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Monthly Archives: October 2009

home kitchen garden winter squash

I photographed my neck pumpkin next to 2/3 of the butternut squash that grew this year in my home kitchen garden (we’ve consumed a third of the butternut squash). The neck pumpkin in this photo weighs 20 pounds. The combined weight of the butternut squash in the photo is 22 pounds.

I love to grow butternut squash in my home kitchen garden. Winter squash has a rich, sweet flavor, and it’s filling. What’s more, a typical single fruit can easily feed a family of four… maybe even for two meals.

Since moving to rural Pennsylvania 14 years ago, I’ve eyed these butternut squash-like fruits that are omnipresent at farmers’ markets, farm stands, and road-side kiosks. These fruits look like butternut squash that took steroids that had taken steroids. While the fruits have fascinated me, I’ve dismissed them as impractical because of their sizes. How could I possibly use a squash of that size before it started to rot?

Neck Pumpkin Fascination

During a Twitter exchange the other night, I shared that I’d heard neck pumpkins are great for pumpkin pie. My Twitter friends weren’t familiar with neck pumpkins, and I realized that I had little to offer… so I did some research.

Neck pumpkins, it seems, are kind of a central Pennsylvania phenomenon. In fact, Cornell University’s web site acknowledges that some people call neck pumpkins Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck Squash. I’ve photographed neck pumpkins in local gardens, and there’s clearly no trick to growing these squash goliaths: they grow as readily as butternut squash. I imagine they haven’t taken the world by storm mostly because of the crazy size of their fruits.

In any case, after researching neck pumpkins, I decided it’s time I get some first-hand experience with one of these bad boys.

The Neck Pumpkin Wow-Factor

At the farmers’ market, there were many piles of neck pumpkins from which to choose. Vendors were asking about $2.25 for the small ones, and up to $3.75 for the large ones. Actually, one vendor had neck pumpkins marked at 79 cents a pound which is a crazy price to ask when shoppers can get a 15 pound pumpkin for $2.25 from the vendor directly across the walkway.

To help put the neck pumpkin’s size in perspective: that’s me holding the pumpkin. I’m 6’1” tall. Another point of comparison: our local grocery store is advertising a sale price for winter squash of 79 cents per pound. I’d have paid $15.80 at the grocery store sale price. Their normal price is $1.49 per pound, making this $29 worth of winter squash. I paid $3.50 at the farmers’ market.

I chose a large neck pumpkin, but not an extraordinary one. On my way to the car, I stopped to buy apples and pears from a different vendor. The man who served me commented, “Making pie?” That seems to be the main purpose of neck pumpkins: to become pumpkin pie. Many times in the past month I’ve heard people comment about what great pies you can make using neck pumpkins.

So, I’m going to make pies. I estimate that I can make 12 to 16 pies from my neck pumpkin. No, I won’t make them all at once. Rather, I’ll make a few pies… and a pumpkin cheese cake. I might even serve neck pumpkin as a side dish for dinner once or twice. Maybe I’ll make a pot of pumpkin soup. Oh, and I’ve been hankering to make pumpkin ravioli.

With the ten pounds of neck pumpkin meat that remains after all that cooking, I’ll finally try out my pressure canner. It’ll be nice to have a few dozen jars of canned pumpkin so I’ll be able to make more pumpkin pies, pumpkin cake, pumpkin fritters, and a dozen loaves of pumpkin bread.

Oh, and I’m saving the seeds. Next year I’m growing neck pumpkins in my home kitchen garden.

I found a few other posts about neck pumpkins that you might find interesting. Please enjoy them:

  • Cooking Soup in a Pumpkin – Buy a neck pumpkin or two. My initial mistake was trying to use a jack-o-lantern type pumpkin (so much wasted effort!). I think we get about 4 c. of puree from one neck pumpkin. 2. Peel the neck pumpkins. Cut them into thick 1-2″ slices …

  • “Mistaken Identity” « Daily Encouragement – I prefer neck pumpkin because it is less watery than other more common types, has fewer seeds and very little stringy pulp. It is solid pumpkin until the very bottom (see photo below) so you really get your money’s worth. …

  • Brown Long Neck – Another heirloom: the Brown Long Neck pumpkin. This crook-neck pumpkin makes an excellent pumpkin bread or pie. The Brown Long Neck is the pumpkin used by our regional Amish for their markets’ baked goods. …

 

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The berry snacks in this promotional giveaway include apple chips, strawberries, cherries, and blueberries… they’re delicious, nutritious, and low-calorie.

Welcome to Your Home Kitchen Garden. This blog is the sister site of Your Small Kitchen Garden. Your Home Kitchen Garden is about growing food for your own table… regardless of the size of your yard or garden.

Your Home Kitchen Garden is participating in the same promotional giveaway as Your Small Kitchen Garden. We are giving away three cartons of freeze-dried fruit snacks. Each carton contains 12 individually-wrapped servings of berry snacks, and 12 servings of tropical snacks. These were packaged by Sensible Foods under a different label, but otherwise they match the Sensible Foods snacks that often retail for $1.79 per pack.

You might win a carton of 24 snack packets if you do any (or all) of the following:

1. Score one entry by leaving a comment in response to this post. Multiple comments from the same visitor/email address qualify as a single entry. If you also do #2 (below), the comment you leave for that qualifies you for item 1.

2. Score two entries by linking to this post from your own blog or web site. Of course, I’d be happy to see more links, but I’ll count only one link as qualifying for the two entries. (After you link, come back and leave a comment linking to your web page so I can verify the link… otherwise, I won’t know you did it. If you do link from your web site, the comment you leave here to tell me about it qualifies as entry #1 (above). If that’s confusing, don’t worry about it.)

3. Tweet a link to this post that includes my twitter name @cityslipper (so I can keep track). I’d appreciate multiple tweets, but only one will count as an entry.

4. Visit my other two participating blogs, Your Small Kitchen Garden and Food Dryer Home where you’ll find a similar post… each of which can earn up to four more entries: One entry for a comment, two entries for a link, and one entry for a tweet.

While multiple entries may increase your chances of winning a carton, you cannot win more than one carton per email address or visitor.

This promotional giveaway ends on Friday, November 6, 2009. My random number generator will select winners on Saturday, November 7 and I’ll post announcements on all three participating web sites.

 

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