Native Recipes

SQUASH (Naubugogwissimaun) AND PUMPKINS (Ogwissimaun)

  • USDS Nutrients PUMPKIN -- seeds, leaves, as a vegetable, pie filling

  • Nutritional Data for SQUASH; WINTER, ACORN, CKD, BAKED, WO/SALT


    Maple-Pumpkin Cheesecake

    		Graham cracker crust in 8" springform pie pan
    			1 lb low-fat cottage cheese
    			1/2 cup plain low-fat yoghurt
    			3/4 cup pumpkin  puree (or 1 can)
    			1/4 cup flour
    			3 eggs
    			1 tsp vanilla
    			1/4 cup maple syrup
    			1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

    Preheat overn to 325. Put all ingredients into blender, a little at a time, alternating wet and dry. Process until smooth, then pour into crust and spread evenly. Bake for about 50 minutes. Let cool before serving. May be topped with yoghurt flavored with 2 Tbs maple syrup.

    Mashed squash (serves 4)

    		1 1/2 lbs butternut squash
    			1/4 tsp mace
    			1/4 tsp allspice
    			1 tsp ground cardamom
    			1 tablespoon maple syrup
    			1/2 tsp salt
    			2 tsp melted butter

    Cut squash in half, scrape out seeds and fiber. Chunk in 2" pieces. Boil or steam (steaming preserves its high amounts of vitamin C and A better) 20 minutes (boil) or 30 (steam) until tender. Cool slightly, and slip skin off pieces. Spoon flesh into blender, add remaining ingredients and process till smooth. Goes well with roast birds. NOTE: I like to put a lot of coarse, fresh-ground black pepper into mine.

    Squash or pumpkin blossom fritters (Pueblo style) serves 4 - 6

    		2 dozen large squash blossoms
    		(4 dozen of the smaller pumpkin blossoms)
    		4 eggs
    		1/2 cup milk
    		1 tsp chili powder
    		1 tsp salt
    		1/4 tsp cumin powder
    		2 - 3 cups finely ground cornmeal (masa harina)
    		oil for deep frying

    If you're a gardener or truck farmer, you can do this; otherwise you'll not find blossoms. Farmers must thin the blossoms of these vines, because the vine can support only a couple of pumpkins or a few squash. But they don't usually bring the flowers to market. Perhaps you can persuade a local organic grower to give you some, or your health food co-op to carry them in their short early-summer season. and a potential big-flower-harvest at season's near-end when the shortnss of the growing season left means no flowers can finish fruit.

    Rinse and pat blossoms dry. In a shallow bowl, beat eggs with milk, chili, salt, cumin. Dip blossoms in egg mix, then roll gentle in cornmeal. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes to set coating. Heat 2 " of oil in a deep saucepan to hot but not smoking (375). Fry blossoms a few at a time until golden, drain on paper towels. Keep warm in 250 oven until ready to serve.

    Only in the southwest are the blossoms of squash and pumpkin important as a regligious symbol, as well as food. They appear as sacred symbols in many Pueblo ceremonies, and gave rise to a popular design worked in silver. There is a Hopi Squash Kachina (Patung). He is Chief Kachina (wuya) for the Hopi Pumpkin Clan. He runs with men of a village in spring ceremonial dances to attract rain clouds. The Hopis and Pueblo farmers gather large quantities of squash and pumpkin flowers at the end of the growing season, when these flowers cannot make fruit; that's the time white farmers harvest their curcurbitae and pull up or plow under the still-flowering vines.

    Blossom Beignets, Anishinaabeg style:

    		1 egg yolk
    			2 cups ice-cold water
    			1/8 tsp baking soda
    			1 2/3 cups white flour

    Whip the egg yolk and baking soda into the water in a large dipping bowl. Sift in the flour, mix well. Batter should be thin, rather watery, run easily off a spoon. It should be used no more than 10 minutes after made, i.e. still bre quite cold when it hits the frying oil. Dip blossom, twirl to coat thoroughly, Turn after 1 minute and fry 1 minute longer, lighter gold than the cornmeal coating in the Pueblo version. Sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar while still draining and hot from the oil. Keep warm in oven. Alternatively: omit sugar, serve with small dipping bowls of or berry syrup.

    Traditionally, the flowers were used in soups and stews in 2 ways. In the commonest, they were thickeners -- put in at the beginning, the fragile flowers cooked away into the broth and had no individual identity. Put in near the end, they were heated through, softened a bit (especially th female blossoms, which have tiny squashes or pumpkins forming at the stem end) as a sort of vegetable -- although the rest of the soup or stew was likely to be full of dried berries, so maybe I should say as another fruit.

    Up north here, these fritters were traditionally made with pumpkin and squash flowers too. No chile or cumin was used, and about 1/2 tsp (or no) salt. A batter of flour would be more likely to be used than cornmeal if there was a good trade supply of it, because although some corn was raised, it was nowhere near as much as in the southwest, and a bit farther north of the Great Lakes, the growing season is too short for curcurbitae.

