Monday, 14 November 2011
Giraumon Brodé Galeux d'Eysines (Pumpkin)
Suddenly, these seem to be everywhere.
They are an heirloom French variety of pumpkin, from Bordeaux, and were listed by Vilmorin in 1883. Then, apparently, they lapsed into obscurity until someone brought them to the Pumpkin Fair in Tranzault, France, in 1996.
The name is usually translated as "embroidered with warts from Eysine", but galeux means more like mangy or scabby than warty. They are certainly like no other pumpkin I have seen before. Beneath a maze of spongy peanut-textured protrubrances the pumpkin skin is a surprising shade of apricot pink.
Galeux d'Eysines, as they are usually referred to, are a variety of cucurbita maxima (so yes, they can get fairly large - 10 to 15 pounds is typical) ready in about 100 days from transplanting. They are reportedly quite drought tolerant as well as reasonably tolerant of cooler, wetter summers. Ours were grown in a very wet acidic clay bed. We did not get a bumper crop - I think they would have liked better soil - but they did not do too badly either, producing 2 large pumpkins per vine.
I did note with these, and with another "warty" variety we grew this year, that the warts are very attractive to slugs and snails. This is the last Galeux d'Eysines we have left as they did not keep well, partly because of the slug damage. In general though, I do not think they are particularly good keepers. One the other hand they are one of the most delicious pumpkins we have ever eaten, with soft, smooth, moist, rich orange flesh and a lovely sweet intense flavour, so I certainly intend to give them another try next year. In general, pumpkins are more watery than other kinds of winter squash, but this one is dry enough to be treated as a squash (although only just).
We should also have picked them a bit sooner. They get wartier and wartier as time goes by, and it is definitely better to get them before they are quite so smothered in warts as this specimen. The warts appear as a result of sugars developing under the skin, and also in response to slight damage. I understand that you could scratch your name on one when it is full-sized, but not yet warty, allowing you to display your name in warts later on. Yeah, I didn't. Maybe a paisley pattern or something next year.