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Naked seed and snow

November 18, 2010


It started snowing last night, I guess there is no putting winter off now.  Just yesterday I started processing the Naked Seed pumpkins, and I thought I would update the harvest estimate.  The day I brought these in from the garden was our last sunny day.  Sigh.  Our winters of late have been pretty mild really.  Snow in November was the norm when I was a kid.


I had just eyeballed the pumpkins through the vines and thought I had about 25 -30 fruits.  Once the vines had died back I realized I was way off with my estimate.  I ended up with 53 pumpkins.  All much larger than the first one I wrote about a few weeks ago.  More seeds :)


This time I decided to cut a lid in the top, Jack-O–Lantern style, so I wouldn’t damage any seeds by cutting the pumpkin in half.


I just scooped them out with my hand, but a large spoon would work fine.  The seeds have a bitter film that needs to be rinsed off before drying.  I just picked the seeds from the pulp and rinsed in a colander with several warm water rinses.  Pat dry, and transfer to tray or dish for drying.


This 12 pound pumpkin still only yielded a little more than a cup of seeds.  But they are delicious.


The easiest way to dry these seeds is in the warming oven of the cookstove.  I leave the door open and just check frequently so the seeds don’t stick to each other.  These could be potential seed for the garden so I don’t want to cook them, I want to dry them as if it was warm summer day.  The warming oven supplies that place.   Just air drying works too, just make sure they don’t mold.  After the seeds are dry, I transfer them to a jar and refrigerate or freeze.  This is not necessary for short term storage.


And staying close to the cookstove is a popular pastime these days for the dogs.  You never know when a pumpkin seed might fall.

So are the oil seed pumpkins worth growing?  If you have the space they probably are.  Similar to sunflower seeds and much easier to get to the harvest stage with the seeds intact, I think they are a worthwhile crop to supply some vitamin rich oil seeds to the diet.  In sheer numbers, this variety supplied more fruit per vine than my Sweet Meat squash, but for eating I much prefer the Sweet Meat.  While the hull-less seeds are convenient if I was pinched for space and had to choose between the two, I would only grow Sweet Meat for the pantry.  The Naked Seed pumpkins are C. pepos and won’t keep long, requiring processing within a short time.  Whereas the Sweet Meat keep well until late spring and can be processed as needed.  As for livestock feed, these pumpkins are a good feed, but basically I will have the flesh of 53 pumpkins to deal with within a short time frame.  Chickens and hogs would be my first way to utilize the pumpkin flesh since they can just peck away at them and not choke, cows and sheep would be next but would require some chopping on my part.  Or lacking any stock to eat these, you could use them for feed for the garden.  Another possibility is for market gardeners too, as a novelty item.  All in all, I like growing them and especially like eating them.  So they get to stay for now!

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. Sheila Z permalink
    November 18, 2010 12:30 pm

    How many plants were there? I doubt I’d have the space to grow enough to make it worthwhile.

    • November 18, 2010 4:42 pm

      Sheila, I planted 12 hills of 3 on 4′ centers with 4′ feet between rows, which was really crowding, usually I plant these rambling type squash with 8′ spacing between rows. I didn’t have the extra space this year. You might look for variety that is more bush in nature, I don’t know if there are any but it’s worth a look.

  2. November 18, 2010 1:38 pm

    Ugh! (Not about the seeds, but the snow). You stuff ALWAYS heads over to the rocky mountains and lands on us. We are frozen dry right now and the corn is ever so close 14.9% . We hope to start Monday.

    Maybe the system will just go across instead of dipping down.

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com/

    • November 18, 2010 4:38 pm

      Linda, I hope it holds off ’til you get that corn in! It’s supposed to snow again tonight so there is more headed your way. Fingers crossed!

  3. November 18, 2010 1:55 pm

    Thanks for the update. I just got my seed pack in the mail from Turtle Tree. I wish the yield was a little higher, but oh well. I wonder what variety the “pepitas” seeds that you see in the store come from?

    • November 18, 2010 4:36 pm

      VGC, these are grown commercially and I suppose there is a machine designed to hull regular pumpkin seeds similar to sunflower seed production. It’s one of those things that takes a lot of land to support. When you see a bulk bin in the store that is always magically replenished, it’s pretty sobering to grow your own anything and have an ample supply.

  4. November 18, 2010 3:35 pm

    HA, glad you could join us…..now if I could send you some wind you could REALLY experience winter ;)

  5. November 18, 2010 4:47 pm

    My cookstove only has a warming shelf, not oven. Any suggestions on how to go about using it for the purpose of drying seeds to save?

  6. November 19, 2010 8:58 pm

    We are having our first snow tonight. Having grown in near Los Angeles, to me it is exciting. But driving in it is a whole different matter.

  7. November 20, 2010 3:42 pm

    I’m convinced. They’re now on the list!

  8. Pat Brim-Williams permalink
    December 2, 2010 3:35 pm

    Just referred to your site by Nancy Johnson from Goldendale. Grew up in Idaho and retired from Seattle 6 months ago to Goldendale. Remember the winter of ’49 when my Dad and Grandpa drove 500 head of cattle through to Twin Falls livestock commission company. You are right, we used to have some incredible winters.
    Very interested in building a cougar-pro0f chicken pen with wing for heritage turkeys next spring. Lots of critters out here; the worst we had before in Des Moines out of Seattle were raccoons, but out here we have coyotes, raccoons, bear, etc. We have a fence for the garden of carbon fiber but know it will take sturdier fencing to protect animals and buried chicken wire under pen. Thanks

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