Photo: jmtimages (flickr)
This time of year, we see them everywhere. Pumpkins are in their full glory during the fall.
A Seasonal Favorite
At our house, we wait for Mabon, take the day off of school, and buy the season’s first pumpkins. I don’t even grow any in the garden, because the neighbors have mastered the craft. Their small store is loaded with all sizes and varieties of squash, gourds and of course, pumpkins. Everyone chooses their own for decorating the entrance of the house, while I pick a few to start putting up pumpkin for the winter.
Pumpkin Purée The Homemade Way
Making pumpkin purée from scratch may seem silly. Even I agree that canned pumpkin is delicious and easy to find. It is seasonal though, and can be really expensive. Pumpkin is underwhelming if you only use it for pies. There is so much more to be done with this rich and flavorful fall vegetable.
Photo: Melissa Bernais (flickr)
- Cut a pie pumpkin in half and remove the seeds/stringy flesh in the center. Save the seeds for roasting and eating later.
- Place your halves of pumpkin cut side down in a cake pan.
- Add about 1/2 an inch of water to the pan to keep the flesh moist. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour.
- The pumpkin is finished when you can pierce the flesh with a fork. Remove the skin and you have pure pumpkin.
- Mash the pumpkin with a potato masher or electric mixer. When smooth, the pumpkin is ready to freeze or can.
- To can, put all the pumpkin puree into a large pan and bring to a boil (stir often to prevent sticking). Fill hot jars with puree and can at 10 lbs pressure for 55 minutes (pints) or 1 hour, 25 minutes (quarts).
I serve pumpkin as a decadent vegetable all winter. Heat it up with a dash of your favorite spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove. Serve with a dollop of butter and, wait for it…pure maple syrup. It is also heavenly to eat for breakfast this way and add a little fresh cream. It is dishes like this that make all the hard work of the garden worth it.