Wednesday 24 September 2008

Naked Nuts

No, I'm not trying to be puerile (who, me?) but that's really the name I remembered for a variety of pumpkin I grew this year; the seed came from Chiltern Seeds and looking at their online catalogue this year they seem be calling them Pumpkin Nuts now. The variety is supposed to give hull less seeds, without the hard seed shell which makes roasting ordinary varieties almost pointless unless you really need fibre in your diet.

The plant is Cucurbita pepo var. styriaca and there are at least three other named varieties out there, Lady Godiva, Triple Treat and Kakai.


This seems to have a fairly typical appearance although an interesting article here shows some work being done for prettier results. This specimen is slightly immature and I think it would develop some yellow colouring when it's ripe. I picked it early as it had developed a crack at the base and I was worried it would rot in the field. After 3 weeks maturing I couldn't control my curiousity any longer and decided to open it up...


As I might have predicted the seeds were only just formed and not very plentiful. In appearance they looked as if they might have a tendency to forming a seed coat but at least at this stage they are very tender and easy to eat in their entirety. Something I'm not clear about is if cross pollination will affect the characteristics of seeds forming in curcubits. If so, I should grow these types in isolation to preserve the nakedness I'm looking for. Normally, unless saving a particular variety for seed this isn't something to worry about, so I haven't until now!

The pumpkin flesh is not as similar to a courgette as you might imagine looking at the picture of a ball shaped marrow but actually almost melon like. I was tempted by this to start processing it for crystallised sweetmeats but realised half way into the process that I didn't have enough time to finish them before going away on a trip so binned the lot which was bit wasteful of sugar but stopped the worry of failure in its tracks.

And the nuts?


I have to report that the seeds or 'nuts' are delicious. A subtle sweet flavour with notes of vanilla. I'm not sure how well they'll dry, particularly these immature ones, but they are very pleasant to eat. Worth growing again.

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