Peter, Peter, Pumpkin-Eater

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A twist on eating your Thanksgiving leftovers…

Thanksgiving is now over and the holiday season has officially begun. Most of us have already let out our belts a few notches, but there is always room for more – especially leftovers! One Thanksgiving leftover that many people overlook are those cute tiny pumpkins used in table and home interior decorations. These cuties are not only edible, but delicious! This year we used them as an edible centerpiece for our Thanksgiving fare – they are that good!

Our Thanksgiving meal, all gluten free and from the backyard garden. Clockwise from top left, Jack-Be-Littles with quinoa and butternut squash stuffing, crabapple pie, roasted beet salad, braised rapini and swiss chard, orange rum sauce, and roasted duckling (not Mister E!).


Jack-Be-Little Pumpkins, or JBLs, are actually not pumpkins at all, but a type of acorn squash. They are easy to grow in small spaces, as the fruits are light enough to hold well on a trellis. This year, we tied the long vines of our JBLs to the chain link fence surrounding our backyard. Just one hill of JBLs produced enough “pumpkins” to share with friends, have a pumpkin-painting party for my daughters’ play-date group, and of course, eat!

JBLs adorn the backyard fence in the backyard garden. Earlier this fall, we had many of these beautiful garden spiders in the foreground… natural pest control!


JBLs are very easy to prepare. Simply cut around the stem, pry off the top, and scoop out the seeds. Add the seasonings of your choice, such as sea salt, butter, and brown sugar, or leave them plain for stuffing.

JBLs ready for baking.

Place the JBLs in a baking dish and add enough water to cover the bottom, then cover with aluminum foil. Bake the JBLs for ~30 minutes in a 400 degree oven, or until easily pricked with a fork. Eat straight up, or fill with your favorite stuffing (like my Gluten Free Quinoa and Butternut Squash Stuffing).


  1. Ma's little sis

    November 26, 2012 at 12:27 am

    Yet again you amaze me with your ideas!!! Keep it up big sis!

  2. Ma's Friend

    November 29, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Ma is a busy bee! Who gets to eat such a wonderful meal from their yard?? Wow!!
    Ma’s Friend~yum!

  3. Frank Riitano

    December 14, 2015 at 3:26 am

    Hi, I planted some of these and was wondering when are they best to be picked and consumed? Regards, Frank.

    • Cathy

      December 16, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Hi Frank. You’ll want to pick them before freezing weather arrives. I generally wait to harvest any winter squash until I’m sure they are ripe… well after the tendril closest to the stem has turned brown and dried. Winter squash will also become sweeter with some curing, so I generally wait until at least 30 days after harvest to eat them. Enjoy!

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