A recent excursion south gave me the luscious opportunity to fill my larder with organic pumpkins and squashes from Oak Hill Farm down in Sonoma County. What a treat! And most of us, I’m certain, have pumpkins within easy reach around this time of year. But what’s the easiest way to prepare pumpkins, and their beautiful cousins, and preserve them for the upcoming holidays? Afterall, it’s not all year long we have access to such beautiful winter squashes! How do we easily maximize the good fortune of having organic pumpkins in abundance without making a huge time commitment? Honestly? When I first began preparing my own pumpkin purees to be used later in breads and pies and soups, I really thought I was obliged to hack one in half and put in the oven for a goodly amount of time. I’m not sure when I got the bright idea to simply boil them, but here’s what I now do, and highly recommend!
The trick? See that little apple corer? Yep. Simply poke a couple of holes in the top of the pumpkin to ensure expanding air can safely escape. Note, you might have to put the corer into the pumpkin a couple of times to make sure you have fully entered the cavity. I find this infinitely easier than having to wrestle a pumpkin with a big knife.
Then simply put the pumpkin in a large kettle.
Fill about half full with water. Sometimes I put a bit of the water down one of the air holes to be sure the pumpkin is settled into the bottom of the pan. And turn on the heat to a medium degree and let the water boil until the pumpkin succumbs to a fork. Do not do as I did in this particular instance, as I did need to flip the pumpkin to be sure the top was fully softened, and that entailed a quick clip of the stem with a gardening tool. You might want to do that before it’s in boiling water.
After the meat of the pumpkin is thoroughly cooked, pour off the water, let it cool a bit, then flip out onto a cutting board. And now you can use the knife. So much easier! No comparison!
Then remove the seeds. Cut into quarters or smaller. Use a paring knife to cut off the skin. And then put the pumpkin into your Cuisinart bit by bit. Voila!
I then measure the puree into 2C portions and put each two cups into freezer bags, marked with the date they were prepared, and pop in the freezer. This one pumpkin resulted in almost ten cups of absolutely delicious puree. You simply can’t compare the exquisite taste of fresh pumpkins home prepared with what you buy in a can. (And you know they are now using that dreadful chemical in the cans themselves, don’t you? The one they found in water bottles? Yeah. So. Not so good.) Don’t miss this fabulous opportunity now available to you! Frugal suggestion: pumpkins will be dirt cheap after Halloween, right? This little tip could keep you in pumpkin for the rest of winter! You will be so glad you did!
Love and kitchen blessings!
Book News! I was deeply honored and grateful to receive this most excellent review of Plant Whatever Brings You Joy published in Spirituality and Practice written by reviewers Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, authors of the bestselling book Spiritual Literacy. They have kindly included an excerpt from my book with the review.
I am also absolutely delighted to send you along to Liz’s gardening blog Nutty Gnome in the UK, who has just posted the most wonderful review of Plant Whatever Brings You Joy on her blog! I love her fresh, candid, honest review and thank her from the bottom of my heart!
And, to keep you up to date on where the book can now be locally purchased, a full list here.
Posted on October 24th, 2010 by Kathryn
Filed under: People at Work