Squash and pumpkins are at the center of sweet and savory autumn dishes.
The crisp mornings and warm days of fall call for savory meals and sweet treats made with pumpkins and winter squash. From butterkin, acorn and delicata to sugar pie, fairytale and Galeux d’Eysines, even a seasoned baker can find a new variety to spice up a comforting dish for fall gatherings.
Follow our easy tips, bake a new treat and be adventurous when picking your pumpkins and squash this year.
Storing Pumpkin and Squash:
Undamaged winter squash can last up to three months if stored properly. Here’s what to do:
- Wipe with water before storing.
- Avoid freezing temperatures.
- Store in single layers in a dry, aerated area.
- If in a basement, place on a cardboard or wood board to protect it from the changing temperature of the concrete, which promotes decay.
- Keep stems intact to protect from rotting.
- For carved jack-o’-lanterns, spray lime juice on the cut areas. Or, after carving, dunk pumpkins into a bucket with a solution of three gallons of water plus three teaspoons of bleach (or spray the solution inside the pumpkin).
Preparing Pumpkin and Squash
Elizabeth Kriel, promotions and digital specialist for Jerry’s Foods, shares a few of her favorite ways to eat butternut squash—plus a tip for peeling.
Poke holes in the squash with a fork. Cut off both ends. Microwave for 2–3 minutes. Let cool, and peel with a vegetable peeler or knife.
“I love cooking with butternut squash for many reasons,” says Kriel. “It’s versatile and can be roasted, steamed, sautéed, spiralized, mashed or blended into soup. And it’s filled with antioxidants, minerals, fiber and vitamins A and C—but its sweet, nutty flavor allows me to sneak it into my kids’ meals.”
Preserving Pumpkin and Squash:
Freezing the flesh or puree is the safest and easiest method for preserving winter squash. The United States Department of Agriculture does not recommend canning mashed or pureed squash or pumpkin.
Cut in half or fourths. Scrape out seeds and pulp with a spoon. Place squash/pumpkin pieces on a baking sheet. Roast at 350 F until fork tender, about 45 minutes. Remove skin. In small batches, place flesh in a food processor, and pulse into puree. Spoon 1-cup portions of puree into freezer bags or containers. Store in the freezer.
Straight from the Farm
To learn more about winter squash, we caught up with farmers Peter and Carmen Marshall, the husband-and-wife team of Peter’s Pumpkins and Carmen’s Corn near Shakopee. (You can also find them at Centennial Lakes Farmers Market.) Operating since 1999, they grow produce on 60 acres, including 800 apple orchard trees.
We discovered that winter squash is even more versatile than we thought. “Except for spaghetti squash, jack-o’-lantern, jack-be-little and white Caspar pumpkins, you can interchange most squash and pumpkins for baking or cooking,” Peter says. Below, Peter and Carmen share customer favorites with us.
Large, round, tapered. Hard shell can be dark green, orange or gray-blue. Rough skin. Sweet. Use for pies and savory dishes.
Small watermelon shape with yellow shell. Stringy strands of flesh. Use to make spaghetti in place of pasta.
Buttercup and Ambercup
A green shell with gray stripes and orange shell, respectively. Sweet, creamy, dense.
Round seed cavity on the bottom, tapered neck and light brown shell. Sweet like a sweet potato.
Acorn shape with a green, white or orange shell. Nutty, sweet flavor. Slightly stringy. Excellent for stuffing and baking.
Oblong cylinder shape with longitudinal green stripes. Very sweet. Perfect for pie.
Acorn shape with festive orange, green and yellow shell.
Small, round and ivory-colored with dark green stripes. Very sweet. Great stuffed for individual meals.
Light brown/orange and round. A cross between a butternut squash and a pumpkin. Smooth, sweet flesh. Good for making cakes, cookies and pies.
Round with a flat top and bottom. Salmon pink shell covered in knobby, peanut-like bumps.
Bulbous base with turban-like cap. Multi-colored and striped shell in green, orange, red and yellow. Sweet, rich.
Seemingly picked from Cinderella’s magical garden. Flat, round, squatty. Shell transforms from dark green to a beautiful light tan, mahogany hue. Light and sweet.
Long Island Cheese
Round and flat on both sides, with light yellow-orange shell. Tender, creamy, sweet.
