40 Year Old Woman is Buried Alive Beneath Gorgeous Fall Pumpkins

Winter Squash and Pumpkins

Yesterday afternoon 20 gorgeous, and very large pumpkins/winter squash arrived on my doorstep courtesy of my friend Uli. She had gone out of her way to purchase many of them from a local farmer to use as Halloween decor, and a few others were given to her for free. Knowing that they would only rot outside, she offered to pass them onto me so that I could use them for taste-testing, cooking, and preserving.

One doesn’t come into a windfall like this very often so while it is probably a little bit crazy, and may very well drive me nuts, I accepted the challenge enthusiastically. Very enthusiastically, in fact. Realistically, I know that I will not be able to deal with this volume of squash in quick order, so some of these will be going off to friends once I’ve had a chance to take photographs and Davin has had some time to draw them.

Winter Squash and Pumpkins

Some of the varieties I have identified so far:

  • ‘Galeuse d’ Eysines’ – The one that looks like it has peanut shells stuck to it. A French heirloom that is supposed to be super delicious.
  • ‘Musquee de Provence’ – aka ‘Fairytale’. The one that is brown(ish) and deeply lobed with a soft dust. Also supposed to be yummy and sweet.
  • ‘Porcelain Doll’ – a pink hybrid that is grown in support of breast cancer research.
  • Gray Hubbard – I don’t know which variety.
  • ‘Blue Hokkaido’
  • Crookneck – This one is mottled. I don’t know which variety it is.

Scale is difficult to read in these pictures, so I’ll offer some clues to give you a better idea of what you’re looking at. The pumpkins in the picture at the top of this page fill the trunk of a truck. The large warty orange pumpkin in the back is marked as extra large. It’s circumference measures 54 inches. Unfortunately, it is far too heavy to weigh on any of my kitchen scales.

Warty Pumpkin
I believe this giant, warty pumpkin is called ‘Goosebumps’ and is grown primarily as fancy fall decor. However, everything I have seen indicates that ‘Goosebumps’ is a much, much smaller variety, so I could be way off.

Just for kicks, I weighed a bunch of the smaller pumpkins and then estimated the total. I included all of the winter squash that is currently in my home, both those that I had harvested from my own garden and two larger types that I had recently purchased. The total comes to… wait for it…. 257 pounds! This does not include the xL warty guy, which I am guessing weighs far more than 50 pounds.

Folks, I have 300+ pounds of squash in my home!

300+ pounds of incredibly gorgeous squashes. Living works of art. I wish they could last forever. I have already set up a few displays in my kitchen of those that I will be using soon. I will be sad to see them go, but I am very much looking forward to cracking them open and getting a taste.

But, of course, while I will be experimenting with preserving some of the better keeping varieties intact, the rest will have to be used up soon. I have never dealt with this sort of volume before, and I do not have much freezer space, otherwise a lot of it would end up there. One can only make and eat so much pumpkin bread and soup. Some will be canned, either as pumpkin butter or pickle. Others will be grilled and baked in the oven. Perhaps I will try my hand at squash ravioli. Last night, while attempting to identify some of the varieties, I happened upon a recipe for baked squash stuffed with cream and mushrooms that sounds really good. Except to hear more from me this winter on my squash experiments. I already have an idea of which varieties I will like best but it will be fun to discover on my own.

The question I have for you is, what else is there? What would you do with a windfall of winter squash?

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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24 thoughts on “40 Year Old Woman is Buried Alive Beneath Gorgeous Fall Pumpkins

  1. Love your Pumpkins. Love the colors.
    I was at our farmers market a couple of months ago and bought a Awesome Peanut Pumpkin.

    The women told me, she got it in Virginia last year, and grew the seeds this year.
    I live in the mountains of California, and I have never seen a Peanut Pumpkin before, and it seems neither has anyone else here!

    I hate to open up the peanut pumpkin it is so beautiful, and the color is a soft smooth, not shinny lite orange color..
    I have it sitting on my dinning room table on a plate, inside a long oval cast iron ornate type of tray with handles.. Although I’m sure it was not used as a tray!..It has low sides etc.
    So far this peanut pumpkin is not rotting..it actually does not look real!
    Everyone that comes in my home asked what it is!

