Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pie Pumpkins

Pie pumpkins are simply a subset of winter squash.  But, it turns out that we grew the varieties of winter squash that qualify as pie pumpkins in the field with the sweet corn this year.  This is fortunate since the field with the rest of the winter squash had a very bad year.

We have additional pie pumpkins that we would like to sell to you!  These are all heirloom varieties and we grow each because we appreciate their taste.  They can serve as decoration for quite some time before you have to cook them down and use them.  Price is 50 cents per pound.  Consider how much you might be spending for a jack o lantern.  Then consider that you are buying only for decoration.  You can decorate with these THEN eat them!

Sizes range from 5 pounds to 30 pounds.  All certified organic.

Amish Pie

The Amish pie is the most difficult to grow of the group, thus we have a small number of them.  These are are cucurbit maxima, thus they have hollow stems that vine borers love.  Essentially, pests regularly take out about 75% of our plants each season - assuming all else goes well.  You'll get alot out of one Amish Pie and you can easily freeze cooked squash if you find you have more than you need this time around.  Typically, these land in the 15-25 pound range.  A few smaller ones appear as well.  These do have smaller seed cavities, but that is true of most pie pumpkins.

Long Island Cheese

Long Island Cheese is probably the easiest of these pumpkins to work with, so we often recommend this one to people who are trying pumpkin pie from scratch for the first time.  A very nice, mild flavor also lends itself to all tasks and spicing depending on your recipe.  Range of sizes go from 8 pounds to 15 pounds.  These are c. moschata, so have solid stems.  As a result, we have less trouble with borers.  These have been our most reliable pie pumpkin for the last 7 years.  Enjoyable to grow.

Musquee de Provence

Don't let the looks fool you!  These are, in our opinion, the most tasty pumpkins you can find.  Flesh is incredibly dense and the weights of these can get up to 30 (or so) pounds.  Wonderfully spicy flavor.  Smells like a pumpkin pie (without adding any other ingredients) as you cook it down.  Once you get over the 'but pumpkins are orange' issue, you'll find them to be beautiful in their own way.  We love plopping one of these down in the kitchen during the fall as a centerpiece.  We usually cook it down in December, unless we really need one for Thanksgiving.

New England Pie

The New England Pie looks most like the pumpkin everyone pictures.  It is small (5-8 pounds) and is good for pie making.  Easy to use and easier to handle if you aren't prepared to freeze extra.  If we had to choose for taste, we might choose the others, but we wouldn't turn a pie made from this one away either.  It's all a matter of scale.  This one starts the scale with good taste.  That tells you how much we think of the others!  This seems to be as reliable as Long Island Cheese and is similarly prolific.  The advantage for us is the need for moderate sized pumpkins for our Farm Share CSA.  It takes alot of space to grow 120 pie pumpkins that are 15-25 pounds.  Then we have to figure out how to deliver them (along with other produce).  This is where this pumpkin earns its place with us.  It has quality for pie making and it fits the needs of our farm. 

Eating Pie Pumpkins
   We have instructions for cooking and using pumpkins on our website's recipe pages here.  Take the tab for winter squash.  Remember, you can eat a pie pumpkin like you might other squash.  In general, pie pumpkin flesh is less dry than many winter squash.  You may find that they are good for a soup or other dish, you need not use them only for pies.  But....we DO like pie!

Soup Recipes
  • 5 cups Pie Pumpkins
  • 1 quart Vegetable Or Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/3 cup Maple Syrup
  • Dash Of Nutmeg
  • Salt To Taste
  • Extra Cream, For Serving
Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place pumpkins on a cookie sheet and roast them until slightly shriveled and soft. Allow to cool slightly, then slice in half and carefully scoop out seeds and pulp. Scoop yummy flesh into a bowl. Set aside.
In a pot, heat up the pumpkin flesh with the stock and maple syrup until simmering. Mash out the big chunks, the transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor (or use an immersion blender) and puree until velvety smooth. Add cream and nutmeg, then blend again.
Reheat if you need to, or just go ahead and serve in a hollowed-out pumpkin of whatever size you'd like.

Low Fat Pumpkin Soup (
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 cups pureed pumpkin
  • 2 cups canned low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (or homemade)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups 1 percent milk (or use plain soy milk)


In a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat, saute onion in olive oil until translucent — about 3 minutes. Turn down the heat to medium , add spices and stir for another minute. Add pumpkin puree and broth. Simmer for 5 minutes. Now add milk and heat for another 5 minutes (don’t let it boil again or it will separate).
Serve with some cornbread and a big spinach salad (add sliced green apple, blue cheese crumbles and chopped pecans and toss with balsamic vinaigrette dressing) for a wonderful autumn meal.

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