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The Behr vegetable ABC

Hokkaido pumpkin

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The Hokkaido pumpkin belongs to the cucurbit family, which well-known vegetable plants such as cucumbers and courgettes, as well as fruit vegetables such as melons belong to. The pumpkin is native to South and Central America, where it was probably grown in what is now Mexico more than 8,000 years ago. The pumpkin only came to Europe in the 19th century. Its cultivation experienced a boom in association with Halloween, a holiday that originally came from Ireland to America and returned from there to Europe. The Hokkaido pumpkin is a pure edible pumpkin which was first bred on the Japanese island of Hokkaido from American varieties in the 19th/20th century. By the way, the Japanese name Kuri stands for roast chestnuts, a reference to the mild, nutty flavour of this variety.

The Hokkaido pumpkin is an annual frost-sensitive and strongly creeping plant. Adequate space is needed to cultivate it. Pumpkins need adequate fertilisation and thrive in especially humus-rich soils with a balanced flow of water. The harvest takes place in late summer/autumn. The pumpkins are easy to store without a loss of quality, so that over the entire winter, good qualities can be offered. A good pumpkin feels firm and sounds hollow when tapped. It is important that the stem is also cut because otherwise the cut surface can decay quickly.

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The Hokkaido pumpkin, with its orange flesh and its mild, nutty and sweetish flavour can be used very versatilely in the kitchen. It is ideal for soups, casseroles and stews. One advantage during preparation is that it does not need to be peeled but can be consumed along with its skin.

An undamaged pumpkin can be stored in a dry and not too cold room (10-15°C) for up to 3 months.

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