Country pumpkin

October signifies that squash and gourds are now in full flow as the cooler winds start to bite and thoughts of winter menus become a warming reality.

Pumpkins and gourds are part of the squash family and believed to be some of the oldest known crops, dating back 10,000 years or more if we look at ancient Mexican history. Since squashes are gourds, they were most likely used as containers and utensils because of their hard shells when dried out.

Squashes come in many different shapes and colours including tan, orange, and blue. There are many kinds which are all part of the Cucurbitaceae family (genus Cucurbita). The terms pumpkin, winter squash, and summer squash have been applied to fruits of different species in this family, or as we know them summer and winter squashes.

Summer squash are thin-skinned and bruise easily like courgettes. They are more typically the smaller, sweeter and more tender plants. Summer squash are moister as they contain more water than winter squash and only last for about a week in the refrigerator before they begin to soften and wrinkle, due to their skin thickness.

Winter squash have hard, thick rinds and are much drier – think butternut squash. They are sometimes so hardy that you may find yourself needing a hammer as well as a knife to cut one in half. This thick skin allows longevity and you can keep winter squash fresh in cool, dark places for as long as three months.

The squash is very versatile, while some require cooking, others can be eaten in every conceivable way; raw, sautéed, grilled, steamed, boiled, broiled, baked, fried, microwaved or freeze-dried. Easily puréed for soups, cakes, pies and some quick breads, it can be spiced up and added to rice pilafs, cubed and grilled on skewers, added to stews and made into famous dishes like ratatouille and pumpkin pie.

Served alone or as a side dish, the diverse flavours of squash can lend themselves to any occasion or table. All squash and gourds are actually fruits and not vegetables. So in botanical terms they have their seeds inside, just like the tomato . They provide at least 20% of your recommended daily intake of magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, C and E (vitamin E is found in the seeds), whilst also being high in nutrients, antioxidants and beta-carotene.

Wellocks has sourced some great squash for you with their supplier ‘Holm Select’. Three generations of farming excellence have gone into providing perfect vegetables and fruit in both organic and non-organic form. The choice is superb and varied, beautifully formed squash that would look good on any menu, in any restaurant.

Holm Select Squash Selection

Squash: Casperita Squash, Delicata Squash, Buffy Ball Squash, Gem Squash, Patisson Strie Squash, Blue Ballet Squash, Table Star Festival Squash, Onion Squash, Green Kabocha Squash, Crown Prince Squash, Spaghetti Squash, Lyric Squash Harlequin Squash, Turks Turban Aladdin Squash, Stripetti Squash, Sunburst Squash.

Pumpkins: Sweet Lightning Pumpkin, Munchkin Pumpkin, Wee Be Little Pumpkin.

Mixed cases are available.

Did you know?

  • The Irish took the tradition of pumpkin carving to America. The tradition originally started with the carving of turnips. When the Irish emigrated to the U.S., they found pumpkins a plenty and they were much easier to carve.
  • Pumpkins are 90 percent water, but contain potassium and Vitamin A.
  • The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed just over 517 kilos.
  • Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.
  • A pumpkin is actually a squash, technically it’s a member of the Cucurbita family which includes squashes and cucumbers, which means they are classified as fruit too.
  • Early American colonists sliced off pumpkin tips, removed the seeds and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey, it was then baked in hot ashes and is the origin of pumpkin pie.
  • The name pumpkin originated from ‘pepon’ – the Greek word for ‘large melon’.
  • There are more than 50 different kinds of pumpkins.
  • The largest pumpkin pie was baked by the New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers in New Bremen, Ohio, on October 8, 2005. It weighed 2,020 pounds. The ingredients included 900 pounds of pumpkin, 155 dozen eggs, and 300 pounds of sugar!
  • Pumpkins are able to grow on all continents except for Antarctica.

November 2013