Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Great Pumpkin the first
This truly was a great pumpkin. I felt like we should take it to the fair except we hadn't grown it ourselves. My relationship with pumpkin has been carving one at Halloween and cooking with canned pumpkin. It's only when I started receiving pumpkins through my farm share that I started cooking with them. Last year I ended up with a freezer full of pureed pumpkin and butternut squash that I couldn't get through. This year looks to be the same.
It all started in mid October when we got an 18 pound pie pumpkin. How are we supposed to eat that? We only know the weight because I stood on the bathroom scale with the pumpkin and without and subtracted the difference. Fortunately, we had recently bought a handsaw for a home improvement project. I used the handsaw and a large knife to cut through and break the pumpkin open on Saturday. Sunday became Pumpkin Day. I didn't think to take a picture until after it had been cut, so look at one half and multiply it by 2 for the full size.
First I roasted the two halves in the oven following the directions in the Joy of Cooking. I think it said to cook for an hour. I let it go longer because of the size. The oven can be set on a timer that turns the stove off at the end so I left it to roast while I went to the gym. When I got home, I showered, had a snack (needed the energy for what lay ahead), and then got to it.
Working with one half at a time, I scraped out the pumpkin and discarded any extra seeds -- I had pulled a lot of them out before cooking. I know you can cook the seeds but I can only handle so much at a time. Then I put that food processor to use and pureed the pumpkin. I put the puree in a colander to drain out some of the excess liquid. An hour or so later, I ended up with 15 cups of pumpkin. If I had wanted to spend even a little more time on it, I could have gotten an even gallon.
I scooped the pumpkin into plastic bags, 2 cups to a bag, and then a few 1 cup bags. In retrospect, I should have used containers, but the bags take less space up. Then I put the small bags into two gallon-size freezer bags and put those in the freezer. I marked each small bag with a 1 or 2 to indicate how much was in there.
Since then, I think we've used maybe 4 cups of pumpkin. The insides of the great pumpkin puree project give the freezer a nice orange glow when you look inside.