If you've ever been to France, you should know the pumpkin chestnut vegetable. In French it is called "potimarron" (potimaron), and it is very popular in national cuisine. But what is this mysterious potimaron really? Is it really a hybrid of pumpkins with chestnuts, or is there some other more ordinary vegetable culture that name? What is pumpkin chestnut, about the varieties, useful properties and features of growing crops you will learn from our article.Potimaron, or pumpkin chestnut - a miracle vegetable from France or an ordinary pumpkin?
What is potimarone?
You probably guessed that hybridization of pumpkin and chestnut tree is unlikely, therefore, pumpkin chestnut is rather a representative of an extensive pumpkin family. And indeed it is. Potimarons in France call a group of pumpkin varieties with a characteristic flavor of roasted chestnut, very popular in French cuisine.
The first such pumpkin appeared in Central America, where it was grown by local tribes of the Indians. Subsequently, the vegetable was brought to Japan by Portuguese sailors, where selection over the pumpkin continued. Culture came to France much later in 1957 and initially spread under the name "Hokkaido Sweet Pumpkin." Subsequently, the local name "pumpkin chestnut" was assigned to it.
Potimaron is a botanical species large-fruited pumpkin, or Giant (Cucurbita maxima), some varieties of which we grow in our gardens. Therefore, strictly speaking, there is nothing beyond natural in this pumpkin.
The trade name "Potimaron" combines several varieties, which, in addition to external similarity, are distinguished by one main feature: the presence of a characteristic chestnut flavor.
In France, you can buy the following pumpkin varieties under the name pumpkin chestnut: "The smokers", "Akaguri", "Red smoke", "French Potimarron" and some others. All of the above pumpkins are pear-shaped and have a bright orange color. Classic Potimaron is certainly orange, but there are also varieties of pink, bronze or green.
These pumpkins are of the batch type, and their weight ranges from one to three kilograms. All potimarons have a sweetish aroma, a pronounced taste of roasted chestnut puree and a dry mealy flesh of yellow color.
Pumpkin Potimaron in a cut.
Also read our article The best pumpkins for storage and various dishes - soup, juice, baking, desserts.
Varieties of pumpkin chestnut
The mentioned varieties of potimarone are not uncommon, and it is easy to get pumpkin chestnut seeds from us. However, since the taste of roasted chestnuts is not very familiar, in Russian-speaking sources its flesh is described as having a nutty flavor that resembles hazelnuts.
The most affordable and popular in Russia are the following varieties of potimarone:
Pumpkin "Smoke Uchi" ('Uchiki kuri', another name for the variety 'Red kuri') Plants form small to medium sized pumpkins; on average, the weight of one fruit ranges from 1 to 2 kilograms. They are pear-shaped or tear-shaped with a thick, rough, light brown leg. The peel is smooth and thin, bright red-orange in color, sometimes with small greenish marks. The pulp is dense, a little dry from golden to yellow, very sweet and aromatic. Ripening period is early 80-95 days.
Pumpkin "Orange Colon". A small portioned pumpkin with an average weight of 1.5 kilograms. Pumpkins are drop-shaped (sometimes almost spherical fruits are tied) of a bright orange color. The pulp is yellow, grainy, juicy, sweet with a nutty taste. The bush is long-climbing, due to the light weight of the fruit, the pumpkin can be used for vertical gardening. Ripening early, an average of 80 days. Fruits can be stored for about two months after picking from the bush.
Pumpkin "Solor". This variety, bred in Europe on the basis of Japanese varieties, is almost identical in appearance and taste to the Uchiki Kuri pumpkin. Its fruits are pear-shaped red-orange in color, however, they are slightly larger than Japanese varieties and can reach 3 kg. The main difference between this variety is increased keeping quality. The main disadvantage of potimaron-type pumpkins is that these pumpkins need to be eaten as quickly as possible, and rarely which one will last until the New Year. The same variety can be considered an improved version of Potimaron with the possibility of long-term storage. Ripening early.
