Experience with Jack o'Lantern Pie?

digit(ID/WA)October 21, 2013

I made a pie with a jack o'lantern pumpkin last year. These aren't Connecticut field of Long Island Cheese pumpkins - just your standard jack o'lantern, and a hybrid at that! I used the "Libby pie recipe." It didn't come out all that wonderful.

I make squash pies every year. That has gone on since I was a kid (my responsibility & contribution at Thanksgiving :o). Way back then, I used Pink Banana squash but have used Buttercup squash up here. Always, the "Libby pie recipe." You can find that recipe on a can of Carnation milk.

My squash pies have always been very good . . . in my not so humble opinion. Big problems in the squash patch this year but the pumpkins did great. Any ideas how I might use a jack o'lantern pumpkin for pie, maybe just with a different recipe???


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david52 Zone 6

In my limited experience, the problem with jack o'lanterns is that they're way too watery - is there anyway you could dry the pulp out a bit?

Maybe just put chunks in the oven at 200 F for several hours?

I did ok on squash this year. I saved seed from Cha Cha last year, its supposed to be a hybrid, but you wouldn't know by looking at the off-spring. I've yet to taste one.....

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 3:42PM
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Nearly all of the squash "went the way of the rabbit" this year. Two Buttercup vines "hid out" in the zucchini after their recovery. The zucchini was planted in those outside beds after the rabbit attack.

Then, I had these hiding out in the pumpkins:

They are Marina De Chioggia squash. Weren't you the one who grew these one year, David?

There was also an Autumn Crown vine & 2 fruits. Both of these were nearly smothered by the pumpkins. I am not really sure if any are mature. The 12.5# green squash, there in the back, was not . . . watery and bland.

Maybe baking instead of boiling the pumpkin meat would be a way to go. I've got plenty to play with and nothing much else.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 5:38PM
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mstywoods(z5, Westminster, CO)

I've made pies from regular 'ol pumpkins, digit - they come out good, just not quite as flavorful as those made with the sugar pie pumpkins (tried one once, and was sold on using those!). But I think the secret for any pumpkin/squash you use is to be sure and let the water drain out overnight.

Here's what I do: cut the pumpkin in quarters or so and microwave them till soft (or sometimes I do this in the oven). I line a sieve with coffee filters and place over a large container. Then scoop out the pumpkin into a bowl and use a hand blender, or put in food processor, and process till it's a mush. Put this pulp into the lined sieve, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator overnight. Depending on what type of pumpkin, or squash, it is, you end up with a lot or a little juice that has drained out (jack-o-lanterns will leave more) - but in any case, the pulp left will be much more dense. Discard the juice that's drained and use that batch right away to make a pie, or put in ziplock bag and freeze.

And now I'm really in the mood for some!!


    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 7:13PM
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david52 Zone 6

Steve, I've grown Marina De Chioggia - some monster plant and a squash that weighed in over 20 lbs of just about solid flesh. It's a good squash.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 9:32PM
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Hey, Marj!

I can do that! The temptation of pie!

The Marina De Chioggia is likely to be back. Who knows? Maybe Benjamin Bunny doesn't like those squash seedlings!


    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 12:00AM
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Well, I suppose that slow baking - which then required nuking in the microwave - was not the way to go without the "draining overnight."

Still, I got the spices right!

Now, I've got lots more of these pumpkins so there may be opportunity for experimenting.

(Had a little of the whipped cream to stir in my coffee, too. ;o)


    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 6:01PM
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Beeone(4 N. Wyo.)

I've always used halloween type pumpkins for pie--thought that was what was used for years and have been tempted to try squash sometime, but haven't yet. Pumpkins have a lot more water than if you use squash, so depending on just how watery it is, I will use more pumpkin and less milk, then add powdered milk to offset the lower quantity of milk. I think my recipe calls for about 2 cups each of milk and pumpkin, so if the pumpkin is pretty watery (kind of like think soup), I'll use 4 cups pumpkin and about 2/3 cups of dried milk. If it is more like pudding, then maybe 3 cups pumpkin, 1 cup milk, and 1/3 cup powdered milk. Turns out great.

