I’ve been reading about how other people are pulling radishes and spading up their gardens, and here I am watching another two inches of snow fall. Sigh. I could probably plant some seeds, but I have a feeling that it is going to be a while before I can transplant even the most cold-hardy seedling.
What I have been doing is converting some of my more house-stable produce into food. You don’t need to automatically can or freeze pumpkins or winter squash. They store at room temperature for months without rotting as long as you let their shells harden without bruising after you take them from the vine. Eventually, even they start to dry out, and you have to preserve or use them before you are forced to add them to the late-winter compost pile.
My Snack Face pumpkins (See my blog “Harvesting Pumpkins,” September 25, 2013.) called themselves to attention by beginning to melted into the living room floor where I had them “artfully” arranged. After cleaning up the goopy mess, I started preparing them to become food.
The first step was snapping off the stems and washing them with a little dishwashing detergent.
Then I removed the hull-less seeds, rinsed them well, and set them aside.
After letting the pumpkin cool a bit, I scooped the orange flesh out of the shells with my trusty ice cream scoop, loaded it into my food processor, and pureed. (For thicker pumpkin puree, put a large paper coffee filter into a colander and fill with pumpkin puree. Allow to drip for a number of hours until the puree is as thick as you want it.)
The pureed pumpkin was used to make yeast pumpkin bread, muffins, and Zesty Pumpkin soup. (I didn’t end up freezing any of it, although pumpkin freezes very well in this form. This soup which can be made with canned pumpkin as well.)
(Makes 6 cups)
- ¼ cup butter or margarine
- ½ cup onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup light cream (½ and ½, milk, or evaporated canned milk)
- Sauté onion and garlic in butter or margarine until soft.
- Add seasonings and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add broth and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes.
- Stir in pumpkin and cream and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Blend mixture until creamy.
Home Roasted Pumpkin SeedsI simmered the pumpkin seeds in salted water for about 15 minutes and spread them on an ungreased baking sheet after draining them well. After seasoning to taste, I baked them at 350F, stirring every 5 or 10 minutes until they were dry and crispy when cooled. (You can also toss the seeds with a little lemon or lime juice before seasoning and roasting if you want a slightly tangy end product.)
I’m definitely growing these pumpkins again next year. No part of them is wasted. The girls enjoyed cleaning up the shells before the last scraps were composted! Begonia