ slightly
– add water
– boil until cubes soft
– take off burner
– add miso

Serve with chopped greens like parsley and sourdough bread.

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I like it thick and creamy.