Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere...

Ahhh, autumn!!! My favorite season! The falling leaves crunching under my feet, juicy apples ripe for the picking, the warm sun followed by the cool evenings made for sleeping...what's not to love. And of course, the foods of fall; apple dumplings, pumpkin pie, caramel apples, pumpkin cookies, roasted vegetable medleys...I could go on and on.

I enjoy canning todays treats for winter and early spring consumption when 'cabin fever' is making us all a little glum. My family love many treats made from pumpkin. Hubby's favorite is pumpkin chocolate chip muffins (acquired from my 1995 Country Woman magazine), the kids love pumpkin cookies and I just love anything pumpkin...even when roasting them I take frequent ensure goodness, of course.

Preserving pumpkin is probably one of the easiest things I can, and inexpensive too.  Our local farm markets usually have small pumpkins, usually labeled pie pumpkins. Locally they are .29 a pound. I purchased 20 pounds and netted 22 cups of roasted flesh.  When you get your pumpkins home you will want to wash them, remember they are grown in a field :-)

Then I use a serated knife to cut them in half and scrape out the seeds. I seperated alot of the seeds out and after washing them in a strainer coated them with salt and pepper and roasted them in the oven til sons favorite. After all the pumpkins are halved and cleaned place them cut side down in a jelly roll style pan that has a layer of water in it.  The water keeps them from drying can add to the pan while they are cooking. Be careful not to have too much water so when you pull them from the oven the hot liquid doesn't spill and burn you.

I roast them at 350° until they are soft and you can pierce them with a fork. I would estimate 45 min to an hour. Remove them and allow to cool a bit. They will be mushy and very easy to scrape the flesh away from the rind/skin. You can use a potato masher or blender or food processor to obtain the smoothness you prefer.

Now you only need to decide what to turn your puree into and for me the list is long. I made cookies and muffins, canned several pints and froze some for pumpkin roll at holiday time (premessured for the recipe). You could also mix some puree with some brown sugar and put in a baking dish, top it with marshmallows and bake until lightly golden for a healthy and delicious side dish.

Before the season is over I will be roasting more delicious pumpkins. Thank you for stopping by.

What's your favorite food of the season?