JAP pumpkins- Just Another Pumpkin or Japanese pumpkin. I’ve been calling them Japanese pumpkins my whole professional life. That’s what my suppliers have always called them and I’ve never thought twice about it.
Today my mother started to read my blog and the first thing she pulled me up on was the use of ‘Japanese’ in a previous post. Mum has spent her life thinking it stands for Just Another Pumpkin. She is not alone in this.
I’ve researched a little on the web and with some fruiterers, nobody has a definitive answer as to which one is right.
I don’t really mind which one it is.
Old wives’ tale or historical anomaly? It all tastes the same -sweet and nutty.
You can read my theory on it after we’ve done some cooking and shared a couple of ideas with you for the Jap pumpkin.
Pumpkin Soup – makes a couple of litres
Ingredients – we’re going to puree this so it doesn’t matter too much how you chop these. Aim for even sizes.
1 good wedge of Jap/Kent pumpkin (about a kilo)-peeled and chopped – use a sharp knife or a very good peeler. Wash it first.
1 medium brown onion – peeled and chopped
4-5 cloves garlic – peeled and chopped
1 litre of chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons sour cream
In a heavy based pot or sauce pan add a little olive oil or butter or both. Sweat the onions and garlic with a little salt until translucent. Add the pumpkin and cook over a low heat until it begins to soften, stirring along the way. Now put a lid on it and let it really break down (just don’t let it catch on the bottom). This is where we can gain maximum flavour from the pumpkin as they are full of natural sugar. When the pumpkin is soft add the stock and simmer until the pumpkin is completely broken down. Add the sour cream and process with a little salt and pepper.
Jazz it up
There are so many ways to give this soup a little something extra. Here’s just a few ideas.
* Add a little red curry paste at the beginning and finish with some coriander
* Fresh ginger and a little mustard or curry powder
* Replace some stock with coconut cream
* Replace the chicken stock with fish or prawn stock and garnish with some seafood and yoghurt
* For a great vegan option, replace the sour cream with some silken tofu and blend
* Check my Potato Soup post and try the same variations
* Let your mind wander. Or just keep it simple and serve it straight up with a little sour cream and bread. I do.
Roast pumpkin is great right. Pumpkin roasted with honey, lemon juice, olive oil , a little nutmeg and rosemary is even better.
Leftover roast pumpkin matches well with feta and pine nuts in a salad or on a pizza
Hommus is great too. Make/buy some hommus and blend it with some leftover roast pumpkin for a tasty dip or salad sandwich saver.
Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) are really tasty and good for you too. Roast them in a moderate oven for no more than 20 minutes. Apparently after this time the good oil in them loses some nutritional value. I eat them on yoghurt at breakfast.
Try making this one –
Pumpkin Seed Pesto –
1 cup toasted pepitas,1 brown onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1 cup of coriander leaves,1/2 teaspoon cumin powder, 1/2 teaspoon sumac, 1 juicy lemon, 1/2 cup olive oil.
-Sauté the onion, garlic and cumin in a little of the oil. Transfer to a food processor and blend with all the other ingredients until pasty.
What Kid Did
Kid loved the soup. She said it reminds her of the pumpkin soup at sizzler but better. Thanks kid, high praise indeed. Kid spread the pepita pesto on some tortillas and grated cheese on top. Then I baked them like pizza breads. Pretty good. There wasn’t much else for kid to do here, she was busy getting her Hermione costume ready for Book Day at school tomorrow. They drink pumpkin juice in the Harry Potter stories apparently. No, I’m not trying that one thanks kid.
What we call a Jap pumpkin is also called a Kent pumpkin. The Kent is a style of Japanese pumpkin called Kabocha. I have a theory that they were always called Jap pumpkins here but at some point ( during the war maybe) it became unfashionable for them to be known as Japanese and were re-branded as Just Another Pumpkin.
It’s just a theory and I’m happy to hear others.
I spoke to a guy today who pointed out that if it is Just Another Pumpkin, we would just call them JAPs. Not JAP pumpkins. It’s like saying ATM machine. Or PIN number.
However it came about, thanks for the story Mum X