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Williams Naked Seeded Pumpkin

Williams Naked Seeded Pumpkin

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Williams Naked Seeded Pumpkin
Cucurbita pepo L. var. styriaca

110 days — Although pumpkins were originally a "New World" species, naked-seeded pumpkins have been developed over many generations in the Styrian region of Austria where they are known as Ölkürbis or literally, oil squash. Naked-seeded pumpkins, also known as oil seed or hulless pumpkins, are characterized by having a thin membranous seed coat (testa) rather than the hard, lignified seed coat that conventional pumpkin seeds have. This makes the entire seed edible and easily pressed to extract the prized culinary oil.

Since the seeds do not have a protective seed coat, either start seeds indoors in peat pots, or wait so direct sow in the garden after the soil has warmed to 70F to 75F. The plants should be spaced from one to two feet apart in rows spaced six to eight feet apart.  The vines will reach eight to ten feet in length, develop shade leaves that grow up to two-and-a-half feet across, and typically produce four to eight fruits that average twelve to fifteen pounds each but that can reach up to twenty two pounds!

To harvest seeds, allow unblemished fruit to fully ripen and then clean and dry the seeds. Seed saving requires delicate handling, as the thin, green skin is fragile to the touch. Eating the seeds raw provides the most nutritional value. Roasting adds flavors. In addition to being a healthy snack food, the oil is used in salads and drizzled on soups and pasta. Due to its low smoke point temperature, it can not be used for frying.

And you do not need to waste all of the flesh. Traditionally it is used as animal feed but it is tasty and fine enough to be used in pies, breads, and other pumpkin recipes. Each packet contains two grams, which is approximately 6 to 8 seeds.
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Planting Instructions: After all danger of frost is passed and the weather has warmed, plant four to five seeds, 1 inch deep, in hills spaced 6 feet apart. When seedlings are 2 inches tall, thin to 2 plants per hill. Pumpkins prefer rich soil. Feed at planting time and again at the 4 to 5 leaf development stage.

Keep watered during the dry weather and cultivate or mulch to reduce weeds. Harvest fruit when skin cannot be easily dented with your fingernail. Cut from vine leaving a two inch stem.

 Information References:

  1. 1998 New York Times Article
  2. 2009 The Atlantic Article
  3. http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/ncnu07/pdfs/bavec185-189.pdf
  4. Wikipedia Article
  5. If you are interested in finding fresh pressed pumpkin seed oil (and other healthy products), check out the Seed Oil Company out of Grants Pass, Oregon - www.SeedOilCompany.com. They are a small, family operated, direct from farm to your family business that not only developed this pumpkin seed variety, they are also working to restore small-farm agriculture in their region.

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