Pumpkin Made Easy

3squashes

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!
air

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.
boil

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!
halved

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!
done
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!
Kathryn xoxo

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.

12 Responses to “Pumpkin Made Easy”

  1. Do you find you have to drain out the puree after you do it this way? Even when I bake the pumpkin, I put the mash in a strainer over a bowl & set it in the frig over night to pull out the excess moisture. I’ve also tried tying up in cheesecloth bags I hanging like jelly making. Open to new suggests for this part of the prep. Cheers, Julie

  2. Hi, Julie! It’s interesting. A friend out on the Cape asked me about moisture yesterday when I was telling her about this method. But, nope! As it cools it seems the excess moisture escapes through those little holes on the top. And once I chop in half additional moisture seems to evaporate. By the time I’m putting it into the Cuisinart it’s fine. I’m guessing the puree might be “more moist” than had I baked it, but it certainly is not affecting the quality or taste of the puree, and, in fact, the two pumpkin breads I baked this weekend were very moist, so this process might be a boon. If I were to be eating the pumpkin directly then I think I’d be more inclined to bake. Any thoughts from other readers? Kathryn xoxo

  3. Wow! So glad I found you from gardensofthewildwildwest.com – I used to frequent Oak Hill Farm like a pilgrim. What a wonderful place. Now I live 1,000 miles north of there near Seattle! Anyway, what a great tip about the pumpkins. Trying to saw those big devils open with a kitchen knife is always hair-raising!! There is a time and a place for roasting pumpkin but this is a wonderful shortcut for so many things. Very nice blog!!! I’m trying to figure out where you are based – I also adore the Mendo Botanical gardens – another wonderful place!!! Have you ever been to Bartholomew Park Winery in Sonoma? Cheers! Bonnie

  4. Hi, Bonnie! Welcome! Another fan of Oak Hill Farm and Mendo Botanical Gardens. Yay! Thank you for your kind words. I’m in Mendocino Co. I have not been to that particular winery, but will check out. Thank you! Kathryn xoxo

  5. What a great tip – thank you.
    I’ve come from Nutty Gnome, where I read the review and decided I had to visit – and now follow.
    I’ll look for your book on amazon – a lovely treat for myself, from what i read in the review.

  6. Welcome, Pondside! Thank you for the visit! Yes, Kindle edition available on both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. And the book itself available directly from http://www.estrellacatarina.com or from a growing list of bookstores around the US! Thank you! Enjoy! Kathryn xoox

  7. Hi mom,

    You taught me to do this years back, and I’ve always been Grateful you did! What a Fantastic way to ease the process; and the results yield a far better product than could be purchased, for sure! Thanks for sharing!

    Love you,
    ~Antonia
    xoxo

  8. Hi, Sweetheart! Thank you! And this would make a yummy soup. We must try soon! And I keep meaning to mention that dogs love this puree in their dogfood! Love, Mom xoxo

  9. Dearest Kathryn … is there nothing that you can’t do? Great pumpkin tips! Now onward and upward with that awesome pumpkin puree!

  10. Hi, Joey, Oh, you are psychic! I have been thinking of you for the last day after finding your lovely comment on Nutty Gnome’s blog regarding my book. Thank you! Yes, do try the pumpkin like this. It’s so wonderful to have pre-measured bags in the freezer! And I tried the pumpkin bread last night using part pumpkin and part applesauce with lots of dried fruits instead of any nuts. Delicious! Biggest hugs! Kathryn xoxo

  11. One never sieze to learn.Thanks.

  12. Hi, Adnan, Glad this was useful to you! Thank you for the visit! Kathryn xoxo

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