27 Oct2010

Pumpkins & Squashes

by Marketman


When the air gets a little brisk and the leaves are turning orange, you can almost be certain there will be pumpkins and winter squashes in abundance in North America… Here are several photos taken at the Union Square Market in New York City last week.


Pumpkins of all shapes and sizes (some with “warts” even) were on display and for sale at what seemed like incredibly reasonable prices (say 60-80 cents per pound) in the middle of Manhattan! That is 1/3 or even 1/4th the price of pumpkins and decorative gourds in Manila, and they are “locally” grown as well. Go figure, are we that unproductive or do growers just make a lot more here? But frankly, I guess 99.9% of the Philippine population doesn’t care about local pumpkin prices, period. :)


Part of a pre-school class of kids on a visit to the market with their teacher(s). Have you ever noticed that pre-school teachers have a particular way of talking almost in slow motion and highly repetitive and extremely positive? I think pre-school teachers are in a special class of humans, and I know I personally could never handle more than 15 minutes in that job without losing it. :)


The varieties and colors of mini to giant pumpkins, gourds and squashes were truly mind-boggling.


Sister pointed out the three ginormous kalabasas on the wall in the photo above…


A table with harvested odds and ends.


When it’s pumpkin season, IT IS POURING PUMPKINS!


With hardly any luggage on my way home, I was tempted to buy a couple of these pumpkins to carve back home. But I resisted the temptation. If you want to see more pumpkins, check out these previous posts on marketmanila.com:

Real Pumpkins in Manila from Oct 2006, at incredibly reasonable prices that have since changed dramatically.
Stunning Gourds from March 2007, the timing was a bit odd if you ask me…
More ornamental gourds from October 2008
A 775 pound pumpkin! Enormous! :)
More Halloween Pumpkins & Gourds



  1. bubut says:

    ang sarap ihalo sa pinakbet!

    Oct 27, 2010 | 9:49 am


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  3. Gay says:

    I’ve always wanted to try pumpkin pie. Will kalabasa do?

    Oct 27, 2010 | 9:51 am

  4. Marketman says:

    Gay, I find kalabasa a bit watery for pumpkin pie, maybe if oven roasted first it will work. But actually, canned pumpkin is EXCELLENT in pie. This is one of just a few dishes where I tend to prefer the canned to fresh… :) Just jazz it up with a good rich crust and fresh spices in the mix. bubut, imagine serving a pinakbet in a giant kalabasa?

    Oct 27, 2010 | 9:57 am

  5. KUMAGCOW says:

    Plus NUTMEG Mm hehe

    Oct 27, 2010 | 9:59 am

  6. kikas_head says:

    I miss pumpkin patches…..huge thing when we were kids was to go down to Half Moon Bay to go to the pumpkin patch! I actually have been keeping my eyes out for a real pumpkin here but so far no luck. I am never in Makati though so that could have a lot to do with it.

    Yes! Canned pumpkin all the way. The cutting up a pumpkin and stewing it it just too much work. My first Thanksgiving here I was stunned by how easy it was to find canned pumpkin. Just remember that if you follow the recipe on the back of the can, double all the spices.

    Oct 27, 2010 | 10:28 am

  7. reeze says:

    I love the warty pumpkins…they call them knuckleheads (no joke). They’re so ugly, they’re adorable.

    Oct 27, 2010 | 10:36 am

  8. millet says:

    steam the kalabasa instead of boiling them, MM, so they don’t get watery. i do the same for camote.

    “with hardly any luggage on the way home…” ……..awww, really, MM? realllllyyy? ;-)

    Oct 27, 2010 | 11:20 am

  9. Marketman says:

    millet, what, shocking right? I could have brought another suitcase or two and roughly 100 pounds more but I had nothing to fill the maletas with… :) And what minor stuff I did check-in was mostly experimental packaging for food products that I ordered on line…

    Oct 27, 2010 | 11:26 am

  10. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    Not only is it pumpkin season, but pumpkin pie season as well.

    Oct 27, 2010 | 11:40 am

  11. Marketfan says:

    That knucklehead (something new I learned today) on the last photo doesn’t need carving anymore. It looks like a witch already with a pointy hat.

    Oct 27, 2010 | 12:34 pm

  12. kasseopeia says:

    “Have you ever noticed that pre-school teachers have a particular way of talking almost in slow motion and highly repetitive and extremely positive?”

    As an ex-preschool teacher, I would agree with the slow motion and highly repetitive part. But positive? Hmmm, maybe during class but afterwards… heck, I can only handle up to 6 hours per day of hyper-talk. Which is why I quit after four years.

