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Fairytale pumpkins are medium to large in size, averaging 30-45 centimeters in diameter and weighing 15-20 pounds, and is round with a squat, flattened shape and a sturdy, light brown stem. The smooth rind is deeply lobed with prominent ribbing and transforms from a dark green to a rich light-brown to tan when mature. The bright orange flesh is thick, firm, and fine-textured encasing a small central cavity that contains some pulp and flat, cream-colored seeds. When cooked, Fairytale pumpkins are smooth, creamy, and tender with a spicy scent and a mild, sweet flavor.
Fairytale pumpkins are available in the fall through winter.
Fairytale pumpkins, botanically classified as Cucurbita moschata, are a French winter heirloom variety and are members of the Cucurbitaceae family along with squash and gourds. Also known as the Musque De Provence squash, Fairytale pumpkins are prized for their excellent flavor, ornamental shape, and unique tan coloring. Fairytale pumpkins grow on vigorous vines that can reach over three meters in length and are named for their musky scent. They also belong to the “cheese pumpkin” group because of their resemblance to a wheel of cheese. Fairytale pumpkins are one of the only hard squash varieties that can be consumed raw and are known for their long storage capabilities, delicate flesh, and sweet flavor.
Fairytale pumpkins are high in vitamin A and beta-carotene and are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and manganese. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids, B-complex vitamins, and copper.
Fairytale pumpkins are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as sautéing, baking, boiling, and roasting. The pumpkin should be sliced from the center, and raw slices can be used in salads, consumed as a snack similar to cantaloupe, or used as a garnish on top of main dishes. When cooked, the pumpkin can be roasted and blended into soups, stews, curries, casseroles, butter, cream-based sauces, and pasta dishes. Fairytale pumpkins are also used in a variety of desserts and baked goods such as pies, tartlets, muffins, cakes, and cookies. Fairytale pumpkins pair well with pecans, rum, eggs, onions, garlic, meats such as ground beef, poultry, and sausage, fennel seeds, red bell peppers, zucchini, brown rice, quinoa, or farro. It will keep up to nine months when stored whole in a cool and dry location and up to two weeks when sliced and stored in the refrigerator. Fairytale pumpkin slices can also be frozen up to six months.
In France, Fairytale pumpkins are known as Musque De Provence squash and have been a popular variety since its creation in the 19th century. Farms in the south of France harvest and sell the pumpkins whole or by the wedge. Due to the sheer size of the squash, it is commonly sold in more manageable pieces as one piece is typically enough for an entire recipe. The large squash is cut at the farm in a wedge like a pie slice, all seeds, and fibrous tissues are cut and cleaned away with a knife, and the wedge is wrapped in plastic and sold at the market.
Cucurbita species originated in Central and South America and were brought back to Europe via Spanish explorers during the 15th and 16th centuries. Fairytale pumpkins are a hybrid developed in Europe in the 19th century and are most well-known in the Provence region in the south of France that borders Italy and includes the coastal French Riveria. It was then introduced to the United States in 1899 and was first sold by a seed store in Chicago. Today the French heirloom is most often spotted at local farmers markets throughout France and is sold through online seed companies in the United States, Europe, and South Africa.
Recipes that include Pumpkins Fairytale. One is easiest, three is harder.