by Cathy Bylinowski, Horticulture Instructor, MU Extension- Jackson County, MO
Pies! What a great way to enjoy the harvest from your own garden or to use these readily available fall vegetables from your local farmers markets and grocery stores.
Pie pumpkin - Cucurbita pepo
Pie pumpkins are cultivated varieties of pumpkins that have been selected for human consumption. Pumpkin and squash have been part of humans’ diets for thousands of years. Native Americans grew, preserved, and ate a variety of pumpkins and squashes, for thousands of years before the arrival of European colonists.
Early colonists adopted the use of pumpkins and squashes for a wide range of dishes including the pie and for soups, casseroles, breads, muffins, and more.
The orange color of pumpkin tells us that it is full of an important antioxidant called beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body.
Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protect against heart disease.
One cup of cooked pumpkin also contains fiber, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C and E.
Butternut Winter Squash Cucurbita moschata 'Butternut' –
Yes, butternut squash can be used to make pie! Perhaps you already prepare and serve it in soup or casserole recipes. Try using it to make pie. Its flavor will be subtly different than pumpkin or sweet potato pie. The texture and color will be slightly different, too. Like pumpkin, butternut squash is very nutritious.
A one-cup of cooked butternut squash provides more than 450% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for vitamin A and over 50% of the RDI for vitamin C.
Sweet potatoes Ipomoea batatas-
If you haven’t harvested your sweet potatoes yet, dig them up before a freeze. Store the tubers in a warm, humid place for four to six days to increase sugar content. Sweet potatoes can be used right from the garden, but they might not taste as sweet as those you purchase from grocery stores or farmers markets.
Here’s a link to a MU Extension horticulture publication on growing sweet potatoes. It is geared to small and commercial producers, but it still has a great deal of helpful information-
Enjoy pumpkin pie this November or try substituting cooked sweet potatoes or cooked butternut squash in this basic pumpkin pie recipe for a different yet equally tasty pie experience:
Light Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Rinse pie pumpkin, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash, whichever you decide to use, under running water. Scrub with a vegetable brush or a clean sponge to make sure soil and other contaminants are cleaned off the skin. Peel and cook at least enough for the recipe below.
(Canned pumpkin and sweet potatoes can be used, too. Make sure that you use unsweetened canned pumpkin or sweet potatoes since the recipe below includes sugar. Occasionally canned or frozen butternut squash can be found in the grocery store, too.)
One pie crust, uncooked
1/8 teaspoon cloves
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups of cooked and mashed pumpkin, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash
½ teaspoon cinnamon
13 oz. can evaporated skim milk
½ teaspoon ginger
3 egg whites
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1. Wash hands and clean working surfaces.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
3. Place pie crust dough in pie pan and crimp edges.
4. Mix all remaining ingredients in large mixing bowl. Pour into pie crust.
5. Bake 55 to 60 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool before serving and refrigerate any leftovers.
Here’s the link to the webpage for the original recipe and to more great recipes- https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/nc146
Interested in growing butternut squash, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes next year? Consult the Vegetable Planting Calendar (https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/g6201) and Master Gardener Core Manual Chapter 5( https://extension.missouri.edu/mg5) for more information. Fall and winter is a great time to start planning your 2022 garden!