Musquée de Provence, or Fairytale pumpkin is a gorgeous French heirloom that averages about 15 – 20 pounds each and is deeply ribbed, looking exactly like fairytale pumpkins in children’s storybooks.
Originating in the south of France, they were introduced to the US by Vaughan's Seed Store of Chicago in 1899.
The large plants have enormous leaves and can produce heavily in fertile soil. The fruit start off a mottled forest green, ripening to a rich bronze, terra cotta or mixed brownish blue-green color with deep brilliant-orange flesh. The very fine-grained flesh is considered by many to be superior to any other for baking, pies, pancakes, soups or roasting. If you love pie, this pumpkin is particularly well-suited for that, especially after slow roasting.
One customer said, “It’s like a spicy-smelling, mild cantaloupe.”
It is one of the only pumpkins that are eaten raw. In Provence, France, these pumpkins are sold fresh by the slice and eaten immediately. Sliced thinly from the middle like a wedge of cheese, the flesh is thick, dense, meaty and the flavor is complex and sweet with a light crunch. They almost beg to be roasted to caramelize the sugars and richen the flavors.
An extremely long keeper, just as delicious after keeping for 9 months as they are fresh. Another gardener said they ate their dining room decoration after 5 months!
Pumpkins like lots of heat to develop. Make sure to plant where there is plenty of sun, or against a south facing wall as a heat source in the northern areas.
Radishes are interplanted among pumpkins in France to keep the aphids at bay.
Squash seeds dislike cold soil. It's better to wait until the soil is warm to plant the seeds.
Also, squash and melons don't like to have their roots disturbed, so when thinning out seedlings in hills, cut the stems of those you want to remove, rather than pulling them out.
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