Flat White Boer Pumpkin

Ark of taste
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The exact history of this pumpkin is not known, but what is known is that it is a unique South African variety developed by the ancestors of the Dutch Settlers, and can be traced back through several generations by word of mouth.

It is a very flat gently ribbed pumpkin with a smooth white rind, and deep orange flesh. Size is 10-15cm high, by 30-50cm in diameter. They can grow up to 12 kg’s. The flat shape allows it to be stacked easily for storage. It is a long storing pumpkin. This used to be one of the pumpkins of choice in South Africa, and was readily available on the market. Its hardy skin protects it from sunburn out in the fields, therefore can be left to fully dry in the sun once the leaves have died back.

The bright orange flesh of this pumpkin is dense, fine, sweet, and aromatic, with a full flavour. It cooks well, without becoming watery like lesser quality varieties. It is a good general use pumpkin, for roasting, mashing, and baking pies. Pumpkins are a popular food for many cultures in South Africa. In indigenous cultures (Zulu, for example) pumpkins are served mashed as a side dish with stamped, boiled maize, and greens. Sometimes the greens are the pumpkin leaves themselves, cooked like spinach.

In Western cultures, pumpkins are served simply, either: boiled, mashed with cinnamon as flavour, roasted, or made into soup or pie.

However, over time, this pumpkin has been replaced by higher yielding, more commercially viable varieties from other parts of the world, such as Australian blue, and butternut squash, and various hybrids, but not necessarily with better flavour and regional climatic resilience. The number of farmers growing this variety has been in decline ever since.
Furthermore, in 2009, an F1 hybrid of this pumpkin was released for the commercial market, and hobby farmers. The open pollinated heirloom variety of this pumpkin is becoming harder to source, and can generally be found grown by specialist heirloom seed growers, whom there are only a handful in South Africa. It has also gained some novelty value in the American heirloom seed market.
This is a real South African heirloom pumpkin of a quality that competes well with the great heirloom pumpkins of the world.

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Vegetables and vegetable preserves

Nominated by:Melissa de Billot