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Jim Hunter
master gardener







Seminole Pumpkin Recipes (Curvita Maschata)
  Are you having trouble growing vegetables in our hot Florida summers?  The Seminole Pumpkin is an answer to the gardener’s woes.  This could be the easiest vegetable you’ll ever grow.

The Seminole Pumpkin is a native plant of south Florida.  It was cultivated by Florida Indians and early European settlers.  Almost lost in modern time, the Seminole Pumpkin is making a great comeback as an easy summer season vegetable.

The fruit resembles a winter/acorn squash, but much larger.  The shape of the fruit varies, mostly oval or oblong.  The color ranges from variegated greens, yellow to a dull orange.  This thick skinned fruit can be stored at room temperature for months.  The pumpkins are generally 6 – 10 inches in diameter and weigh as much as 8 – 12 pounds.

The Seminole Pumpkin is a dream come true for the organic gardener.  Can you believe a plant with no insect problems.  References say gummy stem blight, a disease, can occur, but it hasn’t been experienced by this grower.  Plant your seeds in a large area so the vines can run on the ground or climb on a fence or trellises.  Seeds are generally planted ½ to one inch deep, with hills 5 – 6 feet apart.  Little fertilizer is needed for the Seminole Pumpkin. Fertilize at the time of planting and about six weeks afterward.  Over fertilizing will make the plant produce a lot of leaves with little or no fruit.  Cross-pollination is common so planting should not be within a half mile of other cucurbits (squash, pumpkins and gourds).  Seminole Pumpkins can be planted almost any time of year except the dead of winter.  Spring or summer is the best time to plant.  The harvest is ready in about 95 days, but the vines will produce until the first frost.

The fruit is sweeter than other cucurbits, yellow or orange in color and not stringy.  It can be baked, steamed, boiled, fried or sun-dried as the Florida Indian did.  Our native pumpkin makes great pies and bread.

The Seminole Pumpkin is a hardy plant that can take both drought and wet conditions.  Plant some seeds soon and enjoy this wonderful vegetable.

  seminole pumpkin    
  Seminole Pumpkin Puree    
  Cut pumpkin in half. Remove string and seeds. Place face down in microwave and cook on high 3 to 4 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then scoop by spoon and puree in blender or food processor until smooth. Can be stored in refrigerator for two-three weeks or can be frozen.    


  Cooking Fresh Seminole Pumpkins      

To cook fresh Seminole Pumpkin, heat the oven to 350° F.  Split the Seminole Pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and stringy pulp.  Place Seminole Pumpkin halves, cut side down on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake for about one hour or until very tender when pierced with a fork.   Spoon the soft pulp out of the shell and use it in the recipe.

There will be a lot of fluid in the bottom of the pan, use this to add flavor to your soup or save it to add to stock another day.

  Savory Seminole Pumpkin Soup      

16 oz Seminole Pumpkin
1 large can chicken stock
2 TB butter
1 large onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
8 oz mushrooms (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped)
2 celery stalks (chopped)
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

1-cup sour cream
4 slices bacon fried and broken into bits

In a skillet, sauté onions, garlic, celery and mushrooms in butter.  Add to a large soup pot; add chicken broth, Seminole Pumpkin, carrots, bay leaf, salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil then simmer uncovered for fifteen to twenty minutes.

Blend with a hand blender until smooth.

Ladle into soup bowls.

Top with a dollop of sour cream and bacon bits and serve.

  Seminole Pumpkin Pie      

1 – 1 ½ cup puree Seminole Pumpkin                ½ round t nutmeg
1 cup brown sugar                                          ½ round t cinnamon
2/3 cup milk (I use canned milk)                     ¼ round t cloves
3 eggs                                                            1 ½ t vanilla extract

2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

Combine Seminole pumpkin and brown sugar in a bowl.  Add spices.  Gradually add milk, then eggs.  Mix thoroughly.  Pour filling into unbaked pie crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Pie will puff up and then will sink down as it cools.

  Seminole Pumpkin Bread    

1 cup Seminole Pumpkin puree                                   ½ cup white sugar
4 cup all purpose flour                                              1 cup water
4 t baking powder                                                    1 qt vegetable oil
1 t baking soda                                                         white granulated sugar

Makes 48 servings

Mix flour, baking powder and soda together.  Gradually add Seminole Pumpkin, sugar and water to make a soft dough.  When it just hold together, knead several times.  Divide dough into 4-6 equal parts.  Knead each portion till it becomes a soft, smooth ball.  Roll out each portion ¼ inch thick.  Another method is to pinch off small pieces of dough and form into individual cakes 2-3 inches across.  In a large iron skillet, fry in very hot vegetable oil (about 1 inch in depth) until brown on one side.  Flip over and brown the other side.  The bread will puff up and get crispy and chewy.  Sprinkle with granulated sugar.      

  Pumpkin Bread    

3 ½ cups sifted flower                                         3 cups sugar
2 t baking soda                                                   1 cup oil
1 ½ t salt                                                           4 eggs
1 t cinnamon                                                       2/3 cup water
1 t nutmeg                                                          2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup chopped pecans

Makes 2 loafs

Sift dry ingredients into mixing bowl and mix. Make a well in dry ingredients. Add all remaining ingredients. Mix together till smooth. Batter will fill two 9”X5”X2” loaf pans. Grease pans lightly and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Cool slightly in pan. Turn onto rack and cool. Wrap in foil. Freeze if desired. Make 1 day before using.