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Long Island Cheese Squash
Inventory, lb : 0
This item was last sold on : 04/24/18
The Long Island Cheese pumpkin is an American heirloom squash that slightly resembles that of its name, a wheel of cheese. Medium sized the Long Island Cheese pumpkin has a squat shape and weighs on average six to ten pounds when mature. Its exterior skin is tan and smooth with slight vertical ribbing. At its cap, a thin, dry, and roughly textured stem that should be left intact after harvest to prolong the shelf life of the squash. Its interior flesh is orange and surrounds a large, central seed cavity. Like many pumpkins, the seeds are edible but the stringy pulp should be removed before using the squash for its flesh or seeds. When cooked the flesh has a smooth, fine-grained texture and offers a mild, subtly sweet pumpkin flavor.
The Long Island Cheese pumpkin is available in the late fall throughout the winter.
Unlike most other well-known pumpkins which are a part of C. pepo the Long Island Cheese pumpkin is botanically a part of Cucurbita moschata along with butternut squash. The Long Island Cheese pumpkin is an heirloom with a rich American history, its name, a nod to the squash’s most renowned growing region along the eastern seaboard as well as to its unique squash shape, which resembles that of a squat wheel of cheese. Another factor that may have played a role in the naming was that New England was known at the time of the Long Island Cheese pumpkin’s heyday for their dairy production and in addition to growing these exceptional squashes was a major exporter of cheese. Though many new varieties of pumpkin have been developed since it first appeared on the market the Long Island Cheese still today remains one of the top storing pumpkins available.
Long Island Cheese pumpkins are known to be rich in beta carotene, a nutrient that is also responsible for the vibrant orange color of their flesh. Additionally they contain a healthy amount of vitamin A as well as some vitamin C and potassium.
Long Island Cheese pumpkin can be used whenever conventional pumpkin is called for. Like most winter squashes, it should be first cooked before eating. It can be roasted halved or cut into sections with or without the skin still attached. Some prefer to peel the pumpkin after cooking for ease of skin removal. The Long Island Cheese pumpkin can also be steamed, boiled, braised, baked or battered and deep fried. Once cooked it can be pureed and added to soups, sauces, preserves, and curries. Its cooked flesh is also ideal for use in preparation of desserts such as tarts, cakes, bread and the American classic, pumpkin pie. Pumpkin such as the Long Island Cheese has also long been used in American craft beer brewing and can be added to mash prior to the fermentation of beer. Long Island Cheese pumpkins are excellent keepers and can be stored in a cool, dry, dark place for up to three months.
The Long Island Cheese pumpkin is one of the oldest varieties of squash cultivated in America and was one of the first winter squashes to be domesticated for food and animal feed. The Long Island Cheese pumpkin has not only long been known for its culinary attributes but is also recommended as a healthy dietary addition for household pets and when fed raw to chickens is known to help support healthy egg production in the winter months. The Long Island Cheese pumpkin appears in many American seed catalogs, cookbooks and farmers almanacs dating back to the 1800’s. Today, the Long Island Cheese pumpkin seeds are preserved in a regional seed bank on the east coast, and it is grown in the Smithsonian’s Victory Garden at the National Museum of American History.
The vine that produces the Long Island Cheese pumpkin is believed to have originally been grown in Central or South America and made its way to North American gardens via explorers and traders. Officially introduced to the commercial marketplace in an 1807 seed catalog by Bernard McMahon of Philadelphia the pumpkin was a popular variety grown along the Atlantic seaboard throughout the 1800’s. It remained a popular squash up until the 1960’s when new pumpkin varieties started to come onto the market which were better suited for modern growing, harvesting and distribution techniques. The seeds of the Long Island Cheese pumpkin were saved in the 1970s as part of the Long Island Seed Project in efforts to preserve the genetic resources of heirloom seeds in the Long Island region. Long Island Cheese pumpkins thrive in hot and humid climates and are the least cold tolerant of all squashes.
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