Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Variety Show - Musquee de Provence

We started a series of Variety Show posts last Winter that featured some of the vegetables we like to grow on our farm.  These posts have received some positive feedback over time, so we thought we'd try to feature a variety about once every other week during the colder months.  It is possible we'll do a bit more during "seed catalog season" if we hear some positive comments that tell us you would like it.

This week, we'll feature our favorite pie pumpkin!  But, remember, a good pie pumpkin is just a Winter Squash.  You do NOT have to make a pie out it.  Musquee tastes just fine if you cook it up as a squash and eat it in whatever way you prefer to eat squash.

Musquee de Provence

This is a beautiful heirloom pumpkin/winter squash and we think it may be the best tasting pumpkin we've ever encountered. Very bright orange flesh is excellent for pies and freezing. They have a slightly spicy flavor - not overpowering, just pleasantly so.   Fruit are very dense and can weigh anywhere from eight to eighteen pounds, sometimes reaching 25 pounds.  Typically, these are harvested while the skin is a deep green with a hint of tan (like those you see above).  As they store, they will turn colors to more of the orangish tan coloring.  They do not need to change from the green color in order to be ready to process.

During a wet Fall, get them off the vine before the stem pulls off of the fruit (like 2008). If the stem pulls off, process the fruit immediately or you will lose it. Vines aren't as susceptible to squash bugs and vine borers as some pumpkins. But, the vines do wander quite a bit from their origin. You won't get too many fruit per vine, but what you get will be well worth your time.  This past season, we planted a 140 foot row of these plants, spaced a bit over 1 foot apart.  We were able to harvest 87 mature fruit from this planting.

Cooking Squash
The following works for any winter squash - from acorn squash to pumpkins. Acorn squash, being smaller, will take far less time to cook. Excess squash reheats readily and can easily be placed in a freezer bag and frozen.
  1. Carefully cut squash into halves or quarters
  2. Empty seed cavity of all seed and 'stringy' goo
  3. Place face down in cake pan
  4. Put 1/4 inch of water in bottom of pan
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F until a fork easily goes through entire squash (30 to 60 minutes depending on squash)
Cutting Squash
Many squash have extraordinarily hard skin. Use a large, sharp knife and use common sense when cutting open a squash. If you are unable to cut a squash in half, you may soften it by puncturing holes in the squash and using the microwave.
As easy as (pumpkin) pie!
Most winter squashes can be made into a pie. However, we can safely eliminate acorn and spaghetti squash from possible candidates. Varieties that are particularly good at being adapted to pies are Long Island Cheese, Amish Pie, Musquee de Provence, Australian Butter and Kikuza.
If you find a recipe calling for a can of pumpking just remember this:
1 can = 2 cups cooked pumpkin / winter squash.

Tammy's Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
  • 1 envelope Knox gelatine
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
Mix the above on low heat and stir in
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 egg yolks (save the whites)
  • 2 cups cooked pumpkin
Mix well. Cook, stirring occassionally until gelatin dissolves (approx 25 min). Chill until the filling can drop from the spoon.
Beat egg whites until stiff. Beat 1/4 cup sugar into egg whites.
Fold egg white mixture into pumpkin filling. Place into large baked pie shell.

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