Do you decorate your entrance way with beautiful pumpkins, squashes, and gourds? What do you do with them after Halloween? Many folks toss the jack o lanterns and let the remaining squashes and pumpkins linger until Thanksgiving. What then?
Cloverfields Farm & Kitchen's Janine Washle says because of their formidable size in many cases, most of them are thrown out. But with a few handy tips, these wonderful vegetables are easy to cut, then freeze for a winters' worth of delicious flesh. What is truly edible? Most are except for those pumpkins found in the Cucurbita Moschata that are considered carving pumpkins.
There are 4 species of cucurbita:
Argyrosperma this species has one member, the Cushaw squash.
Moschata is home to carving pumpkins, butternut squash, and the cheese pumpkin with a cultivar known as Dickinson, more about that later.
Maxima of which the Hubbard squash is a member.
Pepo that includes summer squashes, gourds, and culinary pumpkins.
If breaking down squashes and pumpkins is too much for you. Ask yourself the following, is canned pumpkin really pumpkin? "100% pure pumpkin" claims Libby's who processes over 85% of the world's pumpkins each year. They state that only a special variety of pumpkin called the Dickinson is used in their products. But is the Dickinson really pumpkin? Many experts would disagree. The most obvious point of argument is that the outside skin is not orange. The Dickinson with its' tan skin is a member of C. Moschata in the same family as carving pumpkins and butternut squash.
The flesh of the Dickinson is orange just like pumpkin, high in Vitamin A like pumpkin, but with tan skin like the butternut squash. One other big plus is the flesh is denser and not as watery as pumpkin. So what is the big deal? The culinary pumpkins, those with tasty flesh, are in the Cucurbita species of Pepo.
So is the Dickinson a squash or a pumpkin? Based on the well researched information, it is not a pumpkin from a botanical point of view, but what really matters to me is taste. And with that the Dickinson has my vote. Another good choice for decoration then consumption is the Hubbard squash. With its' beautiful slate blue skin and gorgeous orange flesh it is easily substituted for traditional pumpkin as well. If you are a purist, seek out the sugar pumpkin with its sweeter flesh. Counter the stringy cooked flesh by pulsing it in a food processor. This will provide a smooth puree with which to make a variety of tasty baked goods, soups even side dishes.
In this culinary discourse of pumpkin vs squash, the conclusion is use what you like. The results will be delicious.
Squash Pie (sweet)
Use Cushaw flesh or acorn squash flesh. The yellow more delicate flavor and taste allow the orange and cinnamon to shine through. It also keeps it from being confused with pumpkin or sweet potato pies.
1 9" pie crust
1 cup cooked mashed winter squash
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 TB fresh orange juice
1-1/2 tsp fresh orange zest
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 TB butter, cut into small bits
Pre-bake pie crust in a preheated 375 degree oven for 8 minutes until set but not colored. Remove from oven and set aside. Adjust oven heat to 425 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, combine squash, heavy cream, brown sugar, eggs, orange juice, zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Pour into prepared pie shell. Dot top with bits of butter.
Bake in oven for 25 minutes. Turn down heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 30-35 minutes or until filling is set (not jiggly). Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Serve at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers.
A moist cornbread so special it could be part of your Thanksgiving celebration.
1-1/4 cups cornmeal
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp salt
½ cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
4 TB butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 cup cooked pumpkin
1/3 cup whole milk
½ cup chopped pecans, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scald cornmeal by placing cornmeal in a large bowl and pouring boiling water over it to cover. Let sit for 10 minutes. Pour off water through a fine mesh strainer. "Bounce" strainer several times to remove excess water.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in scalded cornmeal.
In another bowl combine, butter, eggs, pumpkin, and milk. Stir into dry ingredients just until all is moistened. Stir in nuts if using. Pour into a greased 13 x 9 baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until edges pull away from sides of pan. Cool before cutting.
FREE RECIPE BOOKLET!
Cloverfields Farm and Kitchen also has a special Gourds & Squash Recipe Booklet available by email. To ask for a complimentary copy, just email Janine Washle at email@example.com
To find Cloverfields Farm & Kitchen on Facebook: click here.
Janine Washle and her family live at the Cloverfields Farm and Kitchen in Big Clifty, Kentucky in Hardin County. CloverFields Farm & Kitchen, part of a century old farmstead, is our home and business. The McGuffin house, the original farmhouse, is a registered state landmark. CloverFields Farm has a prosperous farming history. They are continuing this rural story in their own unique way by the addition of CloverFields Kitchen a place to explore the past through food and merge it with our modern lifestyles.