In the Kitchen – S’mashing Pumpkins

Right before Halloween, our little county church gave away little sugar pumpkins -you know the ones, perfect for pumpkin pie making.  We brought home several to use as Autumn decoration, chicken feed, and people feed – ha!

The ladies LOVE pumpkin!

By now you’ve probably had your fill of pumpkin –  pies, cookies, bread, lattes, scones (ok, who am I kidding, I don’t know about you, but I never grow tired of the pumpkin scones sold by a large, well-known coffee shop).

In the midst of your pumpkin fatigue, did you know, you can preserve your pumpkins for later use?

You can!

And, it’s easy!

There are two kinds of pumpkins: a large one called a “carving pumpkins”, used to make jack-o-lanterns at Halloween, and a smaller, sweeter one called a “pie pumpkin”.  Both can be used for cooking, but as the name implies, it’s the pie pumpkin that is better suited for this endeavor.

It is not recommended that you home can pumpkin unless they are cubed and then they must be pressure canned. It has to do with density, issues of pH and a really nasty fellow named, Clostridium botulinum (yes, botulism).

If you’re a bit of a risk taker (I am not) and want to try your hand at it, please do your research, starting here: The National Center for Home Food Preservation. They have lots of information about food preservation and storage.

The safest way to preserve your pumpkins is freezing and there are two ways to do this.

Freeze raw pumpkin chunks:

This is probably the easiest, as it requires the least amount of steps, but I was never great at carving pumpkins, so I’m a bit wary of peeling them.  If you’re an ace with a peeler or knife, doing it this way might be for you.

Wash and peel the pumpkin, remove the seeds (save to roast later), and cut the pumpkin into 1-inch chunks.  Place chunks on a freezer safe baking pan and flash-freeze before storing in freezer bags.  Doing this will prevent the pumpkin from sticking together.

Freeze pumpkin purée:

While there are a few more steps, I prefer doing it this way – I don’t need to be very skilled with a knife and when thawed, it’s ready to be used in any recipe.


Cut the top off of a clean pumpkin.


Scoop out the seeds and set aside to roast later.


Slice the pumpkin into quarters.


Place in oven, uncovered and roast at 375° for 45-minutes or until fork tender.


They will be golden brown. Allow too cool before proceeding.


Scoop out the roasted pumpkin flesh, leaving the skin behind.  You can freeze the flesh now (and purée later) or you can throw it in a food processor and purée it now.

I don’t have any photos of this step as I ran into a bit of a snafu.

As you might remember, we recently moved to our Homestead.  We still have many things yet to unpack or even find our food processor is one such item. So, rather than use the recommended kitchen tool, I tried using a blender, which would have worked had I added some additional liquid, however, adding liquid may compromise your finished product.

Needless to say, it didn’t work very well and I ended up hand s’mashing (if you say it just right, you can hear my irritation over the issue – lol! Oh, and those that know me personally, might a musical reference) my pumpkin before scooping one and two cup portions into food-saver bags for freezing.  You can also use regular, zipping freezer bags.

 

While trying to take photos for this post, one of the silly barn kitties decided to photo bomb!

Let’s hear from you!!

There are so many things to do with Pumpkin purée.  What is your favorite thing to do with it?  Leave a comment below.

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Content and Photos by Misty Meadows Homestead and S.Lago © All Rights Reserved


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10 thoughts on “In the Kitchen – S’mashing Pumpkins

      1. Pumpkin and Apple Soup with Chestnuts

        2 tablesp unsalted butter
        1 medium onion, chopped
        2 golden delicious apples (about 1 pound) peeled, cored and cut into eighths
        2 cans (15 oz each) puree pumpkin
        4 cups chicken broth (we render our chicken bones down and make out own – yummy)
        1 bay leaf
        1 teasp ground coriander
        ½ teasp salt
        1/8 to ¼ teasp crushed red pepper flakes
        ½ cup heavy cream
        5 tablesp drained 2% Greek yogurt, for garnish
        10 fresh chestnuts, roasted, peeled and coarsely chopped for garnish
        2 tablesp chopped fresh chives for garnish

        In a small stockpot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and apples and cook until soft, about 10 minutes…

        The rest of the recipe is missing but adding the rest of the ingredients at this point would be a good idea.

        What we do: Cook until everything is done. If you’re using fresh pumpkin give the soup a run around in a blender until un-lumpy. I kinda like the chunks of apple and pumpkin so I just give it a going-over with a potato masher. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with the chopped chestnuts, yogurt and chives.

        We usually make up a big pot with leftover pumpkin and the windfall apples we hunt-n-gather from the local roadside trees (we cut out the bruised bits off the apples and boil down the rest cores, and skin, and all, then strain, bag, and freeze)

        We also boiled down our pumpkins this year, so the last soup we made was a matter of hauling equal amounts of pumpkin and apple puree out of the freezer and seeing what would happen.. 😀 it tasted fabulous!

        Like

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