    The blossoms were most often eaten as a sweet with maple syrup or sprinkled with maple sugar -- and that's still a great way to eat these fritters, too -- blossom-beignets. You can also sprinkle them with sifted powdered sugar, as with New Orleans beignets.

    Acorn squash stuffed with wild rice

    		1 squash per 2 people
    		1 1/2 cup rice stuffing per squash
    Easy cheese sauce:
    		1/2 lb grated brick cheese 
    		Hellman's mayo
    		Good mustard

    Bake the squash halves in a 375 oven, upside down in a pan with a little water for 20 minutes. Turn them right side up and finish for 10 minutes more, until tender but not dried out. Use a variant of fish or bird wild rice stuffings (above) or a mixture with ground meat or chopped leftover chicken in it. Add a can of unmixed cream of mushroom soup to the rice mix. Stuff the squash cavity full, packing it down and press buttered breadcrumbs on it. Heat thoroughly in oven over hot water (about 10 minutes). Pass easy cheese sauce with it.

    Cheese sauce: Melt grated cheese in double boiler. Add 1/4 as much mayo as the amount of cheese you used, just roughly by eye and taste. Although "a pint's a pound, the world around" so 1/2 lb cheese = 1 cup, and try 1/4 cup mayo into it, first. Note that the amount of cheese sauce should be proportional to number of diners/squashes. Stir in some mustard--start with 2 tsp--there are many different kinds, don't use cheap yellow hot-dawg mustard -- and taste for whether it needs more mayo or mustard.

    Most men will complain if you only make them one half-squash. Most kids won't eat 2, though. Don't let teenagers only eat the stuffing. Acorn and other yellow-orange squashes are high in beta carotene, the vegetable pre-cursor to vitamin A that has so much protective value, also vitamin C, 100 milligrams of calcium (50 per half) and considerable dietary fiber. You can mention this to any man that leaves the squash shell as well as kids.

    Pumpkin (or squash) Pumpernickle Bread--3 loaves

    	1 1/2 cups cold water	1 package yeast
    	3/4 cup cornmeal		1/4 cup lukewarm water
    	1/1/2 cups boiling water	2 cups mashed pumpkin
    	1 1/2 Tbs salt		6 cups rye flour
    	2 TBS sugar 		2 cups whole wheat flour
    	2 TBS soolid shortening
    	1 TBS caraway seeds

    Stir cold water into cornmeal. Add to boiling water and cook stirring cosntantly until thick. Add salt, sugar, caraway. Let stand till lukewarm Meanwhile, soften yeast in lukewarm water. After 15 minutes, stir pumpkin and yeast into cornmeal dough. Add rye flour and enough whole wheat to make a stiff dough you have to stir with hands. Turn dough out onto floured board and knead for 10-15 minutes until it becomes elastic and doesn't stick to the boare. Place dough in large greased bowl, grease its surface and set in warm place (80-85 degrees) to rise until doubled (it will take longer than white or whole-wheat breads; set in metal bowl in dishpan or bigger bowl of hot water to help it along). Punch down and form into 3 cannon-ball loaves. Grease tops of loaves, let rise again until doubled in bulk. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven about 1 hour.A This bread is orange-brown, not dark like most bakery pumpernickle, because it uses no molasses.

    Pueblo Pumpkin/Squash Piñon Nut Sweetbread, One loaf, serves 6 - 8

    Rio Grande Pueblo peoples traditionally served a variant of this sweetbread to parties of nut-pickers in September when piñon nuts were bing picked from the mountain slope trees. Families would (and some still do) camp for many weeks in traditional areas reserved to clans. In the recipe you can use either cooking-type pumpkin (these have necks and thick, meaty bodies, not like jack o' lantern pumpkins) or a sweet bright orange squash, like butternut.

    		1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
    		1 cup finely mashed or pureed pumpkin/squash
    		3/4 cup brown sugar
    		1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
    		2 eggs beaten foamy
    		1 tsp baking powder
    		1 tsp cinnamon
    		1 tsp grated nutmeg
    		1/2 tsp salt
    		3/4 cup pine nuts

    Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, spices. Stir in pumpkin, eggs, butter. Stir pine nuts into thick batter. Scrape into a greased 6 x 9 loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until knif inserted in bread comes out clean.

    This sweetish, spicy bread goes well with soups, stews, and can also be a dessert, especially if you cut it apart and put yoghurt or applesauce over it.

    Mary Teller, of Minneapolis, adapted this recipe from Native Harvest cookbook for a cooking class at one of the Cities food co-ops. It was later published, along with her article "Thanksgiving Every Day: Native Cultures Gave Thanks Throughout Planting, Growing and Harvesting Seasons" in the Nov.-Dec., 1995 Co-op Consumer News, which goes to all members of all the Twin Cities food co-ops. I don't know anything about her other than what I read in that newspaper.

    --Frybread--Tasty Symbol of all-Indian unity
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    Copyright 1995, 1996 Paula Giese

    Last Updated: Sunday, February 18, 1996 - 5:02:52 PM