Saturday, November 15, 2014
Going All Domestic-Baking With a Real Pumpkin
In my quest a less complicated life, I am going to try some things that are actually more complex, but hopefully will yield a different satisfaction. I am tackling food waste, and getting more creative in my cooking. The week of Halloween, there were lots of blogs and food shows, newspaper features, and recipes for using that post ghoulish pumpkin into tasty treats and meals. This year, neither of the girls had enough interest or time to carve a jack-o-lantern, but I had inherited my mom's ceramic pumpkin which holds a candle and is pretty cool to great trick or treaters. I still wanted some real pumpkins for their pretty color on my porch, so I bought a couple pie pumpkins at 2 for $3.00 to put on my porch rail. Very cute with the smiling ceramic guy on the floor, and my plastic window cling pumpkins and ghosts on my door.
Since these were pie pumpkins, I knew I should not waste them, and arming myself with tips from dozens of writers, last Sunday I set out to turn them into useable pumpkin for cooking and baking. I used the microwave to soften them. It took a lot longer than I would have though-about twice as long as the equivalent amount of squash. I learned pumpkins must have much denser flesh. After they cooled enough to handle, I scooped out and mushed up in a bowl, trying to break down the sinewy fibers. I think I ended up with about 5+ cups of pumpkin goo. I froze two portions of 2 cups each, for future use, and saved 1+ to try out this week. as I type, I have a dozen large pumpkin muffins in the oven. I added generous amounts of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves allspice, and ginger with the pumpkin. The smell is good, but I'm picking up more of the spices than the pumpkin, so I might have over done it. I rarely measure exactly when I bake-I know, not right, but it works for me.
As far as thrift, canned pumpkin on sale is a much cheaper than my $3.00 pumpkins, without the labor,but considering these would have gone to waste, that is value. The timer went off, so let's see how they look. I had the remnants of two different sized liners left. I could have just used the pan without the liner, but if they are a success, I'll pack a few for the day as we are at a basketball tournament for the day.
DD#2 and I each tried one. The taste was fair-I would increase both the sugar and the spices, as the flavor was too weak for us. I also have to do a better job with the pumpkin-still a little stringiness in the final product. This is why I tried just a small muffin test, so I can learn. Who has hints for me? What do you do that helps you baking an cooking with pumpkin flawless? Would you even bother when you can buy canned for $ .88? Oh, look at the time. I have to get going-10:00 game on center court to cheer on.