Naked seed and snow
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 :)
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.
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.
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!