Thursday, November 8, 2012

What to do with a pumpkin?

Halloween is over....sigh...

And what are you to do with the pumpkins you bought?
Perhaps they were for the kids to carve out...perhaps just a fall themed decoration?

Well I'm here to help you decide what to do with these enormous squashes!

First you take the pumpkins and wash the exterior of nicely...pat dry.

Chop off the stem and slice in half.
The next part should be easy...gut the gourd just like you would if you were carving a pumpkin!
Reserve the seeds in a separate container.
(To save time, have 2 bins for guts and one for mostly seeds)

The flesh of the pumpkin is soft, but its coated in a slimy, sinuey substance.
Scrape this substance off with a big metal spoon and discard.

The flesh is now ready for roasting.
Place the pieces, inside down, on a deep roasting dish with some water.
Bake at 325 degrees for about an hour or until the flesh is mushy and soft.

Use a metal spoon to carve the flesh away from the deep orange rind.
You can portion the flesh out for future use.
Spoon mush into 1 cup cups and freeze in a freezer bag.
Or you can just spoon the flesh into a large container and freeze the whole thing.
You can opt to use a food processor to blend the mush further before freezing if you wish.
(If you blend the mush, it becomes very tricky to get it to stay in the 1 cup forms until frozen)

Use this mush when ever it calls for canned pumpkin.
Use in baking muffins, loaves or pies.

Whatever you do, it is a very healthy vegetable!  Loaded with iron, fibre, vitamin A & C and actually contains calcium...

If you prefer roasted pumpkin, skip the whole roasting process and cleave flesh from rind raw.
Chop into 1 inch cubes and freeze in large freezer bags.
Roast later with other root vegetables for a great winter side dish!

For a list of 10 intriguing pumpkin recipes, check out this link to

A fantastic use for pumpkins is the seeds!!!

Take the container you used for the seeds and rinse the seeds very well.
Take care to remove all orange and stringy bits.
Let seeds soak for a bit in the fresh cold water.

Spread out on a baking sheet or stone.
Add 2-3 tbsp of butter or marg and a bunch of grinds of coarse salt.
You can use parchment paper under if you wish.
Bake at 300 degrees for approx 45 mins (if you use a stone, it will be sooner!)
Just keep checking on them every now and again, giving a stir along the way.

What you have is a great snack that is loaded with fibre, vitamin E and manganese!

You can also adjust the taste of this snack just by sprinkling on a different spice...

Try these:

-garlic powder
-onion powder
-cayenne pepper
-chili powder
-cinnamon & brown sugar

Alternatively, you can also switch up the taste by using other seeds like squash or sunflower.

How do you like your pumpkin?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Pickin Punkins...and other Fall things...

Every year we buy pumpkins locally...that is, when we aren't growing them of course!

I try to avoid the big box stores...there is something weird about paying 99 cents for a big pumpkin...
It's mostly to support the local growers, but its also weird to see something so giant be so cheap.

So we drove a short way to Silverbrook's Garden Center at 3071 Rutledge Rd  in Sydenham.

It was the Friday before Hurricane Sandy hit.
They were calling for storms, high winds and of course rain.

For some reason, Friday didn't listen and it was GORGEOUS!

The sun was shining...the air was spring.

Owen was all over the pumpkins.
Picking out a proper pumpkin is like a scientific process.

And heavy!

We loaded up one of the push carts that Silverbrook offers its customers.
Here's Owen already dreaming about the things we shall carve into them.
Not to mention the pies we'll make and the seeds we'll roast!

Silverbrooks also had some pretty cool looking squashes and gourds.
(Great for natural decorating for your centerpiece!)

The funniest part of the trip was when Owen spied a huge box of apples.
They had a few kinds to choose from but Owen dove right in to the Empire apples.
(medium sweet apples)
The lady was just about to say that Owen could try one...but he was already munching away...

We grabbed 8 pumpkins in total as well as a basket of apples.

Silverbrook is a wonderful spot...we love to go there on occassion to buy seedlings that we don't start from seed, antiques, candles and other produce as it comes into season.
It really has an old fashioned feel to the place.  Like you've stepped back in time.
No one is wearing costumes, but you'll be pleased with the personable service and friendly folks you'll meet.

The pumpkins we bought went right into our front yard for decorating, but now that Halloween is over, I'll be bringing them in for a future post on how to cook and prepare pumpkin mash for the freezer for baking.
Not to mention a post on roasting seeds!

The apples are already gone...they were good!!!

Where did you get your pumpkins?