    Is there any way of preserving it from rotting?

    I have never cooked a real pumpkin before, and really hate to eat this one.
    If I do, I’ll let the seeds dry naturally, and try to plant them for next year..
    Do you think that is the way to dry pumpkin seeds to grow again?

    Thanks for sharing all your beautiful Pumpkins.

    • Some varieties keep better than others. They’ll last longer if you keep in a cool place that does not have high humidity… A cold cellar, garage, etc. as long as the place doesn’t freeze.

  2. That is a great windfall!

    (To weigh extra heavy garden produce I hold onto it and weigh myself on the bathroom scale, then subtract my own weight.)

    Have you made squash sauce for pasta? It’s one of my favourite winter comfort foods, especially topped with toasted chopped pecans, and sometimes grated goat’s milk mozzarella. (I started from a Martha Stewart recipe, but don’t really follow it that well any more: roast squash, garlic, put in food processor, whir up with broth, rice milk, etc. add ground white pepper, salt, to taste.)

    Butternut squash keeps reliably in my cool (but my no means a cold cellar) basement until spring. (In fact I still have two or three from last fall, though they will be drier & taste old, so I’ll hang them up for the chickens to peck at.) I make sure that the squash cure at warm temperatures upstairs for several weeks before storing them downstairs, perhaps that would be a way for you to save some squash for later without canning or freezing? (C. moschata works well this way, though I’ve found C. pepo only to last 8 to 12 weeks for peak flavour).

    Finally last year I started making Spicy Coconut Lemongrass Soup: http://myfolia.com/journals/124127-on-butternut-squash

    This year I have a total of 8 small butternut squash. I’ll be rationing them throughout the winter. It’s been four years since I’ve had to purchase squash at the store, so it’s a bit of an adjustment. Hopefully next year’s rotation will leave the squash somewhere not as subject to flooding (I had to replant three times this year!)

    • In the second image basket? There’s a Hubbard that doesn’t show in either shot. And another that I bought 2 weeks ago. We cooked some of the latter tonight and it was bland.

  3. what a wonderful collection, I would get frantic trying to use it all, and would consider using a chest freezer for procrastinating and storage purposes,

    my daugter saw a beautiful display on the front steps and yard of a neighbor’s house and wants me to leave them a note to donate them to us to eat , similar varieties to yours, when they want to change the decor

  4. Wow, they’re stunning. Lucky you. I’m going to try and grow some different varieties next year, and hopefully some that keep for quite a long time.

  5. Are you going to make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving? Looks like you have different kinds of pumpkins do they have different flavors? :-)!

  6. We ended up with 400lbs of squash and pumpkins this year, we’ve eaten all the squash and all is left are what feels like a million pumpkins. We grew mostly heirloom rouge vif d’etampes (cinderella) which are quite watery so I will be enthusiastically following others suggestions and recipes.

    What a neat opportunity to taste test!

    • Oh thank you for mentioning the Rouge vif d’etampes as I believe I have one of these! RE: taste testing: That’s what I thought as well. How often do you get the chance to try so many at once?

  7. What about giving some of those squash to friends and conducting a recipe contest? The recipients of the squash would submit pictures of the squash in its original condition, a picture of the finished dish, and the recipe they used. You be the judge. Or….readers of your blog could judge which recipe sounds the most delicious. Or. . .you could have everyone bring their completed dish, ready to eat, to a neighborhood party, or to a church potluck, and everyone could vote on their favorite. Whatever you decided to do, it would provide material for future articles.

  8. They are so beautiful!
    What would I do with 300 lbs of winter squash? Oh, I’d have to call a food pantry. No one in my family, me included, likes squash except in baked goods. I would cook and freeze what would fit in my small freezer, still leaving room for essentials like chicken and ice cubes! I have frozen pumpkin (Cinderella) and acorn squash (volunteers in my compost heap) already.
    Before that though, I would use them for Thanksgiving decor. Put them on the front porch for the neighbors to gawk at. Take lots of pictures.

  9. You are lucky to have access to these heirlooms. I have looked in my area since mid September to find any organically grown or just ANY at all! I found a Cinderella and paid $1.50 per# for it. Did you happen to save any of your heirloom seeds?

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