    I love pumpkin and have bought an oven specifically to roast pumkin/kalabasa and experiment on that. The idea of roasting the kalabasa before making pie is actually interesting… I guess it’ll make the veggie sweeter, eh?

    Oct 27, 2010 | 1:05 pm

  13. betty q. says:

    ….and when you are done with the pumpkins, grate using the coarse grater on box grater and then make them into okoy…add thinly sliced onions /scallions, a bit of achuete for color and use tempura batter…just enough to bind them. Use 1 tbsp. only of the mixture…masarap!

    Then roast some and mash and make it into Pumpkin Bread. Roast the seeds and hull and top the Pumpkin Bread with it before baking! I finally cloned the Pumpkin Bread from Starbuck’s!

    Oct 27, 2010 | 3:24 pm

  14. sister says:

    The four tan colored, beautifully lobed pumpkins in the last photo are Long Island Cheese pumpkins, Cucurbita Moschata, an antique, heirloom pumpkin that I think makes the best pies. In the first photo are my second favorite, the reddish-orange potimarron or hokkaido (medium sized in the middle) which have a chestnut like flavour. Cut pumpkins in half, remove seeds and fiber, roast at 400 F for an hour or more until soft. Cool, scoop out flesh and mash, drain in a sieve. Extra puree freezes well and uncut pumpkins can be kept for months in a cool cellar.
    Canned pumpkin, of which two million or more cans are sold in November, makes a delicious pie but for an even better pie try a cheese or potimarron and use heavy cream. Canned pumpkin is processed from Dickenson pumpkins, closely related to butternut squash, both belonging to the moschata family.
    I’m surprised pumpkins are more expensive in Manila than in NYC, they need very little help to grow. Prices at Union Square are at the high end of the spectrum, the cheapest pumpkins are available at Walmart but I prefer to buy directly from the farmer.

    Oct 27, 2010 | 7:03 pm

  15. tonceq says:

    PUMPKINS! haha, i wonder if those pumpkins (stateside kalabasa?) would also go well if you also cook them with let’s say pinakbet or ginataang kalabasa? just wondering… :)

    Oct 27, 2010 | 9:26 pm

  16. Conci says:

    For homemade pumpkin puree, roast the pumpkin in 350 degrees for 60-90 minutes until tender. Then scoop out the flesh and transfer to a food processor. Process until completely smooth. To remedy the “watery-ness”, strain through cheesecloth or coffee filter.

    But, as Marketman said, canned pumpkin is excellent in pie. I would much rather go that route than make my own puree. Less mess in the kitchen.

    Oct 27, 2010 | 11:46 pm

  17. sister says:

    Betty Q: Try this filling for your next pumpkin pie and let me know if you like it or not:
    Pumpkin Maple Bourbon Pie Filling:
    2 c. drained mashed LI cheese pumkin or potimarron pumpkin or use canned
    1 1/4 c. heavy cream do not substitute milk
    1/4 c. grade B maple syrup
    2/3 c. maple sugar or white sugar
    1 tsp. each vanilla extract and cinnamon powder
    1/2 tsp. each ginger powder or juice
    1/4 tsp. ground cloves
    2 large eggs plus 2 eggyolks lightly beaten
    1 tbsp. cornstarch
    2 tbsp. bourbon
    Whisk all of the above until blended, refrigerate for 1 hr or more to rehydrate pumpkin.
    Pour into prepared 9″ pie crust placed on cookie sheet.
    Bake on lowest shelf of oven in a preheated 425F oven for 15 min. then lower temp to 350F and bake another 30 min. Turn off heat and leave pie in oven for 10 more min to prevent cracking. Middle should still jiggle lightly when pie is gently shaken.
    Cool before serving same day. Refrigerate leftover pie.

    Oct 28, 2010 | 12:25 am

  18. mary gubatina says:

    What could be more fun than being in Manhattan during the fall season & checking out pumpkins. It reminded me of all the times we took our kid to different pumpkin patches in our neck of the woods. Half Moon Bay is the best because it has the kiddie rides & you can buy fresh crabs as well. What restaurants in Manhattan did you check out this time?

    Oct 28, 2010 | 12:30 am

  19. leo says:

    Used to stay at 17th st corner 1st ave. I would walk to the Union Station every weekday morning to take the number 5 train to my work at the Bronx. The Barnes and Nobless store at the Union square was one of my weekend hangouts. I love those local produce that the farmers would bring from their upstate and New Jersey farms.

