Thursday, October 11, 2012


It is that time of year- Autumn, Pumpkins, cool nights finally, and I can turn on the oven or stove without passing out from the heat. So, I bought (!!!, not grew?) two pie pumpkins and one kabocha squash. I was planning ahead for the entire winter pumpkin experience.
Today, way before the Halloween thing, I decided to cook and package up my pumpkins. I just happened to have a little time and the rest of the month looks really messy. I baked both pie pumpkins, and the Kabocha, and then the seeds. It takes about 1 1/2 hours to bake the pumpkins. But it takes about an hour to get the ready to bake. First you cut them in half-  with a long, sharp, strong knife. Then you scoop out the seeds, separate the stringy stuff and wash the seeds. Then you lay the pumpkin halves cut side down in a baking pan. I had 6 halves, so it took up the entire oven. I bake them at about 350f for about 1 1/2 hours. When they all have cooled, I scrape out the cooked pumpkin pulp into my food processor and blend it 50/50 with the Kabocha pulp. 4 loads of it. With the Kabocha, you need to add about 1/4 cup water to the mix (total of 1 cup because there were 4 loads). The Kabocha squash is much dryer than the pumpkin pulp. But it has a nice texture in the pie and soup. And I like the look of it.
So now I have 4 batches of this pulp, and I put it through the food mill, just to make sure there are no little stringy parts or lumps. And it helps blend it together. My sink is now full of dirty dishes. Food processor parts, baking pans, spoons, food mill, and knife. I usually take a moment now to wash up. Whew!
Zipper bags are the best thing ever. I write in permanent marker on the bag- pumpkin, '12, 2C. Then, I fill the bags with about 2 cups of pulp- this weighs about 1 pound one ounce.
This particular batch of pulp got me 5 large bags and one small bag- 5 1/2 pounds of not yet pumpkin pie. Most of the recipes call for 2 cups of pumpkin pulp for a large pie. My soup recipe calls for 1 cup of pulp for 1 quart of soup. I use a little more sometimes. So I am set now for 3 pies and 5 quarts of soup over the year. Time to put it in the Freezer.
BUT WAIT- what is this? There are still 2 bags from last year. How did this happen?
I am afraid to search further, for fear of finding even older bags back in the corner of the freezer.
For some reason, I feel I must make a pumpkin batch every year, but we are not eating as much pie as we used to. I remember throwing away almost 1/2 of a pie last year. There may be a frozen pie in the freezer too.
I think I will just go for the soup this year, or Pumpkin bread. Or even pumpkin pancakes. Pumpkin muffins? Time to hit the cook books and find some use for all this pumpkin. I'll get back to you when I find something to do with all this pulp. Right now, I have to go do a bunch of dishes.