Friday, November 20, 2009

Pumpkin Processing (by Kat)

Today I tried something new. I processed my own pumpkins. We raised a few pumpkins this year in the garden, just as we have in the past, but unlike the past, I'm determined to eat them this year.

I've heard it's easy to do, but I've kinda freaked out in the past over the details. Skin up or skin down? What temperature? How long? To strain or not to strain the cooked pulp?

Today I said to myself "Self, knock it off. Just try it."

My self said "OK."

See, aren't I easy to get along with?

I brought in the smallest pumpkin, washed it off, quartered it, and lined the pieces up on a greased cookie sheet. If you cut the pumpkin in quarters, you don't have to get hung up on what side goes up.

Is that cheating?

The hens were offered the innards.

They prefer worms.

Anyway, I baked them (the pumpkin quarters, not the hens, for about an hour, until they were a bit shriveled and fork tender. I think I could have let them cook for a little longer, as they were still a bit tough and stringy right in the center. But I don't think I caused any problems by removing them for the oven too soon.

After they were cooled down a bit, I scraped off the flesh and threw it into my food processor. Whiz, whiz, whiz and it was done.

I put the pulp into a cheesecloth lined strainer, and let some of the liquid drain off. When the remaining pumpkin had the consistency of the stuff in can I decided it was done.

From one pumpkin, I was able to freeze three 16 ounce bags of pumpkin (the equivalent of a small can) and had enough left over to make a loaf of pumpkin bread for dessert tonight.

Yummy. Fun. Frugal.

I win!

1 comment:

  1. Can I come eat at your house?

    I've been working on my next post for days now, and just sat down to the computer, telling myself, "OK. Do it!" But then I saw that you had posted about pumpkins, one of my absolute favorite things in the world. So here I am, procrastinating again.

    I have always just cut the thing in two, scraped out the strings and seeds, and then placed them face down on the baking sheet. I don't even remove the stem, but just cut it in half across. I'm pretty sure I was instructed to do this by a sticker on a pie pumpkin I bought years ago. It does occasionally result in some browning on the edges that have contact with the sheet, but it also keeps the pumpkin from drying out. I usually do it at good ole 350 degrees, and don't time it, but just gauge by the smell.

    I've never strained the pulp, and since I don't have a food processor (I know, I know - fire me), I always just smush it with a potato smusher. Which I like better anyway, because I'm a big believer in non-uniformity. I like the occasional little chunk.

    I can't wait to finally grow some pumpkins, now that I have a yard I can actually do that in.