    Oct 28, 2010 | 6:16 am

  20. horti_guy says:

    “Go figure, are we that unproductive or do growers just make a lot more here? But frankly, I guess 99.9% of the Philippine population doesn’t care about local pumpkin prices, period.”

    Well, maybe kalabasa prices but not pumpkin since we’re not accustomed to consume these. I remember when I worked as a researcher for breeding kalabasas in the Philippines, the ideal kalabasa for the Philippine market (pinakbet type) were ones that were smaller (just the right size for consumer) had less deep groves (easier to peel) and had good taste/body/texture (maligat). I remember conducting a taste test for several hybrids: before I didn’t like kalabasas but after that I eventually liked them. The company that I’ve worked with successfully released several hybrids for the market. I also remember field testing some kabocha squashes from Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and Korea but most of them were unproductive due to viral and fungal diseases. I don’t know if the North American pumpkins could survive Philippine growing conditions.

    Oct 28, 2010 | 6:49 am

  21. Divine G. says:

    I saw this on tv and it was about pumpkins and the guest showed different kind of pumpkins and it was mentioned that some of the pumpkins are only good for decorating and carving and some are good for cooking. The thing is I was not really paying attention to it so I do not remember which was good for cooking and good for decorating only.

    Oct 28, 2010 | 8:16 am

  22. Ley says:

    I so love a post with Betty q’s and sister’s comment on it:)

    Oct 28, 2010 | 6:33 pm

  23. Ley says:

    Betty q, I tried going through MM’s archives to look for your email address but I miserably failed:(

    Oct 28, 2010 | 6:35 pm

  24. betty q. says:

    Ok, Ley…to save you some hair pulling…or par ahindi ka na maduling for you have more important tasks than going thru the archives…please just send me an e-mail…mymudcake@hotmail.com. I know I will be inundated with junk mail but I can always create another one!

    MM… I was browsing thru the archives in search of coconut sugar. At any rate…I just thought of clicking on to your Danish Butter cookies …coconut one. The holidays are coming and I would like to share with you my Danish Butter cookie recipe that I have been baking for years. During my apprenticeship days eons ago, I made these cookies and brought hem to work. The master baker and master cake decorator who to this day remains my dearest friend, asked me if he could take home the WHOLE tupperWARE of cookies and asked me for the recipe. That was the greatest thrill of my career…imagine me…a nobody there and was asked the recipe!I piped it using a giant shell Ateco tip. There are 2 recipes I USE…ONE FOR THE WREATH and the other recipe for the regular dAnish cookie. I think you can use ther regular recipe for your coconut. As soon as I find it in my tupperware, I will post it for you to try. I think this is the one you probably are looking for for it is crisp!

    OH’ SISTER! How I wish you were my Ate! I have made the pie crust and it is in the freezer. …will do the pie this week-end…am going to Galloways to buy the maple sugar. I know I can use white but I thought I will not deviate from your recipe and use the right stuff!

    Oct 29, 2010 | 1:51 am

  25. Connie C says:

    Yes Ley, I so agree about BettyQ’s and sister’s posts.

    So BettyQ, watch for something in the mail the next week or so.

    Will try sister’s recipe as well but dunno where to get maple sugar. Will ask the French baker nearby.

    Oct 29, 2010 | 3:51 am

  26. Marketman says:

    horti guy, yes they do grow the North American “pumpkin” in the philippines, I have posts on them, so they can thrive here. And they could be a lot cheaper, I suspect. :)

    Oct 29, 2010 | 3:18 pm

  27. sister says:

    Betty Q, and Connie C,
    Be forwarned the maple sugar has a slight bitter edge to it, you may want to do half maple and half white. I buy the maple sugar from the Deep Mountain VT. stand at Union Square, $16. a lb. Half white and half brown makes a very good substitute. More important is to use fresh roasted, well drained, mashed pumkin. I roasted a potimarron or hokkaido squash last night and it was very good, sweet, dense flesh and not watery at all. Do not overprocess pumpkin so it retains some texture in the pie and does not have the smoothness of leche flan.

    For contrast you might want to try making a Cornmeal crust:
    1 c. all purpose flour
    1/3 c. ground corn meal white or yellow
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tbsp. sugar
    1/2 c. cold unsalted butter
    2 tbsp.cold lard or Crisco
    2-3 tbsp. cold water

    Mix flour, cornmeal, salt and sugar.
    Cut in butter and lard or Crisco until you have lumps the size of peas.
    Sprinkle with 2 tbsp. water, toss and push into a shaggy ball. You might need the third tbsp. of water. Flatten into a thick disk.
    Chill for at least 30 min.
    Sprinkle with a tsp. of flour and roll out between 2 sheets of paper into 12″ circle. Good for one 9″ crust. Crimp overhang.

