Kabocha Pumpkins

Kabocha squash, which also known as Kabocha pumpkin or Japanese pumpkin, is a common squash seen here in Hawaii.  It’s also confused a lot with kombucha which is a totally different thing.

Kabocha is shaped like a pumpkin and has the consistency and taste of butternut squash, although it’s a bit sweeter.   It is super easy to grow which makes it ideal for the Hawaii gardener.  You just need a little space so it can spread.

Our kabocha patch under a mango tree

Although technically considered a fall/winter squash, we grow it year round.  This squash is very resistant to bugs, and is a high producer.

One of the best things about this kind of squash is its versatility.   I’ve put it in stews and curries, made pumpkin soup (which everyone loves, not to brag), and roasted it.  When we have a lot of them, we either give them away or cut them up and freeze them.  They hold really well in the freezer and make great soup afterwards.

My winning soup recipe is easy.  Ready?  Cut and skin pumpkin, put in water, boil to start, then simmer till it falls apart and has a creamy texture, add salt and pepper to taste.  Yep that’s it.  It’s so yummy.   The natural sweetness of this squash is so tasty you really need to do little to it.

The hardest thing about kabocha is cutting it.  These are tough little squash, so get a big sharp knife.  Cut it in half, scoop out the inside, and cut appropriately.  For roasting, you can leave the skins on.  I cut them in slices, put it in a bag of olive oil and garlic salt, shake it up, and roast them.  You can put them on the grill or roast them in the oven, either way it’s great.   I roast them until they’re nice and brown and you can easily push a fork through it.

I encourage people to experiment with them.  They cream really easily; you can make pie, or cut them up raw and use like carrots in cake.  You can also put them in a batter and fry them for a nice tempura.  I suggest smaller strips when doing this.

The kabocha is very meaty inside and one pumpkin will yield a lot. Not only is this squash delicious and versatile, but it’s also good for you.   It is high in the anti-oxidant beta carotene and Vitamin A.  The skin when consumed is a good source of fiber as well.

The leaves of the kabocha are so large they hide the pumpkins well.

 

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Guava guava jelly

We have a few guava trees on our property.  The most prolific one is right next to one of our ponds and many of the guavas end up in the pond.  Unfortunate for us, but the ducks eat them so not as unfortunate for them.

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So I spent the morning making guava jelly (while humming the Ka’au Crater Boys guava jelly song the whole time).  Not sure if my nephew Mika reads this blog, but yes, I’ll be sending some his way.  Guavas have a lot of pectin, so making jelly is super easy.  I simply cut the guavas in quarters and boiled with a little water for about 45 minutes.  Then I strained all the seeds out.  Once I had the juice, I measured it.  You’re supposed to use equal part sugar to equal parts juice, so I had 8 cups juice, which technically means I should’ve used 8 cups sugar.  I used a little less sugar just to try and be “healthier”.  But as anyone knows who makes jelly, if you don’t use sugar it’s not going to jell.  I also added about 1 cup of lime juice. It’s a little more lime juice than most recipes call for, but guava jelly is super sweet, so it adds a tiny bit of tart.  I then boiled everything together again, first a rolling boil to dissolve the sugar, then a steady boil (I set my stove to 6 out of 10 in heat) for about half an hour.   It’s super important to stir throughout, especially if the sugar hasn’t dissolved; one it can actually burn, and two it can boil over your pot.  Sticky jelly all of your stove it not fun, and unfortunately I keep learning that lesson over and over again.  DO NOT leave a pot of jelly unmanned on your stove for more than 2 seconds.  Don’t do it, I tell you, it’s a mess.  I digress, after it’s cooked and you test for readiness (I use the cold spoon test – dip a cold spoon into your mixture, let it sit, is it starting to get tacky – yes, it’s ready, no cook a little longer), pour into jars, boil jars, then Pau – Guava jelly.  Well not quite, done, they have to cool and set, but that just requires waiting.

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Finished product

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It came out a dark red color, I think because I used an organic raw sugar instead.  It’s usually a little more pink colored.  It tastes pretty good if I say so myself.

I also picked up lilikoi today; I say picked up, because you’re literally picking them off of the ground.  If you try and pick a lilikoi on the vine, it’s not going to be ready, be patient, let them drop – they’re sweeter that way.  Lilikoi jelly is my husband’s FAVORITE!  Last year, we had a horrible year, and only had a handful of lilikoi.  Usually we have a loads.  This is year is better than last, not like our normal yield, but I should have enough eventually to make some jelly.  I also make a mean lilikoi liqueur.  I hope I have enough lilikoi this year to make some of that as well.  We have a number of varieties of lilikoi on the property.  The purple one is new and isn’t fruiting yet, but our orange and yellow varieties are fruiting.

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You can see the difference in the two in the picture above.  I find the yellow one slightly more tart and the orange a little sweeter, but they’re both delicious.

We have a lot of fruit right now.  My son took the picture below.  Not only did he take the picture, he harvested all the fruit.  I saw it on his Instagram account, and wished I had the picture for my blog.  Little did I know he actually took some pictures of the yield with my camera.  What a nice surprise.  (Bananas, pineapples, mangoes, starfruit, dragonfruit, papaya, pumpkin, and breadfruit, oh my!)

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He took a bunch of pictures.  I love this one, because Otis is licking his lips.  He loves bananas!  I made some pumpkins soup out of the pumpkins, we dried the pineapple, my son gave some of the breadfruit away (we have SOOOO many if anyone wants), and we’re slowly eating or giving other stuff away.

I feel extremely grateful for this little piece of heaven.  But most of all I’m extremely grateful for my husband.  The property was beautiful when we got it, but all the trees, and ponds, and fruit and vegetables, that was my husband’s work.  He is the hardest worker I know.  When he comes home from work, he’s in the garden.  Every weekend, he is in the garden.  While I know for a fact, it is a lot of hard work for him, the farm is his church – it’s his place to connect and be grounded.  He loves it, and I love that he loves it. I’m grateful everyday for him.