Pumpkins

Pumpkins have been grown for centuries and it is thought they originated in South America. 

The terms pumpkin and squash are often used interchangeably, however, the term pumpkin generally describes winter squash that are hard-skinned, hard-fleshed, mature fruit.

There are many different varieties available and while they vary in taste and texture, most can be used interchangeably in recipes. Flavour varies with variety, growing conditions and season. Therefore buttercup squash grown at Pukekohe may taste quite different to the same variety grown in Marlborough. Similarly, pumpkins grown in the same area may taste different each season.

Varieties

Supermarket squash

Supermarket squash have a very dark green hard skin and are simialr in shape to buttercup squash, however they have strong ribbed skin, whereas a buttercup is smoother. The skin can often change from green to an orangey colour with age.
They weigh about 1.5kgs with a diameter of 10-15cm, have orange flesh and a very sweet flavour. Supermarket squash have a very good shelf life and are often found on retail shelves in the winter when other local squash types are no longer available. 

p pumpkins buttercupsquashButtercup squash

They have dark, rich green, hard skin with speckles and stripes and a round flat shape. Generally 15-20 cm in diameter and weigh about 1.5kg, the flesh is a fine-textured orange to dark yellow with a slightly sweet flavour. Immature buttercups have a paler flesh. The skin is softer than other pumpkin or squash types and therefore they have a shorter shelf life.

p pumpkins butternutButternuts

They have a creamy beige skin and an elongated shape thicker at one end. They have orange flesh and a sweet flavour. Flavour varies with variety, growing conditions and season.

p pumpkins crow greyCrown or grey

They have a hard blue/grey skin, with a rich orange flesh. Crown pumpkins are about 30 cm in diameter, 10 cm deep, and weigh about 4kg. The most common variety sold in New Zealand is Whangaparoa. Because of their hard skin they keep well and are usually available all year round.

p pumpkins spaghettisquashSpaghetti squash

They have pale yellow skin with light yellow flesh and are 20-30 cm long. Either bake whole or cut into quarters and steam. Once cooked, spaghetti squash can be scooped out and incorporated into recipes and used like pasta. Spaghetti squash have limited availability and are generally available in the early months of the year.

p pumpkins kumikumiKumi kumi

Kumi kumi are round to oval in shape with heavy ribbing. Immature kumi kumi are about the size of a tennis ball, have a nutty flavour, a speckled green soft skin with white-green flesh and are used like courgettes. Mature kumi kumi have a speckled green hard skin, are about the size of a netball, have a deep white flesh and are used like buttercup squash. Available December - April.

p pumpkins halloweenHalloween pumpkins

These pumpkins have a bright orange skin that is very hard and knobbly. The flesh is very dense and is deep orange in colour. The most common variety is Red Warren.

Mini squash or yumpkins

These are small and may have green, yellow or orange skins. There are many varieties of small squash that are increasing in popularity. Each has slightly different characteristics and flavour. Varieties include sun drop, orange minikin, red hub, sunset squash, sweet mischief, and white acorn. Mini squash have also become popular for decorative purposes – coated with polyurethane, they will last a long time in an arrangement. Supply, although year round, is limited with a better supply in the north.

What to look for

Choose firm pumpkins and squash that have undamaged skin and feel heavy for their size. Select mature pumpkin and squash; they will be shiny or slightly slippery to feel, while an immature one will be slightly sticky. Another indication is brown flecks (or corking) on the stem – the more flecks, the more mature.

Availability

All year.

Store

Store in a cool, dark, dry place. Once cut, scoop out the seeds, wrap the flesh in plastic film and refrigerate.

How to prepare

Pumpkin and squash are interchangeable and can be used in similarrecipes. Some varieties have very tough skins that are difficult to cut so can be cooked with the skin on and then the flesh can be removed.

For pumpkin or squash with softer skins, cut in half, then divide into sections, remove seeds, cut to requirements and cut skin off if required. Cook until tender.

To bake whole: pierce the skin, or cut out the stem section of the pumpkin and remove the seeds. Replace the stem section and bake in the oven or microwave until tender.

To stuff: remove top stalk end, scoop out seeds, stuff as required, replace top lid and bake in the oven or microwave until soft to touch.

Suggested cooking methods

Bake, boil, steam, microwave, roast, stew, stuff.

