Cucurbita moschata is the species for the butternut squash and the pumpkins for processing. Cucurbita pepo is the species for the summer squash and the field pumpkins. Cucurbita maxima is home of the buttercup squash and the giant pumpkins.
A pumpkin exists in many colors like, for example, many shades of orange, green, red or white. They can weigh between 2 and 100 lbs and with special care, go over 1000 lbs.
Why did Donna and I grow pumpkins? It’s for the sport, because we got free transplants this year, and because we have a place to put them.
Because the seeds germinated early (not our fault!), we began to harvest pumpkins at the end of July. We now havested 5 field pumpkins and numbers 6, 7 and 8 are on their way. As seen on the picture – pumpkin #6, the vine has a lot of room to grow around in our area reserved for our black raspberry plants. The picture shows only one vine. On the left end of the vine, the squash vine borers were happy this summer but the plant survived by growing shallow roots along the length of the vine.
Psst! Don’t look for raspberry plants, they will be back next year.
A “field pumpkin” has less flesh with more water content and is less sweet than a “pie pumpkin”. Yes, you can a make a pie with a Jack-O-Lantern; you just need to thicken the pulp by simmering and by using more sugar. You can can a pumpkin, too. This is how to do it according to University Illinois extension. http://urbanext.illinois.edu/veggies/pumpkin.cfm
Pumpkin must be processed in a pressure canner. Wash pumpkin remove seeds, cut into large pieces and peel. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Add to a saucepan of boiling water, boil 2 minutes. Caution: Do not mash or puree for canning. Pack hot cubes into hot jars, leaving 1-inch head space. Fill jars to 1-inch from the top with boiling hot cooking liquid. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids and process.
Process in a Dial Gauge Pressure Canner at 11 pounds pressure or in a Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner at 10 pounds pressure. Pints — 55 minutes and quarts 90 minutes.
And what about the soup?
It was easy to do. I used a small pumpkin – thanks squash vine borers- that gave me about 5 cups of flesh.
I added a carrot and a potato, and cooked it all in a Dutch oven with 1 cup of water for 10 minutes. I then added an onion, garlic and one can of chicken broth, and cooked it for another 5 minutes. An immersion blender transformed it into puree, after which I added seasoning and simmered a few minutes more. Voilà!