28 September 2016

Pumpkins called courges musquées

Years ago, when Walt and I decided to leave San Francisco and move to the country, one of our criteria was to find a place where we could have a good vegetable garden. When we saw this house outside Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher, we knew we had found it. This is our 13th year of gardening and, despite some rainy cool summers, the garden has always been successful.

Above is a green pumpkin that is growing out there right now. It's about 18 inches (45 cm) across. It's a courge musquée « Muscade » and should eventually turn pale orange. Our seed packet doesn't say so, but the Muscade is also called the Courge musquée de Provence. It's a variety of Cucurbita moschata.

The one above, growing just a few feet from the green one, has already changed color. It's also a Muscade, but it's ripe. The seed packet says the Muscade squashes weigh in at between 4 and 8 kilograms (10 to 20 lbs.) Muscade is the French word for nutmeg (noix muscade) so the flavor is like that. It's good in sweet cakes and pies and also in savory soups and purées.

Finally, here's a view of the garden at the end of September. There are still tomatoes ripening on the vine, and we don't even know how many squashes (including a number of Sucrines du Berry, similar to butternuts) are hiding under all those big leaves. We are also growing Swiss chard and two kinds of kale this year.


  1. The Muscade is fabulous roasted...
    for two, in a pan with olive oil in the bottom:
    two large wedges of pumpkin...
    chunks of parboiled, floury-texture spud...
    onions or shallots...or both...
    garlic cloves [unpeeled]...plenty
    tomatoes, any sort... a couple of beefsteak toms works fine....
    couple of largish carrots / four medium, parboiled [small just don't work]...
    beetroot, parboiled...
    [and any other root veg that's in season]
    a couple of halves of sweet pepper.

    Drizzle more oil over everything....
    add fresh herbs...your choice...
    if using dried, pre-soak and put in with the first oil...
    40 to 45 minutes in a 180C oven [170C fan] and test....
    you want the veg to be tender, but firm.
    Meat is a condiment with this one... but we have shoved sossijiz in after the first 20 mins [10 if they aren't French skinny ones]... lay them on top of the firmest veggies.
    Serve up with greens.... chard, kale, tenderstem broccoli, etc.

    1. Il y en a pour un régiment...

    2. À ce moment-là, c'est du rata...

    3. Actually we tend to eat the squash and tomato, along with a little of everything else.
      The leftover roast veg go with the next main meal.....
      However, we have been known to scoff the lot if we've been out in the fresh air!!!

  2. You absolutely have the most fabulous Green Thumbs ! or did you bring that with you from the Carolinas ? :)
    You make me want to run out back and dig in the dirt and see what will grow. But then I think about that for a minute and remember all those other times I waited to see if something would grow. and waited. and .....

    1. Not only green thumbs, but whole hands! Have seen them. I don't know about feet, though. Ask Walt.

  3. I look forward to seeing your pumpkin/squash crop as a sign of Fall every year.

  4. LOL, chm! Maybe some bare feet in the garden photos will be next :)

    1. Not only are our hands AND feet green, but they are webbed. Coin-coin.

    2. I love magret de coin-coin!


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