It’s Fall and that means PUMPKIN! We decided we’d try growing our own Sugar or “Pie” Pumpkins this year and we were blessed! We have a short grow season and I didn’t know how they’d do, suffice to say—we’ll be adding pumpkins to the garden on a regular basis!
We ended up with a bountiful crop of gorgeous, heirloom pumpkins and they are so easy to process and save seed from! Of course we love the puree for PIE, but pumpkin puree makes up a really good quick bread too—we all really enjoy it and I love the easy breakfast when paired up with some home canned applesauce and a glass of fresh milk!
Our milk cow, Miss Bessie loves to help us eat them, so we crack a few open for her and toss them to her for a nice treat…lest the chickens feel left out, we’ll crack one open for them too 🙂 I picked the nicest looking one and used it for my Sukkah centerpiece this year ( I love how this turned out, especially with the addition of beautiful wood candle holders my husband made!) and took a few other little ones and put them around the house for a little Fall inside too!
I’m getting ahead of myself…let’s make our pumpkin puree!
We picked our pumpkins, tore up any remaining vines and covered the bed with compost. Then we let them just sit for a few days until I was ready to process them. I brought the pumpkins in and gave them a quick wash off with cold water and set them aside. Next, I get out everything I’ll need:
- Large Butcher Knife
- Ice Cream Scoop
- Vegetable Peeler or Paring Knife
- Baking Pan
- Cutting Board
I’ll also get out my BOSCH mixer and some ziploc baggies, because I am going to freeze this puree, until I am ready to make pie filling or breads with it. It’s not advisable to can pumpkin puree, otherwise canning is my preferred method for long term food storage vs. the freezer. 🙂
Get your first pumpkin on your cutting board and have at it! BE CAREFUL. Pumpkins are slippery little suckers to hang onto and cut up with that big, heavy duty knife! Once you cut your pumpkin(s) into big chunks, take your ice cream scoop and scoop out all the seeds and mess into a bowl and set aside. Then strategically place the cleaned up chunks into your baking dish, in one layer. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour, until pumpkin is fork tender.
Once your baking is done, set out to cool for about 15 minutes or so. The rind is easy to remove, I just used a small knife to peel it away from the pumpkin, then toss all that pumpkin into a large bowl and mix it up with my BOSCH or you could use a hand mixer. Some folks use a food processor…whatever floats your boat.
I used a simple hand mixer, and got this gorgeous puree! Depending on your pumpkin, it can be really watery (in this case, hang in cheesecloth to get rid of excess water) or dry (in this case, add a tablespoon of water at a time to get to proper consistency), however these turned out jussssst right!
Once I’ve got it mixed up well, I put into two cup portions into my ziploc freezer baggies, make sure all air is out of the bag, seal and lie flat in the freezer. Done! How easy was that !?!
Now that you have your puree done and put up, it’s clean up time. I’ll go back to my bowl full of seeds and pumpkin guts…and take out as many seeds as I want to save and lie them out on a plate to dry out for about a week, then I’ll put into a ziploc bag, seal, label and store them up; put them in the bottom drawer of my fridge where I have most of my long term seed stored.
At this point I take the bowl with the rest of the seedy goop, toss in the leftover rinds and send them out to Miss Bessie or the chickens. Everyone LOVES pumpkin and they are so easy to grow and process!
We are so thankful for the blessing on our garden this year!
Enjoying the season-