According to the internets, the Long Pie Pumpkin was brought to the USA sometime in the 1800’s, where it was dubbed the Nantucket Pumpkin. Sometime after it was dubbed the Long Island Pie Pumpkin, which was in turn shortened to Long Pie Pumpkin. Apparently they were quite popular in Maine for a while. Anyone with grandparents from the area who gardened who might be able to confirm that? I’m curious. Supposedly lore states that they were “stacked up like firewood” for storage. I can believe that. I paraphrase, there are several pages out there with the history written out if you hit google and do a search for the Long Pie Pumpkin.
Like many heirloom varieties they faded in popularity as the general public was taught to expect pumpkins to be round and “normal” looking. However they have qualities that make them potentially ideal for growing in colder climates and shorter seasons, on top of being a tasty pie pumpkin with almost no “stringy-ness”, as well as storing well.
They’re listed as having an approx 95-105 day growth period. Actual reality is that the time spent on the vine can be quite a bit shorter than that implies. These pumpkins can be picked as soon as the “ground spot” turns orange (from yellow). Pick that green fruit, store in a cool place for long term storage, or in a warmer place for faster ripening, and they’ll continue to ripen just fine off the vine.
And my own experience backs that up. I planted out my seedlings in Mid-May. Admittedly we were having an abnormally warm spring and summer, but I could have picked the first “ripe enough” pumpkins before the end of July. Two months to produce fruit that could be picked and stored for future use. Now I left mine on the vine to ripen since we were having a decent summer. I pulled 6 little (orange) pumpkins off the vines that died early, but left the 4 big ones to finish up. Picked them back at the end of August/beginning of Sept. Here’s a photo of 3 of them:
The biggest of those three was 13.5 inches long and weighed in at 5.5 pounds. Not a bad size for a pie pumpkin!
The little pumpkins had a fairly soft skin and were easy to cut up for cooking and pureeing.
The big ones? OMG. I ended up resorting to a clever and soft headed 3lb mallet to get through the rind. THAT worked quite well. Every other knife I tried? Barely scored the skin, no matter how sharp it was. So if you grow these, be warned, vine ripened fruit have one hell of a rind!
That biggest pumpkin got processed first, so I kept track. I removed 1.5lbs of seeds/guts and stem ends before putting them into the oven to bake. When I pulled it back out of the oven I had 2 3/4lbs of puree. Not a bad harvest! However that’s where I hit my next problem.
I’ve not processed a lot of whole pumpkins, but I’ve done a few. Cut them in half, gut them, place them face down on a baking sheet with a pan of water in the bottom of the oven, and bake at 400degrees till you can pierce the skin with a fork. Right?
That hard rind struck again. Instead of softening, like every other pumpkin I’ve done, it hardened even further while the flesh softened and fell off. I over baked that first pumpkin by at least 20 minutes because I didn’t realize what was happening. Not a big deal, the puree tastes fine, but consider this your heads up! Now, I haven’t processed the other larger pumpkins, so I can’t swear that it wasn’t something I did wrong, but still….
Very tasty flesh. Not sure how to compare it to other pie pumpkins as I don’t have a ton of experience with others, but definitely tasty! I will absolutely grow them again, and will highly recommend them to other folks looking for a pumpkin to grow in a cold/short season summer!