To minimize the water in the pumpkin, cut into large chunks, set on a rack in a baking dish skin up and bake so the water that comes out will collect on the bottom of the dish and the pumpkin will be drier. Otherwise, as soon as you take the pumpkins out of the oven, remove them from the dish to get them out of the water(which tends to re-absorb into the pumpkin as it cools), then scoop the pumpkin out of the shell when cool enough to handle. The Atlantic type giant pumpkins are probably the worst for wateriness, smaller pumpkins are better and it varies by year.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 1:26AM
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Good to know, Beeone!

I used to always have powdered milk on the shelf. I'd use it "in place of" bottled milk. Don't believe I ever thought of using it "with" milk or condensed milk.

The pie was well-received by those who had a slice. Can't decide what to move on to but I think it should be pumpkin pancakes to start . . . Back to the pie before too long. Single digit temperatures possible this weekend and I don't want to be moving those pumpkins to the basement, out of the garage!

edit: not potato but pumpkin pancakes! potato cakes are common currency around here.

This post was edited by digit on Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 16:00

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 2:13PM
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david52 Zone 6

I dunno if I mentioned it earlier, but we stumbled across a squash/pumpkin recipe that is pretty good.

Peel squash if you want, it isn't mandatory. Cut squash into one-inch cubes. Coat liberally with a mixture of olive oil, ground cumin, and hot pepper flakes, and bake on a foil-lined tray for 45-60 minutes, until a toothpick goes in easily.

Then eat with a bit of sour cream on the side. If you don't peel it, the skin is completely cooked and digestible.

I have no idea how that would work with watery pumpkin. But we've tried it with butternut squash, which isn't all that dense or flavorful, and it was pretty good.

Another one is done in a cast iron frying pan, using squash chunks - melt butter, throw in squash, fry until you see a wisp or two of smoke rising and it smells like its browning, take off the heat, squeeze in some fresh lemon and lime juice, and put in the oven at 325, letting it cook for an hour or so.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 11:03AM
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Well, I'd have to think about just browning with juice but . . . I think I can assure you, David - your butternut squash is more flavorful that my jack o-lanterns.

The cumin & pepper flakes make sense. I also like the sour cream idea!

The pumpkin pancakes (cinnamon & cloves) came out just fine, with some of my pear butter (cinnamon & ginger) on them. The sour cream might have worked well there, somehow!

I'm not saying I need to load them with spices. Sometimes mild flavors are good. It is just that they run a little too close to bland. I hope they are nutritious to make up a little for that.

I've only 6 pumpkins to go but this process of using only 1/3rd of the pulp & freezing the remainder may be getting me into trouble!


    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 11:44AM
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I did a little "loading with spices" today . . . a cream of pumpkin soup recipe but I used the one linked below.

Yeah, that's right, pumpkin with tuna fish! I substituted my baked pumpkin for the shredded zucchini, left out the bacon and added extra garlic. The pepper, black and red, added a lot to the taste!

I got a thumbs up and an "it's real good!" Yeah, it was!

Dessert's gonna be Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Bread. Here's the recipe: (LINK) That pumpkin bread is just fine . . .


Here is a link that might be useful: Tuna Zucchini Soup

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 4:12PM
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mstywoods(z5, Westminster, CO)

Hey digit - I finally got around to cooking up one of my jack 'o lantern pumpkins, and have the pulp draining in the fridge now. Looking forward to making some pie with it, but maybe I'll try some soup or bread too!

I used to live in Half Moon Bay, CA :) Went to a couple of their pumpkin festivals - they really had some GIANT ones that had to be trucked in for the weigh off. Really amazing! Very pretty town, Half Moon Bay - right on the ocean.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 7:04PM
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Marj, I'd like to see the town! I've had that recipe for quite awhile and it works with winter squash, too!

My grandmother is buried in St. Clara and I had family in San Jose and Palo Alto for a long time. I don't believe that anyone is still there . . . .

I was born in Carmel but once I'd traveled north of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, I think I lost my permit allowing me to cross the Carmel city boundary!

Marj, here's to you having lots of pulp to play with!


