The 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
- Combine oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar and seasoning together.
- Drizzle over vegetables and roast at 200oC for 20-30 minutes.
- Serve warm, on a bed of rocket and sprinkle with fresh tarragon leaves.