    Oct 29, 2010 | 3:45 pm

  28. Connie C says:

    Thanks much sister! Will have to make do with the substitute. The corn meal crust may have to wait another day ( crazy busy these days) even if it looks easy, but will save crust recipe for a more relaxed baking day.

    Did you say refrigerate leftover pie? Are you kidding?

    Oct 29, 2010 | 6:40 pm

  29. marilen says:

    Following your dictum, MM and also M. Stewart’s. Always have that camera handy in your pocket. The pictures are looovvely. I have a little ceramic collection of pumpkins and gourds and squashes and delight in them. Am feeling a tad sad because our local farmer’s market is done for the year and I will be missing the fresh produce and organic free range eggs, etc.

    Oct 29, 2010 | 8:30 pm

  30. betty q. says:

    Thanks for the input, Sister…just in time! Yup, I have planted potimarron about 3 yearas ago. I plant diffrent varieties every year. I have squashes mainly for soup(butternuts), hubbards for long term storage, kabochas for pinakbet, acorn for roasted squashes with chili lime vinaigrette (from Gourmet magazine). I also tried 1 year a Japanese squash and I gave a Japanese gardener a seedling…no comment about the squash!

    Yeah…ditto Connie C…leftovers? Oh, thanks for the package…don’t have it yet…will wait for the pony express?…better make Chai tea for the pony!

    Oct 30, 2010 | 4:29 am

  31. Connie C says:

    And while we are on the subject of squashes, here’s something you all may want to try,….. a little twist on a Martha Stewart recipe:


    Oct 30, 2010 | 8:21 am

  32. choy says:

    Hi MM, haven’t posted in 2 yrs, from the time I switched jobs & found myself totally immersed in the new one (first time to hold an ofc job). Matter of fact, your website didn’t recognize me anymore-I had to manually log in my name and e-mail (I might have used another one in the past).

    Anyhow, reason I’m posting again is I just arrived from a trip to Cebu and happened on Zuchon. I saw the clippings on the wall and spoke to your staff there and told them I used to be a regular (several times a day since 2005 or 2006, if memory serves). I got really excited because I had been following all your experiments with lechon from way back.

    So I ordered a couple of kilos of the frozen lechon and had half of it fried last night. It had me and my daughters swooning! I normally have my lechon with tuba vinegar, garlic & chilies, but to my horror, I found out we had run out! My daughter suggested red wine vinegar and I grudgingly acquiesced (no choice). Surprisingly, it was also good!

    My wife is still in Cebu & I informed her of my “discovery”. She vows to order some for her own delectation when she flies in tonight.

    Sorry if I posted out of topic, but I’m in a hurry and just wanted to re-connect. Thanks to your terrific lechon!

    By the way, your staff recognized me and i told them to give you my best. wink*

    Oct 30, 2010 | 12:50 pm

  33. Marketman says:

    “choy”, many thanks for trying the Zubuchon and leaving the comment above. I gather the crew were good and politely refused to reveal my “secret identity”… hahaha. And yes, red wine vinegar would work well with the fried lechon. The next time you are back in Cebu, try the BTC mall between 11am-12noon for the freshest, hot off the fire, lechon. It’s the best way to enjoy it. :)

    My crew are also huge fans of yours, dating from your basketball days, and one of them says he would die and go to heaven if you snuck him into a Manny Pacquiao fight and just hid him in the “booth”.

    Best regards, MM

    Oct 30, 2010 | 1:32 pm

  34. sister says:

    Betty Q,
    Yes, potimarron is very good, dense and sweet, with a definite chestnut flavor. Have to go to the farmers market this morning to get a few while they still have them. How big is this garden of yours? Seems you grow everthing!
    I have ordered potimarron seeds from Seed Savers so MM can try growing them at the lechonan in Cebu. Then he can try them and see it’s better than canned.

    Oct 30, 2010 | 5:56 pm

  35. choy says:

    Hahaha! You blow me away, MM. And you also just blew my cover! At least as far as you’re concerned. I guess you’re always in touch with your crew. Anyways…more power and… more food!

