The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star. -- Anthelme Brillat-Savarin --

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hmmm…what to do with a Kershaw pumpkin? - Part I - Pumpkin Puree

When I was growing up, both my father and grandfather did a lot of gardening.  One of the things they grew was something my Dad referred to as a pumpkin, and my Mom referred to as a Kershaw.  This is what they look like (although the ones my Dad grew were usually MUCH bigger than this)
My brother decided to plant a garden this year, and he thought it would be fun to plant some, for old-times sake.  Once we had them, we had to figure out what to do with them!  LOL!
I remember my Dad making a really delicious soup with them, but of course I don’t have his recipe.  I really don’t remember much else, except that we always grew a lot of them.  Since Dad always called them “pumpkins” (the only kind we ever grew)…I figured any recipe for pumpkins would probably work.
A little internet research informed me that all pumpkins are actually squash in disguise.  There doesn’t really seem to be much rhyme or reason as to why some are referred to as pumpkins and some as winter squash.  (These particular ones are apparently more commonly known as “Cushaws”, but not at our house!)  I’ve always been a squash fan…no wonder I’ve always liked pumpkins too!  Hee, hee…
I used to make a yummy pumpkin soup by taking a mini orange pumpkin, cutting a “lid” out of the top, scooping out the “guts” and seeds, then putting the “lid back on and roasting it.  Later I’d scoop out the cooked pumpkin flesh and put it a blender with heavy cream and spices.  YUM!
I figured something similar would work with these, so…
I cut the “pumpkins” in half lengthwise, scooped out the “guts” and seeds (taking care to save the seeds for later…I’ll discuss those in Part. 2), and placed them cut side down on a jelly roll pan.  I baked them in a 350°F oven for about 1-1/2 hours or until soft enough that they could be pierced easily with a fork.  (They kinda collapse a bit as they soften, so don’t worry if that happens…they’re supposed to!)
Once they are fully cooked and soft, scoop all the flesh out of the skins, and puree it in your food processor or blender.  (You can also use a hand masher if you want.)  You’re looking for a finished product about the consistency of mashed potatoes.
From this point you can use the puree the exact same way (and in the same amounts) you would use canned solid-pack pumpkin, but it tastes so much better you may never want go back to the can!    I'm told you can refrigerate the puree for up to a week before using or store in the freezer for several months.  (I divided mine up into 1/3 cup portions and froze them in a muffin pan, then once they were frozen transferred them to zipper freezer bags.)
My husband gave me a hard time because I kept “snitching” from the puree before I made the pies!  (This stuff is naturally sweeter than those orange pumpkins, and trust me, it’s REALLY hard to resist!)
Okay…I’ll close out this post, and continue the saga of the Kershaws in another post.  Catch me again for Part II!
Back in a bit… 

UPDATE:  For more good information on these "pumpkins", check out this post by Adam J. Holland over at The Unorthodox Epicure: Confessions of an Aspiring Food Snob, and spend some time looking around while you're there.  Lots of great recipes and fun info.  Be sure to tell him Faithy sent you!


  1. You really have to let these age to develop their flavor, they are bland and insipid at first, but after Christmas they get sweeter and by Easter are the best winter squash you've ever tasted!

  2. They are definitely better with age. :-) Thanks for the comment!

  3. These won't keep from June to Christmas ... Not in Texas, anyway. Excellent post, Faith. :-)

    1. Thanks! They'll keep in the freezer, or probably canned, but not on the counter or in the pantry in whole form.