All year round depending on the variety.
Storage and Handling
Store in a cool, dark and dry place, unless cut and then remove seeds and refrigerate. Handle all fresh produce with care and wash before eating.
Pumpkin is thought to have originated in South America. The Māori ate gourds, a member of the pumpkin family, baked in the hāngi before Europeans arrived in New Zealand. References to pumpkins date back centuries ago, the name originated from the Greek word ‘pepon’ meaning large melon. The French changed this to ‘pompon’, the British changed it to ‘pumpion’ and the U.S. colonists changed this to ‘pumpkin’.
- The terms pumpkin and squash are often used interchangeably
- Pumpkin generally describes winter squash, which are hard skinned, hard fleshed mature fruit
- By contrast summer squash are soft skinned and include marrow, courgette (or zucchini) and scallopini
- New Zealand varieties include: :
- Buttercup squash have dark rich green hard skin with speckles and stripes and a round shape. Generally 15-20 cm in diameter and about 1.5kg, they have a fine textured orange to dark yellow flesh with a slightly sweet flavour. Immature buttercups will have a paler flesh. The skin is softer than other pumpkin or squash types and hence they have a shorter shelf life
- Butternut have a creamy beige skin and an elongated cylindrical shape. They have orange flesh and a sweet flavour. Flavour varies with variety, growing conditions and season
- Crown or Grey Pumpkins have a hard blue/grey skin, with a rich orange flesh. Crown pumpkins are generally 30cm in diameter, 10cm deep and weigh about 4kg. Because of their hard skin they keep well and are usually available all year round
- Spaghetti squash have pale yellow skin about 20-30 cm long with a light yellow flesh. Spaghetti squash have limited availability and are generally available in the early months of the year
- Kumi kumi are stocky in shape with heavy ribbing. Immature kumi kumi are about the size of a tennis ball, have a nutty flavour, a speckled green soft skin with white-green flesh and are used like courgettes. Mature kumi kumi have a speckled green hard skin, are about the size of a netball, have a deep white flesh and are used like buttercup squash. Originally they were called kamo kamo by the Māori and were considered particularly good for the hāngi. They are available December to April
- Halloween pumpkins are bright orange skinned which is very hard and knobby. The flesh is very dense and is deep orange in colour. The most common variety is Red Warren
- Mini squash or Yumpkins these are small and can have green, yellow or orange skins. Supply, though all year round, is limited with a better supply in the north. There are many varieties of small squash which are increasing in popularity. Each has slightly different characteristics and flavour. Varieties include sun drop, orange minikin, red hub, sunset squash, sweet mischief, and white acorn. Mini squash has also become popular for decorative purposes, coated with polyurethane, they will last a long time in an arrangement
- Plant pumpkin in late October to early November (when soil is warmer)
- They like rich, well-drained soil in a sunny location
- Pumpkin is frost tender with yellow bell-shaped flowers
- They tend to take up a lot of room as they are a large trailing plant
Pumpkin is a good source of vitamins A and C and a source of potassium and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5).
You will find the full Nutrition Information Panel on the New Zealand Food Composition Data website. This website is owned jointly by Plant & Food Research and the Manatū Hauora Ministry of Health. This website holds the most comprehensive collection of high-quality nutrient data for New Zealand foods. The Database is managed and maintained by dedicated Plant & Food Research staff.