The Red Warty Thing

Naturally, you’re probably thinking, “Whatever that is, I don’t want it!” Contrary to what it sounds like, it isn’t a fictional monster, heinous carbuncle, or STD. It is a fabulous pumpkin that was originally introduced as the Victor Squash by Victorby James J.H. Gregory of Marblehead, MA in 1897. It was a hybrid between an ordinary pumpkin and a red hubbard squash. This old heirloom variety was kept in the US Seed Bank and reintroduced as The Red Warty Thing later on.

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The Warty Thing usually averages between 10-20 pounds. However, here in our Zone 10 Southern California climate, each of our Warty Things have averaged 25-29 pounds! They’re large, dense, brilliantly reddish-orange colored squashes completely bedazzled in lumps and bumps. The germination to maturity period is about 110 days, or when the vine leaves begin to turn brown and wither.

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During harvest, cut the stem leaving 3-4 inches attached and cure the pumpkins outside in warm weather for about 1-2 weeks without getting wet. These guys should store for a few months if there are no cracks or bruises. Otherwise, if there are soft spots, cracks, or bruises, be sure to process the pumpkin before it rots.

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The flesh is orange and hearty, but has a bit of a bland flavor in my opinion. I prefer the taste of our hubbards, kabochas, and butternuts, which seem to be just as hearty, but much sweeter and tastier. However, our Warty Things are definitely more flavorful than any variety we’d find in a supermarket. The flesh works well for curries, desserts, roasting, etc. And just with any pumpkin variety, don’t forget to roast the seeds!

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