    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 8:43PM
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mstywoods(z5, Westminster, CO)

Oooo, Carmel?! Now THERE'S a really lovely place!! Expensive, but yes - very, very lovely. And yea, I bet they wouldn't let you back in upscale Carmel after the Garlic Festival! Ha Ha. I never went to the festival, but drove through Gilroy one time - and boy! You could REALLY smell that garlic from quite a ways!! So you /or your parents never took you to HMB while you lived in CA? I guess it'd be about a two hour drive. But there were many places in CA I never got to either - like Yosemite (what a shame).

I don't think they had digital cameras at the time I was living there ;), but I have some photo prints around somewhere taken from those days. 'course, you can see a lot of pics now by just going to google images.

On another note, so I had the seeds saved from my pumpkin and started wondering what the difference is between those and the pepitas you see in the store. So I googled it, and poked around on some of the sites. Then I stumbled across one saying that pumpkins are bred for different uses and that the best pumpkin for seeds is the Austrian Styrian pumpkin. The seeds in it are hull-less! Curious if anyone has tried growing that variety before. I found a site that sells the seeds: http://www.cherrygal.com/pumpkinstyrianheirloomseeds2011rare-p-13886.html. The flesh does look pretty ugly, you'll see in google images, so makes sense just to grow these for the seeds!


Added note: I got 6 cups of pulp out of my pumpkin, and about 1 1/2 - 2 cups water (didn't measure it the first time I poured it out of the bowl I was draining in, so guessing from the second amount I did measure). So got enough to make about 4 pies!

This post was edited by mstywoods on Sun, Nov 17, 13 at 10:07

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 9:54PM
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Marj, that entire Cucurbita clan is pretty darn interesting! I was trying to understand something about the cushaw pumpkin and drifted off to Native Seed Company's website (it is linked below). The Silver Edged & Veracruz Pepita varieties are also grown for seeds. That Austrian variety may be part of the reason that pumpkin seed oil is a fairly common cooking product in eastern Europe - at least, their use for cooking is something I was reading about.

Nearly 40 years ago, I grew a "Lady Godiva" squash that is supposed to have "naked seeds." It certainly did not. I was left with more to chew since I couldn't easily get the shell off the kernel. It was kind of disappointing and I never saw that variety offered again until recently. (I'll be looking out the window for her if some RMG neighbors decide to invite her to their garden. ;o)

Once my parents got us thru Gilroy (kidding), we just kept heading north. I returned to Arcata some years later and lived there for 3 years. I missed the coastal communities between San Fran and Monterey Bay.

(On that Native Seed webpage, you can go up to "Filter by Tag" box and search thru the other species of Cucurbitas they offer. :o)

Here is a link that might be useful: Native Seed Squash

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 10:14AM
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david52 Zone 6

There is a whole series of 'ethic' dishes made with those hull-less squash seeds - my favorite is crushed into paste and used as a thickener for soups and stews - with smoked fish or meat.

Some good, this.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 12:19PM
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I believe that David means "ethnic" . .

. but, I could be wrong. David may be concerned about my conduct looking out the window for Lady Godiva.

I'm about ready to slide another pumpkin into the oven: Here is a cellphone picture of the pumpkin bread.

the light wasn't too good 40 years ago, that day in the garden:

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 2:09PM
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mstywoods(z5, Westminster, CO)

Well, made a pie from some of my pulp - not too crazy about it. Used a classic pie recipe, and the J 'o L pulp just isn't very flavorful in a pie, IMO. I even doubled the spices, but still the texture and the pumpkin flavor just isn't as good as when using the sugar pie pumpkin (or even some of the canned stuff).

So I think I'll reserve the pulp I froze for breads, soups, smoothies, or the like. Still debating on the seeds ....


    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 6:39PM
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Well, I was surprised how well received it was as a substitute for the zucchini in that Tuna Zucchini Soup. (Of course, I was also surprised that tuna in soup was any good . . .)

Here was my biggest this year:

I'm going to link one of David's favorite seed sources (and a source for those Styrian seed pumpkins, I hope). I don't know what I will grow in 2014. . . Few of the winter squash varieties mature well enuf in my garden to keep into January and some have much shorter lifespans than that. It's frustrating. Pumpkins may be an alternative & I'm just gonna count my 2013 blessings.

There's no way I can get thru these pumpkins but as that guy who draws those Garfield the Cat cartoons says, "Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie."


Here is a link that might be useful: Sand Hill Preservation Squash (& pumpkin) Seed

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 9:50PM
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