These tropical squashes/pumpkins are like gold to us. They begin on the vine as variegated green-striped orbs and later ripen to a beige and cream exterior. This is the inside flesh of one we picked just last week, a small one. I'm not good at guessing weight, but I'd say it was in the range of 6 or 7 lbs, maybe more.
The flesh is golden light orange and thick at this stage. These pumpkins can be hardened off by leaving them on the back porch out of the rain for a couple weeks and then can be brought inside and kept in a dry, cool area for months. I think one year we harvested in October and ate our last one around June of the next year. Over time, the inside flesh thins out and is a bit stringy, but still very easy to work with and delicious. At this early stage of harvest, though, it's prime.
What I'm happiest about this year was not the harvest itself...there are probably more on the vines to pick, and we had an exceptionally wet year this year. We were late in starting the ONE plant that produced these (it doesn't take a village with these...one single plant can take over an entire lot!). But this is truly a survivor plant and was grown from seeds harvested last year, and that year's harvested from the year before. This is a third generation plant from the same seed stock, hooray!! It's SO MUCH fun seeing the vigor repeat itself in a plant truly suited for this climate. We REALLY believe in trial and error and sticking with plants that thrive in our own climate conditions. This has not proven itself to be a bad philosophy so far :-D Here are the seeds for next year's plants...and then some.
But sometimes the simplest way is the most appealing, and that's the case tonight. Calabaza, sea salt, butter. Delicious! Here's to years more of simple, satisfying food right from the vine...