Home & Garden

What to do with post-Halloween pumpkins (or other squash)

Squash are very versatile vegetables (fruit, actually) to have around. Pumpkins are a subgroup of squash, vaguely defined. The large ones sold for Halloween are often not very good for eating. Some small varieties are grown for baking. The ‘pumpkin’ you buy in a can is actually one or more varieties of squash. Libby, which is the largest distributor of canned pumpkin, has actually developed their own variety. 

Different varieties of squash have different flavor profiles and textures, so they’re not completely interchangeable. Some have a drier texture than others, all have varying degrees of sweetness. Spaghetti squash is unique with its fibrous texture and bland taste.

For ‘pumpkin’ recipes you want a sweet, fiber-free and moist squash. Butternut, Red Kuri, or Hubbard are a few of the best substitutions. Squash is often seen on the Thanksgiving table, but it shouldn’t be forgotten the rest of the year. It can find its way into any part of the meal, any time of day.

■ Bite-sized appetizer, like bacon-wrapped squash or mini-tarts
■ Salad – warm squash cubes tossed with sweet-tangy dressing and mixed with anything you like – greens, herbs, pomegranate seeds, cranberries…
■ Dip or Spread – you can get fancy by cutting the top off a large squash and scooping out the pulp and meat, leaving a shell to use as your serving dish, as in this recipe tinyurl.com/yckjvwpe
■ Soup – choose a non-fibrous variety for athe smoothest soup.
■ Stand-alone veggie
■ Stuffing
■ Risotto
■ Try this recipe for sourdough stuffing with squash: https://tinyurl.com/3y8ja2r3
■ Added to chili, stew
■ Casseroles
■ Gnocchi
■ Check out this brunch or supper dish: tinyurl.com/wcrx9nfr
■ Substitute any leftover mashed squash for the canned pumpkin in this recipe:

Crunchy “Pumpkin” Ice Cream Pie

prepared graham cracker crumb crust

Makes 8 servings

  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin or butternut squash 
  • 2 tablespoons molasses, preferably mild
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 ounces peanut brittle


  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3-4 drops of lemon juice (optional)
  • reserved crushed brittle

■ Line a strainer with paper towels or cheesecloth. Put squash in a strainer and allow it to drain for at least an hour before continuing. Chill crust in freezer.

■ Place ice cream in a large mixing bowl and place in the refrigerator until soft enough to beat with a mixer, about 10 minutes.

■ In the meantime, coarsely crush peanut brittle with a wooden mallet or rolling pin. Measure out 1/2 cup and set aside. Continue to crush the remainder to about the size of coarse salt crystals. Set aside for garnish. Combine squash, molasses, sugar and spices.

■ When ice cream is soft enough, add the pumpkin and whip briefly, until almost mixed. (It is not necessary to completely mix the pumpkin and ice cream – some swirls are OK). Stir in 1/2 cup peanut brittle. Quickly pour into pie shell and freeze for at least four hours. (Pie can be wrapped once the top is frozen).

■ About 10 minutes before serving, remove pie from the freezer to make it easier to cut. Whip cream with remaining ingredients, except brittle, until very thick. Spread over pie, sprinkle with reserved brittle. Refreeze leftovers right away. 



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