Turkish Turban Pumpkin (Turk’s Turban – Turban Squash)

What is Turkish turban?

Turkish turban pumpkins are a beautiful variety of pumpkins that are named for their distinctive shape. They have a a round, bulbous body with a different colored hat, or turban, on top. Turkish turban pumpkins are a favorite among pumpkin lovers for their striking appearance and sweet, rich flavor.

One of the most colorful types of pumpkin plants, in science, it is classified as Cucurbita maxima. The plant has a trailing habit and grows to a length of 6m. The fruit is up to 1.8 kg in weight and maybe round or slightly elongated. The stem is thick and ribbed. There are two main types of turban pumpkins: the traditional Turkish turban and the North American turban.

Turban squash flavor

The fruit can vary in color from light orange to deep red, while the turban top is mostly striped in lighter colors. The skin is smooth and the flesh is thick, dry, and stringy. The flavor is sweet and rich, with a slight tanginess.

Turkish turban pumpkins are perfect for carving into decorations. Their unusual shape makes them a popular choice for Halloween decorations. They can also be used in pies, soups, and other dishes. If you’re looking for a unique pumpkin to add to your fall feast.

Video – Roasting a Turkish Turban Pumpkin

Turkish Turban Pumpkins are great for decorations, baking, roasting or cooking.

Are Turkish Turban Pumpkins edible?

Yes, Turkish turban pumpkins are edible! This pumpkin variety, also known as ‘French Turban’, is popular in Turkey. You might find this pumpkin variety more familiarly labeled as Zucchini Turbans (even though this isn’t the official name of the product).

Turkish turban pumpkin recipes

“Kadayif”, which refers to a food product made of baked Yufka dough and sweet or salty toppings, originated in Ancient Greece. Today, the best Kadayif is said to come from Goreme, Cappadocia. This dessert has become very popular throughout Turkey. Traditionally dressed on special occasions, Kadayif also features prominently during many celebrations such as the New Year and Eid ul-Fitr.

How to cook Turkish turban squash

Another way in which it is enjoyed is by roasting. You can do this by grilling. Cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds, and roast for about 30 minutes on medium heat. The skin will become wrinkled and the flesh will be fork-tender.

You can also bake it at around 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes. Try stuffed turban squash and experiment with the fillings, from minced meat of all kinds to roasted vegetables and stuffing.

What does turban squash taste like?

When cooked, the Turkish turban pumpkin tastes like a cross between a zucchini and a pumpkin. It’s soft, mild, and slightly sweet with a firm texture. It is perfect for baking, roasting, Turban Squash soup, and of course turban squash pie.

Turkish turban pumpkins are eaten all over Turkey and other countries where they originate from. While many people think that Zucchini Turbans are a new product (because they’re not commonly available), it is actually quite common for Turks and visitors alike to eat them at home and on special occasions like New Year’s Eve and Eid ul-Fitr. Kadayif has existed since Ancient Greece.

Can you eat turban squash seeds?

Yes, you can eat Turban Squash seeds. Most people just scoop them out and throw them away, but this is a real waste. Dry them out and then roast them – they make a nutritious and tasty snack when you need it.

Turban Squash seeds are full of vitamins and Omega 3, so much better than cookies or sweet sugary snacks.

Turban squash nutrition

A couple of hundred grams of Turban squash baked in the oven is quite nutritious – see breakdown below.

  • Calories: 76
  • Protein: 1.8g
  • Fat: 0.7gm
  • Carbs: 18.1g
  • Fiber: 5.7g
  • Sugar: 6.8g

Unfortunately, 70% of it’s calories are carbohydrate includes sugar), which encourages metabolic disease and Type 2 diabetes. On the up-side, Turban squash has loads of potassium and vitamin A, so it isn’t all bad!

How do you grow Turk Turban pumpkins?

Turkish Turban Pumpkins are a type of winter squash in the Cucurbitaceae family. Turkish Turban pumpkins can range in color from pale yellow to orange and will grow between four and five pounds in weight. (Some types of pumpkin are even blues – see here.) The taste is generally sweet, with a firm texture when cooked.

Turkey Turban pumpkins originated in Turkmenistan, but are now grown throughout Central Asia, India, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ukraine (notably around Lutsk, Belarus (also around Lutsk, North Caucasus region of Russia (Chechnya), and also in Bulgaria where they are known as “sultan’s egg”.

Turk’s turban plant

Turk’s pumpkin can be grown from seed, and take around 80 days to mature. The vines can grow up to 15 feet in length, so plenty of space is required. The plants need full sun and rich, fertile soil with plenty of water.