Nutrition

Pumpkins and squash are a good source of vitamin C and vitamin A, containing high levels of the carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin) which the body converts to vitamin A (some more than others). The stronger the colour of the flesh, the more carotenoids the pumpkin will contain.

Pumpkins and squash are a source of folate, pantothenic acid and vitamin E, and contain potassium at levels of dietary significance.

Kumi kumi is a source of vitamin C, vitamin B6 and thiamin and contains potassium at levels of dietary significance.

Buttercup squash is a good source of folate, vitamin A and vitamin C, a source of dietary fibre, vitamin E and pantothenic acid, and contains a dietary significant amount of potassium.

Butternut squash is a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C, a source of dietary fibre, folate, vitamin E and pantothenic acid, and contains a dietary significant amount of potassium.

While pumpkin is lower in carbohydrate and calories compared to vegetables of similar texture like kūmara or potatoes, buttercup squash has a similar carbohydrate and calorie content to potatoes. The most abundant phytonutrients in pumpkins are the range of carotenoids which as well as being a source of vitamin A are being investigated for other heath benefits.

SQUASH, COMBINED Raw      
Nutrition Information        
Serving size: 1 wedge = 130g      
  Average Quantity % Daily Intake per serve Average Quantity  
per serving per 100g  
Energy (kJ/Cal) 310/74 4% 239/57  
Protein (g) 1.8 4% 1.4  
Fat, total (g) 0.3 0% 0.2  
 - saturated (g) 0.07 0% 0.05  
Available carbohydrate (g) 14.5 5% 11.2  
 - sugars (g) 6.2 7% 4.8  
Dietary Fibre (g) 2.9 10% 2.2 A source of dietary fibre
Sodium (mg) 2 0% 2  
Vitamin A Equiv. (µg)  690 92% RDI* 531 A good source of vitamin A
Vitamin C (mg)  33 83% RDI* 26 A good source of vitamin C
Folate (µg)  31 16% RDI* 24 A source of folate
Pantothenic Acid (mg) 0.5 10% ESADDI** 0.4 A source of pantothenic acid
Vitamin E (mg) 2.38 24% RDI* 1.83 A source of vitamin E
Potassium (mg)  473   364 Contains potassium
Calcium (mg)  24 3% RDI* 19  
Iron (mg) 0.5 4% RDI* 0.4  
Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ  
Your daily Intakes may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs 
 *Recommended Dietary Intake (Average Adult)
**Estimated Safe and Adequate Daily Dietary Intake
 
Source: FOODfiles 2016        
BUTTERCUP SQUASH Raw      
Nutrition Information        
Serving size: 1 wedge, diced = 130g      
  Average Quantity % Daily Intake per serve Average Quantity  
per serving per 100g  
Energy (kJ/Cal) 311/74 4% 239/57  
Protein (g) 1.8 4% 1.4  
Fat, total (g) 0.3 0% 0.2  
 - saturated (g) 0.07 0% 0.05  
Available carbohydrate (g) 14.5 5% 11.1  
 - sugars (g) 6.2 7% 4.8  
Dietary Fibre (g) 3.0 10% 2.3 A source of dietary fibre
Sodium (mg) 1 0% 1  
Folate (µg) 65 35% RDI* 50 A good source of folate
Vitamin A Equiv. (µg) 690 92% RDI* 531 A good source of vitamin A
Vitamin C (mg) 33 83% RDI* 26 A good source of vitamin C
Pantothenic acid (mg) 0.50 10% ESADDI** 0.4 A source of pantothenic acid
Vitamin E (mg) 2.38 24% RDI* 1.83 A source of vitamin E
Potassium (mg) 612   471 Contains potassium
Niacin (mg) 0.9 9% RDI* 0.7  
Riboflavin (mg) 0.01 1% RDI* 1%  
Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ 
Your daily Intakes may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs. 
 *Recommended Dietary Intake (Average Adult)
**Estimated Safe and Adequate Daily Dietary Intake
 
