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Vermont Garden Journal: Pumpkin And Other Squash For Pies

Pumpkin pie might be the go-to dessert at Thanksgiving, but there are many varieties of winter squash that also make for a delicious pie.
Pumpkin pie might be the go-to dessert at Thanksgiving, but there are many varieties of winter squash that also make for a delicious pie.

With Thanksgiving on the way, many of us are looking up recipes for pumpkin pie. While pumpkins certainly make great pies, other types of winter squash make wonderful pies, too.

First of all, if you're not interested in making pumpkin pie from scratch, use canned pumpkin. It's the flavor everyone has come to expect for pumpkin pie. The irony is, 85 percent of canned pumpkin on the market doesn't come from pumpkin at all, but rather from a winter squash called 'Dickinson.' It's related to butternut squash so, for a familiar-tasting, sweet pie, use butternut squash.

Hubbard is another choice of winter squash. It has a flavorful flesh but can be granular and not make for a smooth pie texture. Acorn squash is a close second to butternut and is smooth with a honey-like flavor. Other winter squashes that get honorable mentions include red kuri, Long Island cheese and long pie.

When making pies from scratch, roast your winter squash first. This brings out the natural flavors in the flesh and makes for a tastier pie filling. Save the seeds for roasting, cook until soft and blend with your favorite pumpkin pie spices and ingredients. 

Now for this week's tip: the recent cold weather has brought our long, warm fall to an abrupt end. Cover garlic and strawberry beds, if you haven't already, to protect them during winter. Use chopped leaves or straw mulch weighed down with branches.

Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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