Monday, November 14, 2016

Will The Real Pumpkin Pie Please Stand Up?

This is the first year I've grown pumpkins that were specifically labeled "pie pumpkins."  Previously, I've planted jack o' lantern pumpkins for decoration and carving and Red Kuri squash to use as . . . well, cooked squash, and also to use in making "pumpkin" pies.

My squash pies, although tasty, have not had a lot of luck masquerading as the traditional Thanksgiving pie in our household.


I made my first pie yesterday from those same pie pumpkins I grew this past season. 

The color of my pumpkin puree was lighter than of that purchased under good ol' Mrs. L's brand.  Also, I thought my pie mixture seemed lighter and filled the pie shell a smidge bit more than the commercially canned variety.  It certainly rose up higher while baking, but then did settle down as it cooled.


So what was the verdict on the flavor?  Well, only Papa Pea and I have sampled it so far, but we though it was (drum roll, please) . . . GREAT!  (Whadda relief considering how much of the pureed pumpkin I put by!)

I read a report a while back (I can't remember where so I suppose one can't consider it very reliable) that said commercially canned pumpkin actually contains quite a bit of squash.  I checked out the label on a can of L's in the grocery store recently and the wrapper reads "100% pumpkin" and the only ingredient listed is "pumpkin."  That's it.  Nuthin' else.

But aren't pumpkins of the squash family?  Is that how they might get around the ingredient listing?  Why would squash be used as part of the mix?  I wouldn't think squash would be more economical easier to grow or process than actual pumpkins.  Hmmmm, now that I think of it, I do remember the article saying certain varieties of squash have less "string" in them and are sweeter flavored than pumpkins.

At any rate, I'm very pleased with the pie pumpkins I grew, processed and have stashed away.  Now if I just had a dairy animal from which to get enough cream to whip for all these pumpkin pies I'll be making . . .

30 comments:

  1. Looks great! I put a bit in the freezer this year too.

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    1. Kristina - Now that my first pie turned out so well, I'm eager to make some pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting. (Oh, good heavens! I can feel the winter hibernating pounds coming on already!!)

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  2. I saw a show where they said the word pumpkin is just a culinary term and there actually is no such thing as "pumpkins". Just a type of squash we identify as pumpkin. Not sure if it's true or not.

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    1. flowerlover - I'm sure you have something there . . . squashes, pumpkins, maybe even gourds, too? I'm betting they're all of the same genus.

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  3. Oh boy! I'll bring the heavy cream (organic, of course!!)
    YUM!

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    1. Sue - Hurry, hurry, hurry! It's going fast!!

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  4. Save me some of that pie! I'll be right up with Sue... :)

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    1. Susan - Ummmm, how do I tell you this? Hubby had a piece for breakfast, daughter and her fella grabbed a piece each on the go as they came through this morning and a friend who offered to do some wood work with Papa Pea this morning stayed for a bowl of soup and piece of pie for lunch . . . all gone!

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  5. Yum! That looks delicious! I've been making my pies from pie pumpkins for several years and everyone agrees they like them better.

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    1. Jan - I'm thinking I'm with you on that! Even though I managed to get only one piece of this first one (!), I really liked it!

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  6. I have a friend who grew up next to a canning factory. The company is well known and cans lots of pumpkin pie filling. She says that she saw truckloads of red kuri squash rolled in and unloaded at the cannery. Never did she see a pumpkin. For 20+ years, I baked "pumpkin" pies with red kuri squash. It's a nice manageable size with great color/flavor. Easy to grow. I love how pumpkins look as festive autumn decorations and out in the field.-M

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    1. M - Well, that is very interesting that substituting certain squashes for pumpkins has been going on for quite a while now.
      I do think pie pumpkins will be an every year thing in my garden now. IF they do as well if we don't have our much hotter-than-usual summers as a regular thing. Like so many other crops, pumpkins do like the heat, as you know.

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  7. Mama Pea,

    Pie pumpkins are the cat's meow when growing your pumpkins and when baking.
    I'm already drooling, where's my piece of pie? I can bring the fresh cream.

    Hugs,
    Sandy

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    1. Sandy - If I see that big, beautiful motor home pulling into our driveway, I'll know who it is!! (With cream!) ;o)

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  8. Yep, a pumpkin is a squash. We tend to use winter squash for savoury dishes over here. I'd be keen to try a pie like that though - point me to a good recipe please!

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    1. Kev - Four people tried my "pie pumpkin" pie and we all thought it was really good. Here's the recipe I used:

      2 eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 t cinnamon, 1/2 t ginger, 1/4 t cloves, 1/2 t salt, 1 - 12 oz. can evaporated milk, 2 cups homegrown pumpkin puree. Bake in 425° oven for 15 min., then 350° for 45 min. more.

      Enjoy!

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  9. I've never done well with pumpkins but can grow cushaw squash well. Folks around here even call it "cushaw pumpkin" even though it technically isn't. It does make pretty good pumpkin-substitute pies. I don't have much luck using it for savory dishes, however, because it's a bit too sweet. But I won't complain because I'm happy to have it. (It makes an excellent "pumpkin" butter.)

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    1. Leigh - In my research I've found the commercial pumpkin canneries are using different squash varieties because they are "sweeter" than pumpkins. Yep, we have to have everything sweeter and sweeter! :o(

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  10. I have read somewhere that the Long Island Cheese squash/pumpkins that I grow are what are used commercially for canning. I doubt that because they aren't the color of the canned ones in the store. Mine are sweeter and I cut the sugar a bit when making pies. We just had one a few weeks ago. I still have my 2016 harvest to store.

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    1. Glenda - Doesn't it make you feel a certain kind of satisfaction every time you realize you can produce in your own garden something that you never have to purchase in the grocery store again? I love that!

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  11. Sawyer wants me to bake a pumpkin pie for Thsnksgiving. I've never done that before....Lord help us all. I'll be using the canned stuff. I hope it doesn't taste like sweet potatoes...ack, gag, nearly puke. Lol! I hate sweet potatoes. But if it takes like squash, we're good to go!

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    1. Laurie - I don't think a pumpkin pie tastes like either sweet potatoes or squash. In the past when I've made mine from Red Kuri squash I never got the flavor of squash either. Using squash didn't taste like canned pumpkin pie filling, I didn't think though either. Good luck with yours . . . I'm betting it will taste just fine!

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  12. Mama Pea, I've been growing Winter Luxury pie pumpkins for the past several years and they are wonderful. My husband can't eat most pumpkin as it bothers his stomach but he can eat the Winter Luxury. Not only do they taste wonderful, they're extra pretty to look at. I also live in upstate NY so Leigh may want to try them.

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  13. Linda - I love the name Winter Luxury! The ones I planted this year were Baby Pam. Although I was very pleased with them, I think I'll look in the new seed catalogs when they come for your Winter Luxury.

    Leigh is in Southern Appalachia so has much different growing conditions that we who are up here in the more northern climates.

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  14. Its a beautiful pie...Ralph's mother always used Cushaw squash for her pumpkin pie and I have tasted it, no difference that i could tell...is it in the spicing of the puree?

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    1. Fiona - I use the same spices whether I've used pumpkin or squash so I'm betting you're right . . . it's the spices that make the "pumpkin" pie flavor!

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  15. Good job! I always double the spices on mine so it's really flavorful. Nice and healthy since you grew it too!

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    1. LHinB - Double the spices! Whoa! I never thought of doing that. Now you've piqued my interest and I just may have to try that!

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