Which Pumpkin?

Picture of chef and pumpkinsThe Goomeri Pumpkin Festival will again entertain thousands of festival-goers this coming weekend, and I’ll be there performing cooking demonstrations.

It’s critical that I select the right pumpkin for each recipe, because each species has its own unique qualities. Texture, flavour, colour and moisture content can vary considerably.

Below is a guide to the most popular pumpkin types:

Jarrahdale – has a hard grey skin, which should be peeled. The moist bright orange flesh is not suitable for baking and is best boiled, steamed or pureed.

Butternut – are an elongated pear shaped fruit (yes, pumpkins are fruit) with a creamy brown coloured skin. The dry flesh is sweet and nutty in flavour, which makes it ideal for soup; however it is versatile enough for most cooking methods.

Queensland Blue – looks a bit like Jarrahdale, but is generally a bit larger and has deeper grooves. It has a smooth texture when steamed and pureed, it’s great for using in desserts and scones.

Golden Nugget – are a smaller pumpkin with a bright orange skin. The flesh has quite a bland flavour. For this reason, they are often hollowed out and stuffed with ingredients such as feta and spinach, then baked.

Kent – also known as ‘Jap’ or ‘Kabocha’, they have a dark green skin covered with blond coloured freckles. They have a fluorescent yellow/orange flesh that is great for roasting because it is soft, dry and easy to cut into chunks. The skin is tender enough to be left on when roasted.

*varieties listed above typically available in Australia 

Roast mushroom and pumpkin salad

  •  500g jap pumpkin, 1cm thick slices
  • 200g chickpeas, canned
  • 200g flat mushrooms, 1cm thick slices
  • 1 red onion, 1cm thick slices
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh tarragon leaves
  • rocket leaves
  1. Combine oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar and seasoning together.
  2. Drizzle over vegetables and roast at 200oC for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Serve warm, on a bed of rocket and sprinkle with fresh tarragon leaves.
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