The ramblings of an Eternal Student of Life
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Sunday, December 18, 2016
Food / Drink ...

I made my bi-monthly trip to the Paterson Food Market over the weekend, despite the chills of mid-December. Being something of a vegetarian foodie, I’m always on the look-out for an unfamilar variety of produce to try (last time it was orange and purple cauliflower; this time, they only had regular white cauliflower, but it was selling at 2 heads for $1.00 — try to find a price like that in your suburban supermarket!). It turns out that they did have something new in store for me — i.e., left-over pumpkins from Halloween at 10 cents per pound.

Well that was interesting enough, but I’ve read on numerous occasions that the pumpkins that you carve into a jack-o-lantern in late October are not very edible (although not poisonous). I took a closer look at the pumpkin bin, and it turned out that these pumpkins were not the usual decorative variety that people place on their front steps and nasty kids smash on the sidewalk every autumn. They were smaller and rounder, and had stickers on them proclaiming them to be “pie pumpkins”. I was a bit dubious at first, but at 10 cents a pound, the round pumpkin seemed worth a shot. So I bought one, then checked out its bona fides on-line once I got home.

Yes, it turns out that there is such a thing as a pie pumpkin. As you might guess, it’s the kind of pumpkin that you can use to make pumpkin pie. It has a thicker meat inside its skin, so if you bake a pie pumpkin so as to soften its interior, you can peel off the skin and turn the inside into a puree. (Well, first you have to cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds from the middle.) You will then have what you need for your next home-made pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread.

So I cut my pie pumpkin in two and scooped the seeds out from the middle, and then wrapped the two halves in aluminum foil. I then baked the two halves in a 350-375 degree oven for about 45 minutes. I then let the two halves cool a bit, removed the foil, and prepared to discard the skin. But wait — actually, the skin was pretty soft, no worse than what you have when you prepare acorn squash or kabocha squash this way. So I took a fork and cut off a corner and tasted it. Hey, it wasn’t bad, even with the skin intact — it was quite similar to kabocha. With some olive oil and a little bit of maple syrup or even corn syrup, baked pumpkin quarters would be just as good as most any other winter squash that I regularly as part of my meals.

So, I kept the skin on, cut the halves up, and I now have the quartered pumpkin halves bagged in my freezer. I look forward to having baked pie pumpkin as a side-dish over the next two weeks. Not a bad deal at 10 cents a pound, given that butternut squash goes for $1.29 per pound sometimes at the local Shop-Rite. So now I know that pie pumpkins are used to make pumpkin pie, but are good for more than just that. Ah yes, pie pumpkins — the ones that you don’t want to smash (with all due apologies to Billy Corgan and company).

PS, baked pie pumpkin quarters do indeed taste good! They are something like kabocha squash, but very mellow tasting, quite nice.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 9:09 pm      

  1. Jim, Glad you found something you enjoy that’s different. I did not know either that certain pumpkins were especially “made” in the growing for pies. It’s a “who knew?” to me. So, glad you found them and not only have the satisfaction of finding something new but also of getting it at a good price. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — December 19, 2016 @ 10:14 am

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