Friday, October 17, 2008

Pumpkins! Pumpkins! Pumpkins!

This is a wonderful time of year for lots of baking and one of our favorite things to bake is pumpkin and all the delicious recipes that go with it. Pumpkin is very easy to cook and process. My mother used to cook them this way when I was a child. She grew up in a time when no one wasted anything, and nothing goes to waste on this pumpkin. Seeds are eaten, pumpkin processed and skin and pulp go to compost. I am thankful to mom for teaching me this.

First, when choosing a pumpkin, make sure it is a rich orange color. Any yellow or green on it means it is not yet ripe. Cut the pumpkin in half from stem to stem and remove the seeds and pulp. You can roast the seeds if your family likes them. There is a simple and delicious recipe here. My children love to eat these whole, shell and all.

Oil a cooking sheet that has sides on it. Turn half of the pumpkin upside down on the cooking sheet. I repeat this process for the second half, as I tend to pick large pumpkins. Place in a 400 degree oven for 1-1 1/2 hours until the skin becomes dark brown and blistered. The pumpkin is going to cook by steaming itself. You may think you are burning it but you are not. After it becomes brown, take it out and let it cool. It will look like it is shrivelling as it cools and that if fine. After it is cool, the skin will just peel off and that beautiful pumpkin is soft and workable. I usually process mine in the food processor and then freeze in freezer bags, 2 cups at a time. Don't add the excess liquid back in as you process, as it may make your pumpkin too thin. It will seem thinner than the canned stuff but it has never caused me a problem. Some recipes may just need to bake a bit longer. Also, the cost effectiveness of cooking your own pumpkin is phenomenal! I bought this very large pumpkin for $2.49 and it made an entire gallon of pumpkin puree! They are a great investment for purchase after October 31st if you can find them on clearence.

Here are a couple of our family favorite recipes

Pumpkin Pie
1 pie crust-9 inch
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups pumpkin
3/4 cups sugar ( I use sucanat)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 t cloves
1 cans evaporated milk (I have used home made almond milk also)

Mix all ingredients well and pour in crust. Cook 15 minutes at 425 then turn down to 350 and bake 45 minutes more. Pie is done when knife inserted in center, comes out clean. My experience with this recipe says that it usually takes a little longer to cook, I think due to the extra liquid in the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup sucanat
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp ginger
1 egg
3/4 cup milk (soy or almond is fine)
1/3 cup oil (or substitute applesauce)
3/4 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 400 or 375 for dark pan. Butter muffin pan. Mix all dry ingredients. Make a well in the middle of the bowl and add egg, milk, oil, and pumpkin. Stir until just mixed. Add raisins. Fill cups 2/3 full and bake 20-25 minutes.

We eat this sometimes for breakfast as I can mix it the night before and refrigerate and the children wake up to the wonderful smells of breakfast cooking and it really wasn't all that hard.

Happy baking this fall, Suzie

1 comment:

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They are really innovative!!

Pumpkins are helpful for weight loss!