Pumpkins are typically grown by direct seeding into the garden. Sow the seeds 1″ deep and 2-3″ apart in rows 6-12′ apart. Thin the seedlings when they are a few inches tall to 4-6″ apart. For larger pumpkins, provide a sturdy trellis or other structure for the vines to grow on.

How to know when to pick Turkish Turban Pumpkins?
Turkish Turban Pumpkins are easy to grow in rich soil with plenty of water and sun

Turban squash growing

Water frequently, especially during dry spells. A deep watering once a week should be sufficient, but more may be necessary if the weather is hot and dry.

Weed control is important because pumpkins are susceptible to several different types of parasites. Mulch will help control weeds and keep the soil moist around the plants’ roots.

Pests are rarely a problem but include aphids, cucumber beetles, squash borers, and vine borers. Use appropriate pesticides when necessary.

Fertilize with compost or well-rotted manure in early spring before new growth begins, and again after about six weeks. Side dress with additional fertilizer every three to four weeks until harvest time if growth is slow.

Turban squash should be harvested when fully ripe; this state can be identified by a deep “thump” sound when tapped on the side – making sure the pumpkin isn’t too heavy for its size as this may indicate it has started to rot internally.

Turkish Turban Pumpkin Facts

Soil Type:Slightly acidic with compost
WaterLikes plenty
Growth pattern:Vine - propagates across the ground or trained upwards
How long to mature?30 to 100 days
Gourd size:12 inches (30 cms)
Storage time:3 months
Uses:Pies, roasts, baking, sauces

How do you cut a Turkish Turban squash?

Turkish Turban gourds are particularly hard to cut, as the rind is quite thick and resistant. As with most pumpkins, cut off the top half-inch and the bottom half-inch. This is best done downwards on a wooden chopping board.

After this stage, it depends on what you want to do with the gourd. If you want to use the flesh in puree, then soak the whole thing in hot water for a few minutes before peeling. If roasting, for example, cut off the turban, then cut in half vertically and prepare for the oven.

How do you know when a turban squash is ripe?

Turban squash is ready to harvest when the skin is hard and the stem is dry. Cut the pumpkin from the vine with a sharp knife. Be careful not to damage the pumpkin or it will rot quickly. A healthy plant should yield one to two good-sized pumpkins at maturity.

You can check if your harvest is ready by gently shaking the fruit – if you hear the seeds rattle inside they are close to ripe! If you have trouble determining whether or not your pumpkins are mature, wait until mid-October as night-time temperatures begin to drop below 50 F (10 C), then stop watering your pumpkin plants.

How big do Turkish squash grow?

Turban squash can grow to be over 50 lbs. Once harvested, Turk’s Turban pumpkin will last for several months if stored in a cool, dry location. They can spread out to be up to 3 feet wide. Their leaves can grow up to 3 feet in length.

Infographic – Turkish Turban Pumpkin Facts

Inforgraphic - how to grow Turk's turban pumpkin
How to grow Turkish Turban Pumpkin Squash

Download Turkish Turban Pumpkin Infographic as PDF

Can you eat Harlequin squash?

Harlequin squash is edible. They have a sweet and nutty flavor and can be used in both savory and sweet dishes.

Harlequin squash are a type of winter squash. They have dark green skin with orange markings on them. The inside is orange, and the flesh is very firm. Harlequin squash are a good source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin A. They have a sweet flavor and can be eaten cooked or raw. Harlequin squash can be used in both savory and sweet dishes. They are a good substitute for pumpkin in recipes.

Can you eat the skin of Onion Squash?

Many people wonder if they can eat the skin of onion squash. Some think it is healthier to remove all peels from fruits and vegetables before eating, so as not to ingest pesticides or other chemicals. The short answer: Yes, you can eat the skin on onion squash!

However, there are benefits to eating peeled versus unpeeled. For example, peeling reduces some caloric intake due to the removal of pulp; however, taking off the skin also takes away fiber that would otherwise nourish your body. Since part or most of the skin is usually eaten with fruit or vegetable, there is no significant difference in the number of nutrients you consume. So go ahead and enjoy your onion squash with the skin on!

The health benefits of onion squash include its ability to improve vision, boost the immune system, increase circulation, and protect against cancer. Onion squash is also a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. It is low in calories and contains no cholesterol or saturated fats.

When cooked, onion squash becomes tender and has a mild flavor that blends well with herbs and spices. This winter squash is available from September through December.

Clarisse Walters
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