WHAT IS A CHEESE PUMPKIN?
Also known as a Cinderella pumpkin, the cheese pumpkin is a Long Island native and relative of butternut squash. It is also one of the tastiest pumpkins in the gourd family and unlike other gourds with their stringy texture, the flesh of this one is smooth. Named due to its similarity to a wheel of cheese, the heirloom was first invented in the late 1800s. With a thick skin that’s a nightmare to peel like most other pumpkins, it’s also a great winter storage food.
WHY ARE CHEESE PUMPKINS GOOD FOR YOU?
They are a great source of anti-oxidants, vitamin A, C and potassium. Dense in nutrients and low in calories, it’s also rich in lutein which can help with eyesight!
WHEN ARE CHEESE PUMPKINS IN SEASON?
This is a summer crop that prefers heat and bright sunlight. From seed it takes about 3 months before being ready for harvest, usually before the first winter frost.
HOW SHOULD CHEESE PUMPKINS BE STORED?
Pumpkins in general keep well when stored in a cool, dark and dry place. To maximize the shelf life this gourd needs to be harvested when it matures and the rind becomes hard enough to not dent when scratched. If you’re forced to harvest them too soon, you can continue ripening them by storing your pumpkin for a week at 80 F (27 C). Make sure to wipe down your gourd with a sterilizing solution to prevent rot, and store it dry on cardboard or wood (avoid a cement floor). They can keep for 3 months or more when properly stored.
WHAT IS THE PROPER WAY TO CUT A CHEESE PUMPKIN?
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WHICH RECIPES WORK BEST WITH CHEESE PUMPKINS?
While famous as an ingredient in pies, this squash relative is also great when roasted, steamed or pickled. Or check out this soup recipe!