Crown Pumpkin

Crown Pumpkins, also called “grey pumpkin”, have a hard blue / grey skin, with a rich orange flesh.  They are generally 30cm in diameter, 10cm deep, and about 4 kg whole.  Pumpkin is a source of vitamin A & C, folate, potassium, nician and dietary fibre.

Storage: Store in a cool, dark, dry place.  Once cut, remove the seeds, wrap in plastic film and refrigerate.

General Use: Often it is easier to cook the pumpkin with the skin on and then remove the flesh.  When cooking whole pumpkin pierce the skin well before cooking.

Braised: Soften a chopped onion in olive oil, add cubed pumpkin, a couple of chopped fresh chillies, tin of tomatoes, corn kernels (fresh, frozen or tinned), a tablespoon or two of mild paprika and some thyme or oregano.  Simmer until almost cooked then stir in some cooked or canned lima or cannelli beans and season with sea salt and freshly-ground pepper.  You could add chopped peppers or potatoes to the mix if you liked.

Soup/Curry: A versatile dish that can be soup if you purée it or a curry if you leave it chunky, starts with softening a chopped onion, a couple of chopped garlic cloves and a teaspoon of black mustard seeds in a little oil.  Add a couple of crushed dried chillies, a teaspoon each of ground cumin and turmeric and half a teaspoon each of garam masala and sea salt.  Stir, then add a 400g tin of coconut milk and about 400g chopped pumpkin.  Simmer until the pumpkin is tender.  Add the juice of half a lemon to give a lift.  If you are making soup, purée it (you may want to add more water), otherwise serve as a curry with rice to soak up the liquid.

Roasting: Toss wedges or cubes in a little olive oil and bake at about 180°C for 20-30 minutes until soft - the smaller the pieces, the faster it cooks.  A mixed vegetable roast is great - add kumara, potato, beetroot, carrot, parsnip, or halved onions.

Cannelloni: Mash cooked pumpkin, place in a bowl with cottage cheese, basil or parsley, eggs and season with sea salt and pepper.  Carefully fill cannelloni tubes with pumpkin mixture and place into a large lightly greased ovenproof dish.  Pour over pesto style or italian seasoned tinned tomatoes and sprinkle with grated cheese.  Bake at 180°C for 35 minutes until the pasta is cooked and top golden.