I would also like to add a few more varieties that in France do not belong to the classic Potimarons, but they have absolutely identical pulp with the taste of nuts or roasted chestnuts.
Pumpkin Sweet Cob. Very early hybrid (up to 80 days). Fruits are rounded, flattened, small in size. The rough bark has a dark green color, covered with light brown spots and stripes. The average weight of the fetus is about 2 kilograms. The flesh is bright yellow, starchy and slightly succulent. Pumpkins have a very sweet taste with a nutty flavor. Fruits can maintain commercial quality for two months. Powerful long-climbing plant. A similar taste and appearance also have two very similar hybrids: "Naguri" and "Sweet chestnut".
Pumpkin "Lakota". Unusual pumpkin with spindle-shaped and pear-shaped fruits, small in size and with an average weight of one to three kilograms. The pumpkin peel has a beautiful pattern in the form of a combination of various shades of green and orange (orange tones begin to prevail as they are stored). The sweet flesh is bright orange, a little dry with a nutty flavor. The plant is very productive, long-climbing, ripens early, well stored in the winter. Similar pulp also has a pumpkin sold under the name Duchess.Pumpkins with a taste of chestnut from left to right, "Yuchiki Kuri", "Duchess", "Lakota".
My experience in growing pumpkin chestnut
Having once tried "chestnut" pumpkins, now I will definitely plant several varieties of this type every season. This unusual pumpkin can be treated even to those who do not "digest" the characteristic pumpkin smell and taste, because Potimaron is completely absent. An additional bonus is the pulp without fibers, which becomes grainy and powdery after cooking.
Due to the high hardness in raw form, you can’t eat a lot of this pumpkin, but it is indispensable for making desserts, because pumpkin chestnut gives any dish a delicious nutty flavor and aroma.
Growing pumpkin varieties from the Potimaron group is not difficult, and they can be called ideal pumpkins for the middle lane. There are several reasons for this, firstly, almost all pumpkin chestnuts are early ripe. And secondly, the small size allows them to ripen much faster than large-fruited relatives and fully mature in the bush.
Unlike late-ripening pumpkin varieties, there is no need to grow potimaron seedlings. I sow seeds near the end of May directly into the ground. And to speed up the emergence of seedlings, I cover each well with a cut off five-liter plastic bottle.
Potimarones, like many other pumpkins, are very stable, grow rapidly and require minimal care. Since the land on my site is of medium fertility, at the beginning of active growth I feed pumpkins with nitrogen fertilizers, otherwise the foliage begins to turn yellow. I water only in the dry period. Typically, most of the crop fully ripens on the bush and is ready for harvest in late summer - early fall.Pumpkin chestnut "Solor". Pumpkin "Sweet Cob". Pumpkin "Naguri".
What is potimarone useful for?
And in conclusion, a few words about the beneficial properties of potimarone. This vegetable is ideal for those who want to lose weight, because it is very low in calories. One hundred grams of pumpkin contain on average no more than 30 kilocalories. Thus, pumpkin chestnut saturates without adding extra weight.
Potimaron pumpkin is also a source of many antioxidants. These compounds protect our cells from the effects of free radicals, which provoke the development of cardiovascular diseases, some types of cancer and other diseases associated with aging cells.
Potimarones are also champions in the content of provitamin A (beta-carotene), which in their pulp contains twice as much as in carrots. Beta-carotene, as you know, is necessary for healthy skin, good vision, maintaining the strength of bones and teeth. Other vitamins (D and E) that this pumpkin contains in abundance are also very significant for humans.
Read also our material. Amazing pumpkin varieties - both delicious and beautiful.
Potimarone is a source of polyunsaturated fatty acids and essential amino acids, and also contains a lot of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium.
And finally, this pumpkin is especially rich in manganese (which fights against free radicals and is involved in many of the body's major metabolic processes), as well as silicon and zinc, which strengthen our immune system.