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One person’s food is another’s fodder

September 28, 2010

Orange, red, green, grey, yellow, big, small, round, oblong, there are so many ways to describe the humble pumpkin. And so many ways to eat it, well for some cultures that is, others tend to use this versatile vegetable as simply decoration.

It’s autumn and along with the seasonal changes in leaves, picking fruit and reaping  hay, there is also pumpkin harvesting where the harvested crop end up on people’s porches as “art” or in Thanksgiving pies as soulful “yum”. Pumpkin in the US is symbolic for something I haven’t quite figured out, but whatever it is, this vegetable accords special status in supermarket displays every autumn.

via D Sharon Pruitt

In New Zealand a pumpkin is just a vegetable, nothing more nothing less. This orange delight is served roasted with lamb, steamed for its vitamins, pulped for soup, added to savoury scones and  muffins and sometimes used for sweets like pie. It doesn’t receive any special accolades or seasonal rights on the vegetable display shelves. Seldom does it get carved and carefully placed on window sills and verandas. But it does get eaten — by humans — in every way imaginable.

Head over to England and pumpkin is considered fodder for cows in the way New Zealand farmers use turnips and swedes. Roasting pumpkin is just not done. Some European countries still serve pumpkin with stews and casseroles as do parts of southern China — and Japan adds it to various savoury dishes.

Like all bright coloured fruits and vegetables the mighty pumpkin is valued for its medicinal properties. Wander down some of the older parts of cities like Seoul and you will likely find a tiny pumpkin processing shop crammed between bigger shops. Koreans add pumpkin to yogurt and blend it with rice for gruel. There is even a pumpkin candy usually sold by street vendors during the winter months. This stuff is brutal and requires a set of strong teeth.

So what is great about the pumpkin (American) aka pepon (French) or pumpion (English) particularly in a sweet pie? The vegetable is believed to have originated in North America, the first pie came about in the late 17th century baked by early settlers using the outer skin as the pie casing. Why is it eaten around Thanksgiving? Harvest time. Historically though, the pumpkin pie was served as a vegetable in colonial times long before natural and unnatural sweeteners took over and claimed it as a dessert.

via Fit Mama Eats

There is one part of the pumpkin that follows a similar consumption path no matter which country and that is the pumpkin seed. Roasted or toasted, salted or naturally bland, seed chomping can be viewed wherever you travel.

by Cate

Who is up for pumpkin pie? I’m more of a Thai Pumpkin soup fan myself.

Caffeinated Traveller

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8 Comments
  1. September 29, 2010 5:00 am

    I never really thought pumpkins could be prepared in various ways to enjoy it. Thanks for sharing this info.

    • September 29, 2010 11:58 am

      You are most welcome!

  2. September 29, 2010 5:41 am

    I love pumpkin in all of its forms – sweet or salty. Sadly I doubt I’ll find some over the next few months, I don’t believe it’s common in the Middle East.

    • September 29, 2010 11:58 am

      Not so common there but eggplants and chickpeas are. Enjoy the ME.

  3. September 29, 2010 1:01 pm

    I love this time of year. It is wonderful to see the trees change different colors and the weather starts cooling down. My whole family loves going to the pumpkin patch and picking the biggest one we can find.

    • Cate permalink*
      October 1, 2010 2:19 pm

      A good time for a family outing and it’s cooler as well.

  4. September 30, 2010 6:30 am

    Good round up of a humble veg. I’m the roast pumpkin/soup type and never gave it much thought until I ate a specialty dish in Tahiti. Pity I didn’t ask how it’s made.

    • Cate permalink*
      October 1, 2010 2:20 pm

      I think most Ozzies and Kiwis love the roasted veg. Would like to know more about the dish from Tahiti though….

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