Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


Smashing Pumpkins

Oily Rag column by Frank and Muriel Newman for the week of 13 May 2013. 

Smashing Pumpkins
By Frank and Muriel Newman

Gardening off the smell of an oily rag should not just be about practical edibles like cabbage, cauli’s and carrots. For fun - giant fun - in the garden, why not try your hand at growing giant pumpkins!

After months of care and attention, tons and tons of manure shovelling, and anxious glances at the weather, giant pumpkin growers from around the country have been weighting in this year’s harvest to see who takes out the ‘Biggest in Show’ title. This year’s whopper was weighed in on the 7th of April at the Hamilton gardens festival. A giant grown by Tim Harris tipped the scales at 577 kg, smashing his last year’s winning entry of 290 kg.

Although the 577 kg pumpkin is a giant, it is still a lightweight compared to the 721 kg whopper grown a couple of years back by the Barton family from Parua Bay (Whangarei). According to the Guinness Book of Records, the world record for the heaviest pumpkin is 824 kg, grown by a Canadian couple from Ontario. That record was set in October 2011.

Every giant pumpkin grower seems to have their own secret to success that is as prized as the formula for Coke, but generally giant pumpkins like what most plants like: sunshine, water, cow manure, fish emulsion, seaweed, and the occasional hug.

All of this takes a bit of planning, so now is the time to learn a little more and get your site ready for a spring planting. To learn more, a good place to start is an everything-you-need-to-know website specifically about giant pumpkins, called www.giantpumkin.co.nz. Sam is the man behind the site, which is very well done and worth a visit, even just out of curiosity.

Sam does a great job at explaining what you need to get started – from what seeds to buy, where to buy them, to how to feed the pumpkins and so on. And he updates his site with news and photos from the many pumpkin growing competitions around the country.

What a great fun way, we thought, to get the family involved in the garden – after all, you will need all the willing helpers you can get to lift your giants at harvest time!

The big question is can you eat a giant pumpkin? Well, yes. Sam says they taste a little like rock melon, but not quite as good. Anyway, it’s probably fair to say that that for the kitchen you are better off growing the regular garden variety, so you should plan to use the giant pumpkin to feed the family pig or house cow. If you grow a whopper you will be able to sell the seeds – there are heaps of giant pumpkin seeds for sale online. Imagine what the seeds from the world’s largest pumpkin would be worth? Now that’s an idea – let’s turn NZ into the world’s largest giant pumpkin patch and boost export dollars by selling pumpkin seeds to the world! We can just see it now, giant pumpkins where sheep and cattle once roamed!

There are lots of ways to cook regular pumpkin - in fact as many ways to cook pumpkin as there are to cook shrimps! There’s “Pumpkin soup, pumpkin jam, pumpkin scones, pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cream, pumpkin cake, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin chutney, pumpkin croquettes, pumpkin curry, pumpkin  kebabs, pumpkin marmalade, pumpkin fritters, pumpkin bread, pumpkin wine, pumpkin  salad, baked pumpkin, crumbed pumpkin, pan fried pumpkin, deep fried pumpkin, stir-fried pumpkin, pickled pumpkin, BBQ pumpkin …” and that’s about it!

And freezing it is no problem either. GP writes, “Pumpkins freeze well. Cut into meal sized pieces, clean the pulp from the centres and freeze in plastic bags. Do not thaw before using. Straight into the water or roasting dish for cooking. Alternatively, pulp the pumpkins – freeze in ice cream containers, and use for soup or jam as time permits.”

If you have a favourite pumpkin recipe, why not send it in to us so that we can share it with others on the oily rag website at www.oilyrag.co.nz or write to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.

*Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Readers can submit their oily rag tips on-line at www.oilyrag.co.nz. The book is available from bookstores and online at www.oilyrag.co.nz.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Game Review: Until Dawn - Pick Your Own Horrible Adventure

Supermassive Games’ Until Dawn sees a group of dumb sexy teenagers take a trip to a spooky mansion atop a mountain. It is, obviously, a horror game. However, the game is so ridiculous it turns out to be more of a comedy. More>>

John McBeth: Our World Cup All Blacks

Forty or fifty years ago nobody really had any idea of what the selectors had in mind. There were often several trials, which sometimes featured over 150 players, possibly an inter island match or a final trial, then we listened to the announcement of the team on radio. The players weren't flown into the capital for a parliamentary function... More>>

ALSO:

Game Review: Midsomer Murders Meets First Year Philosophy

Developed by The Chinese Room, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture sees the player exploring what appears to be a recently abandoned idyllic English village trying to figure out where everybody's gone. Spoiler: they've gone to the rapture. (On a serious note, this review contains plot spoilers.) More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Clear Science

It was really after his move to Wellington, to Victoria University, that it became apparent that Sir Paul Cllaghan was much more than an eminent physicist... More>>

ALSO:

Francis Cook: Weekend SportzMania! All Blacks! Netball!

Sports were on all weekend. I normally don’t write about sports but with Richie McCaw tipped to be the next Prime Minister, and Colin Craig arguing sports are almost as important as politics, I thought “what better time to start!” More>>

ALSO:

Beervana: Aussie Pav Beer Declared Taste Of NZ

In a surprising upset, an Australian beer modelled on the pavlova, created by Brisbane brewery Newstead Brewing, the 250 Beers blog and Scratch Bar, has been announced the winner at the Beervana craft beer festival ‘Flag Brew’ competition, which challenged media and brewing teams to capture the distinctive taste of New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news