Monday, September 27, 2010

The bounty of gourds


By the time summer winds its way down into fall and the crisp breezes begin to overtake the stagnant heat I find myself craving everything pumpkin. Luckily for my wallet I don't pass a noteable coffee vendor on my way to work anymore or I'm sure I would be up to my eyeballs in lattes already.

Despite my adoration of the golden fleshed gourd, every single year I forget how to pick a pumpkin. I blame this on watermelon. Yes, watermelon.


I'm not entirely crazy - the word "pumpkin" is essentially a very mispronounced version of the original greek for "melon". (Have I mentioned my affinity for etymology?) Interestingly enough pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, musk- and watermelons are all in the same botanical genus classification Cucurbita aka cucurbits. So, while I have taken to "thumping" my pumpkins to see if they are ready, they are not watermelons...just related.

Small white pumpkins basket

A good pumpkin need not be uniform in shape, should have a good bit of stem left (otherwise they decay faster), and should be heavy for its size.

A good watermelon should be uniform in shape, heavy for its size, and if you "thump" the side it will sound hollow(ish).

Heavy they have in common - both pumpkins and watermelon are about 90% water. While both should be left to ripen on the vine a pumpkin will continue to change color an ripen once cut from a vine, a watermelon will not. Have I afflicted you with my strange watermelon/pumpkin selection crisis? I hope not.

Pumpkin Pile

Moving on...We took the darling girl to a farm festival this weekend. She wasn't so enthralled with the (literally) hundreds of tractors. Admittedly I thought I would be more impressed with the machinery but eh, a tractor is a tractor to some extent.

The barrel train kids ride barely got a cursory glace. The sheep dog herding demo was well received, though Eh thought it would be easier to get the sheep come to you if you stood on the sidelines and yelled "baaaaaaa!" loudly. The petting zoo was pee-in-the-pants worthy exciting and the pumpkins were a delight. I'm pretty sure she picked up, touched or sniffed at least 487 pumpkins/gourds (give or take). All in all a success.

Gourds Close

As we made our way home we stopped at an art fair a few blocks from our house so that I could pick up a piece of ceramic fruit. The art fair is held every year and I had been kicking myself for not picking up a piece last year, so we pulled over and popped in.

Ceramic Gourds

While Eh ran around torturing all the bored and cold artists with her incredible cuteness (we're humble here) Em wrangled her and I picked around through the veritable farmer's market of ceramic food goodness.

Interestingly enough with all those grounds hanging around we didn't buy pumpkins until Sunday, from a side of the road stand, on the way home for apple picking. We like to be contrary like that.

You'll get to see my ceramic (in)edibles when we get done the great office re-model soon but I'll simply say I didn't buy a pumpkin....and, sadly, there were no ceramic watermelons. 

Ceramic Stand

Have you bought pumpkin yet this autumn, or are you one of those still in the sweltering heat, begging for a watermelon?


Maria said...

I love pumpkins. My husband makes an amazing pumpkin soup that we only eat in the fall and can be made with almost any kind of pumpkin or squash. There is so much left over I'm eating pumpkin soup for the week Planning to post some pictures of the soup tomorrow.

Now that you mention the Greek word for melon you are totally right. My family is Greek and we do use "peponi" for a canteloupe or melon. Watermelon is "karpouzi." Nevertheless all are delicious (especially watermelon with feta cheese in the summers)!

LeAnna said...

This is exactly the fall post I needed to cool down a bit over here on the left coast. Thank you!!

CandaceAshley said...

These pumpkins are gorgeous! Can you say pumpkins and gorgeous all in one sentence? Well you make them gorgeous, and this really gets me motivated for fall! Thank you!

Tricia said...

Ha - depending on the context, and I think you are entirely safe here, I think you can say gorgeous and pumpkins in one sentence!

Glad you enjoyed!