Small, round and orange. Sweet and nutty flesh, notorious for baking pumpkin pie.
Let’s Get Cookin’
Ready to cook with some of these autumnal favorites? Below we have an unexpected autumn pie recipe. But you can also head to edinamag.com for a few more recipes, both sweet and savory—including the Sheet Pan Autumn Chops pictured on page 43, another fall dessert and homemade dog treats.
Courtesy of Rosio Lopez, Carmen Marshall’s sister from Peru
Makes 9-inch pie
Pastry for Single-Crust Pie:
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp. sugar
- pinch of salt
- 9 Tbsp. butter
- 1 cup ice-cold water
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ginger powder
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups squash puree (butternut or hubbard)
- 1 1/4 cups evaporated milk or cream
Heat oven to 400 F. Prepare pie crust by cutting butter into cubes, and return them to the refrigerator for 15 minutes so the cubes are very cold. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar and salt. Add butter in cubes, and work with a fork (do not use your hands), incorporating until you get crumbs about the size of a pea. Add 1/4 cup ice-cold water. Mix with a spatula to form a ball of dough. If necessary, add more cold water by tablespoons. Knead gently about 10 times, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours before using.
Gently roll the dough around the rolling pin, and transfer it right-side up onto 9-inch pie pan. Unroll, easing dough into the bottom of the pie pan, and cook for 10–12 minutes, until lightly golden. In a large bowl, mix sugar, flour and spices. Stir. In another bowl mix eggs, squash puree and evaporated milk. Pour the liquids over the sugar mixture. Mix well. Fill the baked dough with the squash mixture. Bake for 45–50 minutes or until set.
Sheet Pan Autumn Chops
Courtesy of Jerry’s Foods
- 5 (5-6 oz.) pork chops
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 ½ Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp. thyme, minced
- 1 Tbsp. sage, minced
- 1 Tbsp. rosemary, minced
- 16 oz. squash, cubed
- 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, sliced
- 2 medium apples, sliced
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
Heat oven to 450°F. Combine 2 Tbsp olive oil, vinegar, garlic and herbs in large resealable bag. Add pork chops to bag and seal. Let mixture sit while prepping the rest of the recipe.
Place squash, Brussels sprouts and apples on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, spread evenly on pan.
Set chops over veggies and apples and sprinkle with pieces of bacon. Roast until golden brown and chops are cooked through, about 35-40 minutes.
Pumpkin Butterscotch Cake with Maple Icing
Courtesy of RandomSweets.com
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ¾ cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup pure pumpkin
- ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 10-oz. package cinnamon baking chips
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
- 3 Tbsp. whole or 2% milk
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- ½ tsp. maple flavoring
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 12-cup Bundt pan.
Melt butterscotch chips over low heat on stove or in microwave, stirring in intervals just until smooth. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, vanilla and melted butterscotch chips. Gradually stir the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture, stirring until well combined. Fold in cinnamon chips. Pour into Bundt pan.
Bake at 350° for 60-65 minutes for a stoneware pan or 50-60 minutes for a metal pan, or until toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven, turn the Bundt pan upside down onto a cooling rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Lift pan off cake.
Let cake cool another 30 minutes. Whip the icing ingredients together. Drizzle over cooled cake. Store in an airtight container.
Treats for Fido
Pass the pumpkin to your beloved canines. The fiber-rich nutrients are beneficial for dogs, aiding in digestion, supporting eye health and contributing to a shinier coat. (Do not use canned pumpkin pie mix as it may contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.)
Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats
Recipe courtesy of randomsweets.com
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup natural peanut butter (NO xylitol or sweetener substitutes)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Combine pumpkin, eggs and peanut butter in large bowl. Stir until combined. Stir in flour and cinnamon.
Separate dough into two flat disks and wrap each in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 350°F.
Unwrap dough and roll to one-quarter inch on a lightly (wheat) floured surface. Use cookie cutter to cut out shapes and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake 20–40 minutes (soft–crunchy). Cool on rack and store in airtight container.
Ok, we’ll give you one more recipe.
Remember this Instant Pot Butternut Squash Minestrone from our January 2020 issue? It’s the perfect dinner for when fall turns into winter!