Friday, October 31, 2008
How to "Recycle" your Pumpkin!
Happy Halloween everyone!
I hope you are enjoying the day, hopefully preparing for a fun time tonight! After all the fun is done and November starts tomorrow, what will you do with your jack-o-lantern?
a) Let it sit out on the front step until it shrivels into "old man pumpkin"
b) Toss it in the garbage can
c) Turn it into a fall feast
Since this blog is all about turning "trash into treasure," I am going to share how you can do the same with your pumpkin! While it does sound like hard work, option "c" really is not as hard as it sounds and can be a great family activity, and a way to celebrate the coming of Thanksgiving!
My mom has always made pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving out of, you guessed it, our Halloween jack-o-lanterns. So, I have developed a taste for this REAL pumpkin pie and have never had another pie that was nearly as good. Then again, I've never met anyone else who makes pumpkin out of real, fresh pumpkin, not the canned stuff. I have concluded that it's because of the real pumpkin. That, and maybe every mom's secret ingredient of "love."
Don't waste your pumpkins this year!! Here's how you can turn it into delicious pumpkin pie, bread, and roasted seeds!
How to cook the pumpkin:
This takes a little time but you can freeze it, and bake yummy pumpkin treats whenever you're ready!
1) Cut your clean, hollowed out pumpkin into chunks, 6"-8" or so. (Best to do right after Halloween so you don't have a dried out pumpkin!) Leave the skin on.
2) Lay pieces, skin side up, in 2-3 layers in a large turkey roaster pan with 1" water in the bottom.
Cover tightly with foil. Bake approx. 1/2 hour at 350 degrees, until tender. (test, if knife slides into pumpkin easily. My Mom has some magical powers, because I find mine takes a LOT longer than a half hour this way. so I prefer to steam in a pot on the stove:
...or cook it in the microwave (also covered with water added):
Choose whatever method best suits the amount of pumpkin you have, and amount of time you have.)
However you choose to cook it, when you can easily slide a knife, fork, or spoon into the flesh, it is done. Here's what it looks like done...the skins get darker and the flesh gets a little more translucent:
3) With a large spoon, scoop soft pumpkin out of skins. Discard the skins.
4) Place pumpkin chunks in blender about 1/2 full (or 1/2 empty if you're pessimist!). Add water to fill blender. Puree.
5) Pour into colander and drain the water.
6) Move on to recipes below! Or, if you aren't going to bake your goodies right away, freeze in 1 or 2 cup portions. (1 cup = 1 pie or 1 loaf of bread) I like to freeze it labeled, in a baggie:
If you want to be more "green," you can even freeze it in empty food containers.
Gretchen's Mom's Pumpkin Pie (makes one 10", or two 8"-9" pies)
Crust for TWO 8" or 9" pies:
2 C flour, 1 tsp salt
2/3 C + 2 Tbsp shortening
4-6 Tbsp cold water
Crust for ONE 10" pie:
1-1/3 C Flour, 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C shortening
3-4 Tbsp cold water
Measure flour and salt. Cut in shortening. Add water. Shape into ball, roll out, place in pan(s). Do not bake or prick the bottom.
2 C cooked & pureed pumpkin
1 C sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
3/4 C milk
MIX pumpkin, sugar, eggs, salt and spices. Add milk gradually to keep smooth.
POUR into unbaked shell. Mixture will be sloppy at this point. To keep edges of crust from burning, cover the edges with foil.
BAKE 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Reduce heat to 350. Bake 50 minutes at 350 degrees.
Cool, cut, top with cool whip, and enjoy the fruits of your labor! You can also do what my mom does, and freeze the pies to enjoy on Thanksgiving.
Gretchen's Mom's Pumpkin Bread: (makes 2 loaves)
Sift together dry ingredients:
3-1/3 C flour
2-2/3 C sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
Add 1 C oil and 2 C pumpkin.
Beat 2 minutes.
Add 2 eggs and 2/3 C water. Fold in 1/2 C chopped nuts if desired.
Pour into 2 greased, floured loaf pans.
Bake 1 hour at 375 degrees. Cool 10 minutes, remove from pans and cool on rack.
Enjoy warm, sliced with butter, or freeze the whole loaf to enjoy later!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:
Wash seeds and drain in colander. Melt 4 Tbsp butter and mix with 1/2 tsp garlic salt, and 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce. Toss with seeds, coating well. Spread seeds on a foil lined pan. Bake at 275 degrees, stirring about every 5 minutes, until toasted and lightly browned. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn. Do not refrigerate...store in a sealed bowl on the counter...if they last that long!
What's going on in the world of Junk Mail Gems, along with other cool, hand-made "green" products, DIY projects, and more!