Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pumpkins!

I've had a dozen pumpkins cluttering up my kitchen counters since the end of October, and would have been content to leave them there until next spring, except I needed an excuse to avoid cleaning the kitchen. Gutting, roasting, pureeing and freezing pumpkins looked like a good one.

I usually just grow the little New England Sugar Pie Pumpkins but this year I planted a few Musquee De Provence, Howdens, and the Jack Be Littles that took over the place. The Howdens were a complete bust, and I only got one and a half Musquee (the half got pecked to death by a wily hen before it was half grown).


My lonely Musquee De Provence, along with some NE Sugar Pies in various stages of murder.  


The bucket 'o guts goes to the chickens, who waste no time gobbling it up. I know I know, roast the seeds for a tasty, healthy snack. Well these seeds have big ass shells around them and the texture is like snacking on bark so I'll pass thankyouverymuch.


Halved, gutted, and inside down on foil lined pizza pan (biggest thing I have)
@350 for at least an hour or until soft.


First batch out of the oven, second one about to go in. Smells SO GOOD!
(and as I'll soon find out, the first batch isn't done, ugh)


Check this big boy out! The photo doesn't do justice to the deep orange color, and the smell. I've never smelled a pumpkin this rich, at least not until after it's come out of the oven. I wasn't planning to grow these again since the yield was crap and they're almost too heavy to handle, but now I'm reconsidering.



Scrape out of shell and into the food processor until smooth.

I bag up 2 cups at a time, perfect for pumpkin pie recipes! Because pumpkin is practically devoid of acid, you're not supposed to can it. I point at Libby's canned pumpkin and raise an eyebrow, but no one can give me an excuse beyond claiming that they're using a squash hybrid.
Whatever. I'd rather freeze it anyway. 

Pureed pumpkin has a high moisture content, so when I thaw this I'll put it in a skillet on medium heat, stirring constantly, until a good deal of the water has evaporated and the puree thickens up a bit. Otherwise the pie risks being too wet to properly set up.

There are a million recipes out there for putting pumpkins to good use. Some of my favs are:
Pumpkin Quiche
That one calls for a "butternut pumpkin" which is what us 'Mericans would call a butternut squash. No matter, pumpkin works just fine.
I don't have an actual recipe, but pumpkin (and butternut squash) goes great with sausage. That big Muquee just may find itself in a sausage pumpkin casserole this evening!



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