We had a pumpkin, or perhaps a butternut, come up by itself in the vegetable garden. Like many puppies, it started off really cute and small. I was thinking of free food: pumpkin fritters or butternut soup down the line. Then, like many puppies, it grew and grew and started destroying the vegie garden and trying to escape over the fence.
First it overshadowed the baby spinach and then took over the Brussels sprouts and was heading for the tomatoes, garlic, cucumbers and beans. It was a triffid pumpkin. I remembered that I don’t like pumpkin much, especially ONLY pumpkin, so I pulled it out.
It was covered in pretty flowers and even a few tiny fruit, so I looked up “cooking with pumpkin flowers” and discovered pumpkin “spinach” with the small leaves and flowers.
The demonstration video was bizarre, as the man was shown cutting the leaves from the garden, then stripping off the strings from the stalks and leaf ribs (rather as we had to string green beans in the bad old days, but on all sides). But when he cooked the leaves he used bottled crushed garlic “because it’s easier and life is all about making things easy.” Wow, how hard is it to peel and crush a clove of garlic? He must have been exhausted after spending 10 minutes peeling pumpkin stalks.
I didn’t bother to peel the stalks and leaves, and I didn’t throw away the stamens part of the flower as recommended. Maybe that was a mistake. It was certainly true that something in the dish was very bitter, but I couldn’t tease it out. The fresh garlic part was rather nice, though.
I’m reminded of my son coming home from nursery school 20 years ago, all excited because they had helped their teacher make pumpkin pie for Halloween.
“First you cut up the pumpkin and cook it with sugar and cinnabon [sic]. Then you mix butter with white powder to make pastry. Then you put the pastry on top of the pumpkin and cook it in the oven. I HATE pumpkin.”
I hated pumpkin too when I was a kid. Now I know that I don’t like pumpkin leaves. So much for that.