Pumpkin Pie and The Great Pumpkin Imposter


Two years ago, when we moved into our current home, our neighbors planted banana squash. I had no idea what kind of squash it was, but it was growing right through the fence into my yard. I watched it all summer. It looked like a weird summer squash. Around July, I decided to pick a small one and see what it was. It definitely was NOT a summer squash, so I threw it out. Two more were still growing, so I decided to wait and see what happened. (I know there might be some issues about whose squash it was and whether or not I should have picked it…don’t judge me, I was pregnant and not in my right mind.) Anyway, along about October, our neighbor knocked on our door holding a gigantic pinkish orangish squash (I had forgotten about the squash in the throes of having a baby in the house). He told me it was a banana squash. That was it; no “it tastes really good cooked like…” or anything. I decided to just play with it. I cut it open, baked it and pureed the orange pulp. It was oddly pumpkin-like, so I made pie using my pumpkin pie recipe. Everyone thought it was pumpkin. A light bulb went off in my brain, “Ha! I am going to fool everyone this year and save a ton of money!” I froze 8 containers of squash (enough for 16 pies) and made delicious pies. No one cared whether it came from a traditional round pumpkin or that freak of nature: the banana squash.

This year, when I went to plant my garden, I looked in vain for a banana squash start. I looked in vain for banana squash seeds. Even that retail king of seeds, Burpee, didn’t have banana squash. I began to wonder if I had to belong to a secret club to obtain the mysterious plant. I planted and harvested my garden with no banana squash, BUT! I found one at a roadside produce stand. In my frugally conniving mind, I decided then and there to harvest the seeds from the squash and plant them next year.

So, that leads me to today’s activities.

Here is the squash in question.

I weighed it to see how big it was: 15.35 pounds.

I cut it in half and scooped out all of the seeds. I decided that realistically, I would not ever plant more than 50 plants in my entire lifetime, so I threw out half of the seeds. Those I kept are now in a jar of water fermenting. I did a bit of Internet research on the best way to save seeds for gardening and that is the first step. I need to stir them every day for 4 days. The good seeds will sink to the bottom of the jar and the bad seeds, goop and yuck will stay on top. I will dry them on a paper towel (one of the very few uses I have for paper products) and then put the dried seeds in an envelope and freeze for 2 days. Then I will store them in a dry place until next year. It seems like a lot of work, but these are very elusive seeds.

I cut the squash up into uniformly sized pieces and poured about 1/4-1/2 inch of water in the pan. Then I covered the pans with foil. Right now, they are in my convection oven baking at 375 degrees for 2 hours or so. I will later peel them and put the pulp in my food processor and then divide into freezer bags. When they are cooled, I will freeze them. To use, I will defrost it in the fridge and then pretend I opened a 29 ounce can of Libby’s pumpkin. Here is our favorite recipe (and it is GOOD!)

1. Info for Pumpkin Pie and The Great Pumpkin Imposter

  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time 1 hr
  • Servings: 8
  • Calories: 314kcal

2. Ingredients for Pumpkin Pie and The Great Pumpkin Imposter

  • 1½ cups sugar (or 1 cup honey or real maple syrup + ½ cup sugar)
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups pumpkin
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice

3. Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl with a whisk or spoon.
  2. Pour into 2 prepared pie shells.
  3. Cover your pie edges if you don’t want them dark (I have 3 Mrs. Anderson’s pie shields and I love them).
  4. Bake 400 degrees 40 minutes.

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