Kitchen Magnitude

| 11/13/2017 2:02:00 PM

Connie MooreAfter dealing with Cucurbita maxima back in 2010, I thought my days of "punkin-chunkin" were over. Alas, not so. St. Paris, Ohio’s, Prince Farm owner, Ron Prince, has an eye for the intriguing shapes and colors of heirloom pumpkins or as we in the chunkin business call them, “pretty impressive flying objects.” Each October Thursday, his trailer full of the magnificent orbs parked at the Enon Market was just too good to resist.

We chose a 15-pound ‘One Too Many’ pumpkin and a 13-pound ‘Peanut’ pumpkin. Both are actually squashes, as are all pumpkins. Our two are of heirloom heritage so that means a standard fruit that produces the same each year with a deeper, richer flavor than hybrid varieties.

The ‘One Too Many’ is called that because it looks like a giant blood-shot eye. Well, very ripe ones do. They can be a base skin color of white to cream to creamy orange with squiggly red veins or reddish to orange pink veins covering the entire globe. Between 20 and 25 pounds, they are grown as a novelty pumpkin for fall decorations. They are said to be good keepers, often lasting three to six months in a cool, dry place.

Our favorite was the ‘Peanut’ or "peanut-shell" pumpkin. Salmon-pink skin is covered with "sugar" bumps, which are actually excess sugar from the fruit that bleeds out onto the skin and dries to form brown peanut shell shapes. The flesh is a deep orange, solid, sweet meat that cooks up into a wonderful, pumpkiny-butternut squash flavor. It is said to be a 220-year-old heirloom squash with the French name Galeux d’Eysine. They can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to three months.


It does take some ingenuity to crack open larger pumpkins and squash. Passing up suggestions of hatchet, chainsaw, sledge hammer. and chisel and electric knife, we opted for the easy, safe way recommended by The Big Apple Farm in Wrentham, Massachusetts.

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