Happy Home-Grown Pumpkins

Home-Grown Pumpkins Awakening To  A New Day These pumpkins were started by seed back in June in my potager. By fall, they are mature and ready for harvest, marking the symbolic end of the fall potager. It is much more economical and fun to grow your pumpkin varieties by seed. Save seeds from your favorite pumpkins, dry them, and store away till next year.

Experiment and grow a variety of pumpkins next year in your potager. There are specialized pumpkins for eating, decorating, carving, and especially miniature, as well as massive pumpkins that children love.

For all of you pumpkin fanatics, in 2004 Amy Goldman, author, and Victor Schrager, photographer, wrote this comprehensive "must buy" book, The Compleat Squash: A Passionate Grower's Guide to Pumpkins, Squashes, and Gourds. In the back of her book, Amy shares with her readers an incredible selection of squash-based recipes. One of my all-time favorite soups, is her Southwestern Winter Squash Chowder.

Southwestern Winter Squash Chowder Serves 8. Amy writes, "You'll never miss having clams in this thick, hearty, and pungent chowder. To reduce the calorie count, use milk in place of half-and-half and eliminate the cheese." I say, if you're making this soup once or twice a fall season, "go for the works."

2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 3 cups coarsely chopped onions 1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped 1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped 2 tablespoons seeded and minced jalapeno pepper 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional) 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth 3 cups peeled, seeded, and diced squash, cut into medium dice 2 cups peeled and diced potatoes, cut into medium dice 3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels 1 1/2 cups half-and-half 2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese 1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander, for garnish Croutons

Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium high heat. Add the onions and peppers and saute until the onions are transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, salt, and red pepper flakes and stir until blended. Stir in the broth, squash, and potatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the potatoes and squash are tender, about 20 minutes.

Add the corn, half-and-half, and cheddar cheese to the chowder and stir them in; cook for a few minutes until the cheese has melted. Adjust the seasonings to taste, garnish, and serve with croutons.


Do you grow your own pumpkins? Please share your favorite type of pumpkin? Please comment on your favorite pumpkin/squash recipe.