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Squash the Squash in Your Basement

Organically grown squash, ugly on the outside, delicious on the inside

            Turning into the corner of the basement where the squash, so carefully harvested last fall, sit in their cardboard boxes can be a dreaded assignment. Often they are melting into their firmer friends and sending off a slightly sticky, fermenting smell. But the thought of having baked squash for the fourth time this week disguised with a layer of cheese is almost unbearable. Fear not! This problem has been faced by courageous basement explorers before us, and there are delicious solutions.

While butternut squash might not win any beauty contests in their cardboard castles. They are full of nutrients stored in summer and saved for winter, a time when nutrients fresh from the garden are scarce.

             In the process of testing recipes we are surrounded by peeled butternut squash filling the kitchen with its distinct sweet freshness and the seeds sliding down the counter. While some of the experiments and taste tests have been greatly successful, others not so much.

            The greatest success from this kitchen chemistry has been the Butternut Squash Pie. Almost identical to the beloved pie based off the butternut’s cousin the pumpkin, it has a slightly sweeter fresh flavor. The sugar content is greatly reduced, as the only added sugar is from sweetened condensed milk. Another sweet benefit is the knowledge that tonight’s squash dinner will not be quietly fed to the compost bin.

Freshly peeled and ready to bake

Butternut Squash Pie Recipe:


1 medium squash

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

2 eggs

1 tsp of cinnamon

4 ½ tsp of cornstarch

1 tsp vanilla

1 pie crust, premade or homemade

Pick out a medium sized butternut from your store in the basement (or your local farmers market). Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Wash and cut the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Peel the skin with a vegetable peeler. Place both sides face down on an oiled cookie sheet. Bake for about 30 min or until soft. Now, place both pieces in a food processor or blender and add the sweetened condensed milk, eggs, cinnamon, cornstarch and vanilla and blend until smooth. Get out your favorite Emerson Creek Pottery Pie Plates and oil them. After putting the crust in the pans, evenly divide and pour the butternut filling into the pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 40 min or until a knife comes out clean. Let it cool then enjoy with whipped cream on one of our Dessert Coupe Plates!

            Since making this pie and using the carefully harvested butternuts from our garden, it is only appropriate to complete the butternut’s epoch of life in an organic, Handmade in America pie pan. Find all our Emerson Creek Pottery Pie Plate designs here.

Copper Clay by Emerson Creek Pottery

Sliced and Ready to Eat

Perfectly Imperfect Handmade Pottery

The Japanese term ‘wabi-sabi’ refers to embracing the imperfect, the beauty of things modest and humble. We find this term appropriate for our pottery. A Persian proverb states “A Persian Rug is Perfectly Imperfect.” This description captures the inherent spirit of handmade pottery: “perfectly imperfect.”

Our pottery is handmade, which means people are handling and shaping each piece in many stages prior to the finished pottery arriving in your home. Every step, from mixing clay to forming, finishing, glazing, painting, firing, packing, and shipping, is completed by people. Each piece of our pottery goes through at least eight pairs of hands before finding its way into your hands.
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Our collectors value Emerson Creek because it is handmade in the USA, because we are committed to sustainable practices in our production and packaging, because it is made without toxins like lead and cadmium, because it has character. Emerson Creek Pottery’s perfectly imperfect character tells the story of its origins, of the people who made it, of its journey from a lump of clay to a functional vessel. This character creates a unique pottery line for your home, one which embodies “the beauty of things imperfect.”

Once a piece is shaped, it is finished by hand which may result in subtle differences in a handle, rim or wall. You will find varying glaze thickness on each piece which imparts subtle color and texture variations. These variations, rather than being ‘imperfect’ or ‘flawed’, provide unique qualities inherent in handmade pottery. Each piece is unique, like people, trees, and flowers. Expect subtle differences in glaze and design between each piece of a given collection. These qualities are expected and embraced in a handmade product.

‘Perfect’ pottery is churned out in mass-production, machine-driven factories, with often questionable working conditions and ingredients. Our hands-on approach offers an alternative. Expect variations in glaze thickness and color and embrace these qualities as inherent to a handmade product. No two pieces are exactly alike. Each of our collections has its own character and style: rustic and organic Go Green Earthware and Dogwood, lustrous and simple American Blue and Copper Clay, and our many Handpainted designs. Which collection fits your aesthetic? Order one piece from a collection or two and examine our glazes and designs up close. Once you know the particular design is right for you, continue to add to your collection.

Within our Hand Painted Collection, each piece really is hand painted; therefore each design is similar, but not identical to another. Each artist has an individual style as well, imparting their own unique artistry to each piece. One Field of Iris mug may have two buds, another three. A Lavender design may have slight variations in leaf and stem angle. These subtle differences are part of the appeal of a handmade product, whether textile, pottery, food or furniture.

The desire for a rustic or ‘imperfect’ pottery aesthetic is growing. Within the restaurant industry, the slow and local foods movement is being presented on organic earthy dinnerware which perfectly showcases colorful healthy foods. Our Go Green Earthware Collection provides a warm, centered aesthetic to showcase chef presentations.

The beauty of our Go Green Earthware Collection is its inherent variability in glaze hue and surface texture. The appeal rests within its rustic character. Go Green Earthware’s glaze texture is solid to the touch and provides a sure grip. This quality is especially welcome in the kitchen when busy hands are covered with cooking ingredients.

Go Green and Dogwood provide a surface which will not slip through your fingers due to their matte glaze. Each pottery piece offers subtle variations in form, glaze and design while maintaining a unified look within their collections.

For almost forty years, our artisans have been making Emerson Creek Pottery in Virginia, one piece at a time, in the handmade tradition. When you hold our pottery you can feel the handmade tradition and craftsmanship of our artisans. We are proud to continue the American Made Pottery Tradition and to offer “the beauty of the imperfect” for your home.

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