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Last spring I picked up two Cinderella Pumpkin seedlings at one of RIPE’s monthly garden swaps we hold in our local park. I didn’t know anything about the squash except that the pumpkins resembled the pumpkin used to make Cinderella’s magical carriage. I thought they were of the decorative sort.

I planted them in a corner of my community garden plot, made sure they had water, and largely ignored them for a few months.

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They set fruit. And, then set more fruit. The vines grew vigorously, and I had to constantly keep redirecting the new growth out of the tomatoes, peppers, beans, etc. They wanted to spread out across the entire plot. At that point, I was paying attention.

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Then, the pumpkins began to show their size. I was intrigued. I had never grown a squash so big.

As the pumpkins began to turn orange, I was in the throes of having returned to teaching, and I barely had to time to pay attention to anything other than work and family. I made it to the community garden plot just enough to make sure the plants had enough water. In my absence, the vines decided to set more pumpkins!

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Work has demanded that I give up the plot at the community garden. The Cinderella pumpkins were the last thing to be pulled out of the ground. As I lined up the first of the pumpkins along the path to admire them, my gardening neighbor made a passing remark about how delicious they were. What!? I thought, as I pondered that I had at least 50 pounds of squash before me with three more pumpkins still on the vine.

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In total, I harvested 7 pumpkins, their combined weight probably somewhere between 80 and 90 pounds. At this point there are 5 pumpkins left, and, indeed, they are delicious.

I have used them in place of butternut squash and pie pumpkins in some of our favorite dishes, including this delicious eggless pumpkin pie. They have a bit more water in them than other squashes, so I had to cook down the pumpkin puree a bit before using it in the pie. They have a beautiful dark orange flesh, a tasty mild,flavor,ย and smooth texture.

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What is your favorite winter squash? What delicious things do you cook up with your favorites?

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That green one in the back is slowly turning orange….