Source: FOODfiles 2016        
BUTTERNUT SQUASH Raw      
Nutrition Information        
Serving size: 1 wedge = 130g      
  Average Quantity % Daily Intake per serve Average Quantity  
per serving per 100g  
Energy (kJ/Cal) 269/64 3% 207/49  
Protein (g) 1.4 4% 1.8  
Fat, total (g) 0.2 0% 0.1  
 - saturated (g) 0.04 0% 0.03  
Available carbohydrate (g) 12.4 4% 9.5  
 - sugars (g) 5.6 6% 4.3  
Dietary Fibre (g) 2.9 10% 2.2 A source of dietary fibre
Sodium (mg) 2 0% 2  
Vitamin A Eqiuv. (µg) 754 100% RDI* 580 A good source of vitamin A
Vitamin C (mg) 26 25% RDI* 20 A good source of vitamin C
Folate (µg) 35 18% RDI* 27 A source of folate
Pantothenic acid (mg) 0.5 10% ESADDI** 0.4 A source of pantothenic acid
Vitamin E (mg) 2.4 24% RDI* 1.8 A source of vitamin E
Potassium (mg) 445   342 Contains potassium
Niacin (mg) 0.9 9% RDI* 0.7  
Riboflavin (mg) 0 0% RDI* 0  
Thiamin (mg) 0.10 9% RDI* 0.08  
Calcium (mg) 26 3% RDI* 20  
Iron (mg) 0.5 4% RDI* 0.4  
Magnesium (mg) 21 7% RDI* 16  
Zinc (mg) 0.2 2% RDI* 0.2  
Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ 
Your daily Intakes may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs. 
 *Recommended Dietary Intake (Average Adult)
**Estimated Safe and Adequate Daily Dietary Intake
 
Source: FOODfiles 2016        
PUMPKIN Raw      
Nutrition Information        
Serving size: 1 wedge = 130g      
  Average Quantity % Daily Intake per serve Average Quantity  
per serving per 100g  
Energy (kJ/Cal) 183/44 2% 141/34  
Protein (g) 1.3 3% 1  
Fat, total (g) 0.3 0% 0.3  
 - saturated (g) 0.2 1% 0.16  
Available carbohydrate (g) 8 3% 6.2  
 - sugars (g) 5.4 6% 4.1  
Dietary Fibre (g) 1.6 5% 1.2  
Sodium (mg) 3 0% 2  
Vitamin A Equiv. (µg) 767 102% RDI* 590 A good source of vitamin A
Vitamin C (mg) 24 59% RDI* 18 A good source of vitamin C
Folate  (µg) 21 10% RDI* 16 A source of folate
Pantothenic Acid (mg) 1.0 21% ESADDI** 0.8 A source of pantothenic acid
Vitamin E (mg) 1.38 14% RDI* 1.06 A source of vitamin E
Potassium (mg) 410   315 Contains potassium 
Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ  
Your daily Intakes may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs 
 *Recommended Dietary Intake (Average Adult)
**Estimated Safe and Adequate Daily Dietary Intake
 
Source: FOODfiles 2016        
PUMPKIN, KUMI KUMI/KAMO KAMO  Raw    
Nutrition Information       
Serving size: 1 wedge = 130g      
  Average Quantity % Daily Intake per serve Average Quantity  
per serving per 100g  
Energy (kJ/Cal) 125/30 1% 96/23  
Protein (g) 1.5 3% 1.1  
Fat, total (g) 0.3 0% 0.2  
 - saturated (g) 0.04 0% 0.03  
Available carbohydrate (g) 4.6 1% 3.6  
 - sugars (g) 3.4 4% 2.6  
Dietary Fibre (g) 1.5 5% 1.1  
Sodium (mg) 0 0% 0  
Thiamin (mg) 0.12 11% RDI* 0.09 A source of thiamin
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.17 11% RDI* 0.13 A source of vitamin B6
Vitamin C (mg) 10 24% RDI* 7 A source of vitamin C
Potassium (mg) 215   165  
Vitamin A Equiv. (µg) 46 6% RDI* 35  
Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ  
Your daily Intakes may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs 
 *Recommended Dietary Intake (Average Adult)  
Source: FOODfiles 2016        

Retailing

Do not stack too high or there will be too much weight on the pumpkins at the bottom. Offer whole, or pieces of pumpkin which should be wrapped. Use the QR code on labels.

Store at 12-14°C with an 85% relative humidity.

Purchase pumpkins with the New Zealand GAP logo.

Recipes

Yams with lime
Yams with lime

Yams are plentiful in winter months and are delicious served with this tangy lime sauce. View Recipe

Winter roasties
Winter roasties

Classy café style winter vegetables; serve as a hot vegetable, or as a salad. View Recipe

Hedgehogs
Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs can be made with any vegetable that can be mashed; they are so popular with little kids. View Recipe

View more Recipes

Images

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