Autumn is here and a popular crop this time of year is the humble yet tasty and versatile pumpkin, so it seems quite appropriate to include pumpkins at tea time! There are lots of options and exploring them all can keep you pleasantly busy for awhile.
There are several kinds of pumpkins, from smaller ones perfect for making pies, like this one:
to those humongous ones so large that they have to be lifted by a crane to get them on a scale and weigh them (the world record holder for 2011).
There are two basic groups: Cucurbita Moschata and Cucurbita Pepo. The first group is usually used for commercially canned pumpkin, and the second group includes the kind you buy to carve into Jack-o-Lanterns and the one shown above, and even those cute little ones used mainly for decoration. Common varieties include: Connecticut field, Howden, and Howden Biggie.
A new group is emerging: Cucurbita Mixta, which includes:
- Miniature Pumpkins — Fitting in the palm of your hand, miniature pumpkins come in orange and white colors.
- White Pumpkins — relatively new on the scene.
- Blue or blue-green pumpkins — Yes, you heard that right! They are often called Australian Blue or Jalhrude pumpkins.
- Hull-less Seeded Pumpkins — Cultivated for their seeds, which are popular as snacks and also nutritious.
- Pumpkin on a Stick — also called “Pumpkin Tree” and “Pumpkin Bush” since it grows 3-5 feet tall. The fruit is ribbed and about the size of a miniature pumpkin. The fruit ripens from deep green to a deep, reddish orange that lightens when it dries.
Speaking of pumpkins for pies, hubby and I have begun a tradition of buying a pie pumpkin and some ready made pie crusts, and then him making pies! Works beautifully. I get to steep the tea and eat the pies (well, I do share the tea and pies with hubby). Can’t wait to taste this year’s pies.
Here are last year’s pies:
And the year before:
Speaking of teas, pumpkin spice is a very popular flavor this time of year. They are often best with a bit of milk and sweetener and can be great as a dessert substitute.
A few options:
- Twinings Pumpkin Spice Chai — Twinings Pumpkin Spice Chai is an all-time seasonal favorite! A fine black tea flavored with a perfect balance of all your favorite holiday spices, including pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Aromatic and great with or without milk. Twinings recommends brewing for five minutes or more with equal parts milk and water.
- Pumpkin Spice Flavored Black Tea – Loose Leaf (my review) — In addition to carving as Jack O Lanterns, you can use pumpkins in delicious soups, desserts, and other dishes and beverages. This flavored tea is a great example. It’s a blend of black teas and South African rooibos, plus natural pumpkin flavoring and spicy notes of cinnamon. Perfect and very dessert-like when served hot with milk and sugar.
- Stash Pumpkin Spice Decaf Tea – 10 foil — A dessert-like tea that imparts the appeal of a tasty pumpkin pie, heightened by adding milk and sugar which complete the luscious flavor.
How about sipping it from a pumpkin mug? Sounds like a perfect pairing to me!
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