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

 

Cyclists Net First NZ Gold

New Zealand won a gold meal and two bronzes on the first day of the Commonwealth Games. There was joy and heartbreak in an incredibly full day of sport. Here's how the New Zealanders fared. More>>

Cap Bocage: Anti-Mining Campaign Doco Debuts At NZ Film Festival

Playing at this year’s New Zealand International Film Festival, Cap Bocage is a close-up exploration of the forces that came into play when environmental issues and indigenous rights became intertwined in New Caledonia ... More>>

Film Fest:

More Film:

Sharon Ellis Review: A View From The Bridge

Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge is Circa’s latest big production, it opened on Saturday 19 July and it is a stunning triumph. More>>

Māori Language Week: He Karanga Kia Kaha Ake Te Tīhau Ki Te Reo Māori

The Māori Language Commission wishes to see social media swamped with Māori language tweets and messages for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori using the hashtag #tekupu. More>>

ALSO:

Book Vote: Kiwis Prefer Young Adult & Classics

To compile their Top 100 List for 2014, Whitcoulls again asked New Zealanders to vote for their favourite books and authors. And while classic novels continue to appeal to Kiwi readers, 2014 marks a significant new trend – the increasing popularity of novels for young adults. More>>

ALSO:

Five NZ Cities: Bill Bailey Back To The Southern Hemisphere

The gap between how we imagine our lives to be and how they really are is the subject of Bill’s new show Limboland. With his trademark intelligence and sharp wit, he tells tales of finding himself in this halfway place. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Book Television Is Coming

Carole Beu of The Women’s Bookshop in Auckland, Graham Beattie of The Book Blog and producer Deb Faith of FaceTV have raised enough money via crowd funding at Boosted – just under $7,000 so far – for 12 episodes, which begin production in September, and will be on screen later that month. More>>

Electric Sheep: Light Nelson Exceeds All Expectations

Light Nelson exceeded all expectations drawing over 40,000 people over two nights to the Queens Gardens and surrounds. The event, with over 40 installations from local and national artists, is in its second year, and organisers were hoping they’d top last year’s crowd of 16,000. More>>

MacGyver: Richard Dean Anderson To Attend Armageddon This October

New Zealand’s biggest pulp-culture event, the Armageddon Expo is proud to announce the world’s most recognised DIY action hero will be attending the Auckland event at the ASB Showgrounds from October 24th to 27th. More>>

ALSO:

Barbershop Gold: Māori Party Singing Praises Of The Musical Island Boys

The Maori Party has congratulated four young men on a mission, who in 2002 took up barbershop singing at Tawa College, and tonight took out the Gold Medal in the 2014 International Barbershop Harmony Society competitions in Las Vegas. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news