Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Oh, Pumpkins!

I love pumpkin. There is something about that orange color and squashy taste that just fills me with warmth and contentment. Perhaps I didn't always love pumpkin as well as I do now, but that's just because I didn't know where good pumpkin came from.

Apparently, there are two general categories for pumpkin: eating and carving. Now, you can always eat carving pumpkins. I grew up eating our Jack-O-Lanterns before they got (too) moldy. My mom would cut them up (and cut out the mold), steam them, puree them, and freeze them in convenient sized bags to use all year long. And who am I to question this order of things? It is the way it must be done!

So, last year after carving our pumpkins, I did what I was supposed to do and processed the pumpkins (they were not moldy). But I did something different without really intending to. While at the pumpkin patch, I fell in love with a beautiful pumpkin. It was a brighter orange than I had seen before and, while rather too squat and heavy for a jack-o-lantern, I knew I needed to have it. Back at home, it was dutifully carved and, within a day or two, processed into puree. Initially, I was astounded by only the orangeness of the puree. And then my mom made a pumpkin pie out of it. Wow.

To make a long story short, I'm not going back. In the future, I will be purchasing some pumpkins to carve and some to eat. I've already done that this year, getting not one, not two, but three Rouge Vif D'etampes pumpkins (two of which have already gone the way of the freezer).


A helpful hint when processing your own pumpkin:

Drain your pumpkin. I line a colander with paper towel, pour my pumpkin in, and then let it sit for a long time, often overnight in the refrigerator. The pumpkin doesn't stick to the paper towel once it has drained enough.

And some words of wisdom (ie don't repeat my stupid mistake):

Don't try and use a food strainer to remove the skin from the pumpkin. I have a pumpkin screen for mine and I thought I would try it out. Of course, I tried to do things right and looked online for instructions, but wouldn't you know, there is nothing worthwhile to be found searching under "food strainer pumpkin how to". So I tried just one. Sure enough, little pieces of skin came through. (Now, I'm not sure why you would use a food strainer to do your pumpkin if you have to scrape the flesh out with a spoon anyway. I'll take my stick blender anyday.)

And because I can't help it, one of the few photos of my cute little pumpkins.


And what do you do with pumpkin puree? I like the Joy of Cooking pumpkin pie recipe, or my mom's pumpkin pancake recipe.

Or you can try these:


And because I just can't help myself, here is one more pumpkin treat to enjoy.


Jeanerbee said...

Thank you for this post! I have been intending to process and freeze our pumpkins too... how do you steam yours? Stovetop or oven????

Delirious said...

One of my favorite cookies is pumpkin chocolate chip!

Fromagette said...

I bake my pumpkin. Steaming seems to make it much more watery, though it would drain out anyway. Maybe I just like the idea of baking it.

Laurel said...

Sounds yummy, we missed out on pumpkins this year which makes me sad. But we're hoping next year we have our landscape far enough along to have a garden againa and I think we'll grow them. Hopefully.

inkylou said...

Your little pumpkins are so adorable; thanks for sharing!