A Gaggle of Gourds
Autumn is here. The leaves on the trees are starting to change colors – gorgeous shades of red, bright orange and yellow. Mövenpick ice cream stands have been replaced by Brezel König (large, soft, salted pretzels). And the little green huts selling heissi Marroni (roasted chestnuts) are soon to be showing up all over town. At the markets, plums, apples, pears and all sorts of root vegetables have taken center stage. And the most exciting displays of all are the pumpkins and gourds in all sizes, shapes and colors.
I love all types of winter squash. As many different varieties as there are, and fun names to go with them, there are just as many ways to cook and bake with them. Amazing how each one can have such a different flavor and texture. Grab a Blue Hungarian, a Turk’s Turban or a Baby Boo, or try a Red Hokkaido, a Jack Be Little, or a Muscat de Provence. Decorate your home or garden, or pile them up on your table. Just don’t forget to bring them into the kitchen… and experiment.
You can probably imagine my excitement when I learned about a farm with 150 pumpkin varieties – 15 different types of Butternut squash alone! My friends Jack and Silvia of Laughing Lemon (that’s them below)- and experts on the subject, invited me to join them. This time last year I had taken their “Cooking with Pumpkin” class, and here was their source for all those amazing looking legumes. To the Baur family farm we went in Berg am Irchel, about 40 minutes north of Zürich, through wine country, past endless green fields with tons of grazing cows and sheep.
Unfortunately, we missed the harvest the weekend before when the Baurs were out in the farm collecting all these beauties. It reminds me of going to Young’s Farm or especially Martin Viette in Long Island, New York with my sister when we were kids, picking our own pumpkins (the largest and most perfect, that neither of us could lift of course) and going for hay rides too. But those pumpkins weren’t quite for eating, as much as carving and painting. Here we gazed at the neat rows of squash laid out on straw or in the crates piled up, with a different motive. Instead of Halloween,… we were thinking dinner!
At the end of the day, I went home with a colorful (and heavy) selection of 19 pumpkins – and trust me, it wasn’t easy to narrow it down to only that. It sure seemed like a lot, until compared with Jack and Silvia’s whopping 63 pumpkins ! I wonder if they can name all of them ! Even though I love the look of each and every one I chose below, it’s time to get cooking ! I’ll be checking my notes from last year’s pumpkin class for ideas, but please don’t hesitate to share yours here too. Thanks !
What is your favorite type of pumpkin ? And how do you cook or bake with it ?
Ursula & Moritz Baur
8415 Berg am Irchel
* Bergener Kürbistage – 14th Annual Pumpkin Days !
Saturday October 2 and Sunday October 3
starting at 11am – pumpkins for sale, music, activities for children, wine tastings and more