    Oct 30, 2010 | 7:07 pm

  36. millet says:

    MM, not just shocking..it gave me a fright! ;-) to this day, I have not met a Pinoy who came back from a US pleasure trip WITHOUT baggage….well, make that “excess baggage”.

    sister, i’ve never done cornmeal crus but I have a few kilos of cornmeal in the pantry that have been looking for other places to be aside from corndogs, pancakes, and cornbread and fish breading, so I will give this crust a try. my family does not like pumpkin pie, so what other fillings would go well with a cornmeal crust?q,

    bettyq, you’re looking for coco sugar? we’ve started using it with our coffee ever since we learned about its low glycemic index. i grew up eating a delicacy called “pakaskas” – i think it’s from laguna or batangas or thereabouts. it’s like a small disc of treacle or soft caramel that’s swathed in a coconut leaf. it’s been decades since i last had pakaskas, but haviong coco sugar now, i think it’s one and the same thing!

    Oct 31, 2010 | 12:28 pm

  37. Susie says:

    This is a recipe from one of my favorite NY chefs, Pichet Ong. He uses Asian kabocha squash…have used local kalabasa but made sure it has nice dense flesh. Still am a sucker for pumpkin pie, though. Libby’s in a can in great for us who don’t have access to varietal pumpkins. This recipe I found in the NY Times a few years ago.

    Kabocha Squash Pie
    Adapted from Pichet Ong

    TOTAL TIME 2 hours 30 minutes

    1 medium kabocha squash, about 3 pounds
    10 ounces (1 1/3 cups) cream cheese, at room temperature
    1 cup sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    3/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (about 1/4 of a nutmeg)
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 tablespoons brandy
    2 eggs at room temperature

    3/4 cup (2 ounces) walnuts
    1/2 cup, packed, light brown sugar
    3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 7 crackers)
    Grated zest of 1 lime
    3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
    Crème fraîche, for serving (optional)
    Ginger butterscotch sauce, for serving (see recipe).

    1.For pie filling, bring an inch of water to a boil in a large covered pot fitted with a steamer basket or rack. Put in squash, cover and steam, replenishing water as needed, until fork tender, about 1 hour. Turn squash over halfway through steaming. Set squash aside until cool enough to handle.
    2.Heat oven to 325 degrees. For crust, place walnuts on a baking tray, and toast in oven, stirring once or twice, until fragrant, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.
    3.In a food processor, combine walnuts with a few tablespoons brown sugar and pulse a few times, until nuts are coarsely ground. In a large bowl, whisk nuts with graham cracker crumbs, remaining brown sugar, lime zest, spices and salt. Pour melted butter over this mixture, and mix with your fingers until butter is distributed. Press evenly into a 10-inch glass pie plate. Bake crust until lightly browned, about 12 minutes, then set aside. Keep oven at 300 degrees.
    4.When squash is cool, cut it in half and scoop out seeds and pulp. Scoop squash flesh into a measuring cup until you have 2 1/2 cups.
    5.In a food processor, process cream cheese with sugar, spices and salt until light and smooth. Scrape down bowl, add squash and process until smooth. Mix in brandy and then eggs, one at a time. Finish mixing with a rubber spatula.
    6.Place pie plate on a baking sheet and scrape filling into crust. Bake until just set in center, about 1 hour. Let cool before serving, topped with crème fraîche and drizzled with butterscotch sauce.
    YIELD 8 servings

    Ginger Butterscotch Sauce
    Adapted from Pichet Ong

    TOTAL TIME 25 minutes (plus 30 minutes’ cooling)

    1 pound dark brown sugar
    2 1/2 ounces (about 4 inches) fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced into coins
    1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, pulp scraped
    10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed
    2 cups heavy cream
    3/4 teaspoon salt

    1.Place sugar, ginger and vanilla pod and pulp in a heavy pot set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is molten and fragrant with ginger and vanilla, about 8 minutes. (It won’t melt entirely but will be somewhat crumbly.) Add butter (stand back, it will foam up), and stir until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes.
    2.Pour cream and salt into pot, stirring, and bring to a simmer. Let sauce bubble until thickened, about 8 minutes. Let cool for at least 1/2 hour, then strain out ginger and vanilla pod. Warm sauce before serving. This sauce will keep for up to 2 weeks in refrigerator.
    YIELD 3 1/2 cups

    Oct 31, 2010 | 6:12 pm

  38. carol says:

    hhhmmmmmmmm yummyyyyy spcially if halo sa penakbet i miss phil food

    Nov 4, 2010 | 5:54 am


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