Life’s Simple Pleasures
(24 April 2014)
One of the best things about growing produce is the variety and sense of seasonality it brings – I love the fact that every month of every year means something new to taste, cook and preserve with. As with the change in seasons, every fruit, vegetable, nut and legume engenders a distinct sense of time, place and frame of mind associated with it. Autumn, for instance, is about devouring and preserving so much delightful produce in readiness for the cooler winter months – there is nothing more satisfying than pulling a vibrant, sweet bottle of preserved fruit from the cupboard on a cold winter’s night and serving it with decadent homemade egg custard, bliss.
April, for me, is all about pumpkins (and preserving fruit of course). Pumpkins are one of the easiest and most prolific vegetables to grow, and their culinary uses are practically endless. Most years I go for the lucky dip option, nurturing a couple of the self-sown seedlings which inevitably pop up. But this year I also grew a named French variety ‘True Green Hubbard’, and I am so glad I did, as it’s turned out to be a real show-stopper. Consequently I have had to start writing a list of all the fascinated passer-by who would like some seed when I harvest it (I haven’t practiced closed pollination methods, however, so who knows what fantastical new varieties may result).
Mr. Hubbard is a mid-sized pumpkin with a relatively thick skin and of a tear-drop shape. It is a good producer and has a great flavour that I am yet to enjoy. I am a bit skeptical about the description of its size though quite frankly, as I am going to have to employ at least one other person to help me lift it – it is humongous. I am also grateful that I only planted one seedling as my humble home is already bursting at the seams with gorgeous produce, and adding 3 huge pumpkins to the bounty is more than I could possibly handle.